The Brenham School Board took care of several pieces of business during its meeting on Monday, its last meeting prior to school letting out for the summer.

Members of the Texas Arts and Music Festival Board
and Brenham ISD art teachers stand with the
Brenham School Board on Monday after trustees
accepted a $2,500 donation from the festival for art
and choir students.

First up for trustees was to select the officers who will serve as leaders on the board until the next election in May 2025. Natalie Lange was elected to be board president, while Jared Krenek was chosen as vice president and Kelvin Raven was voted to be secretary.

Lange and Krenek each received five of the seven votes, with Kyle Hafner and Archer Archer not voting.  Raven received six votes, with Archer not voting. 

Archer was also nominated for the vice president position, receiving the nomination from Hafner after Tommie Sullivan, the existing vice president, nominated Krenek. 

Archer spoke on his desire to expand his impact on the school board after he was informed by Sullivan that he would not seek the vice president’s role again.  While Archer was first elected in May 2023, he said his presence in the community and his experience in other board roles such as the Texas Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities, Texas Parks and Wildlife Accessibility Board, Easterseals Central Texas and The Arc of the Capital Area qualifies him for a greater leadership capacity on this board.

No vote was held for Archer, as Krenek was the first nominee for vice president and received a majority of votes. 

Also on Monday, the board accepted a donation on Monday from the Texas Arts and Music Festival for high school art and choir students. 

Members of the Texas Arts and Music Festival Board presented trustees with a check for $2,500.  Proceeds from the annual fall festival go toward the educational resources that support local arts. 

Festival President Mark Rosenbaum said Brenham ISD has continued to grow its art program, and that leads to positive impact for students.

Rosenbaum said the festival has been able to give back to the high school every year since it started eight years ago.

Members of the Brenham High School MCJROTC
are recognized by the Brenham School Board on
Monday for the group's recent accolades, including
top-tier placement in national competitions.

Each October, the festival offers live music and brings artists from all over the country to create live art installations, including the large murals that decorate many of downtown Brenham’s historic buildings.

Trustees also recognized members of the high school MCJROTC, who recently placed among the nation’s best at competitions in Fredericksburg, Virginia and Daytona, Florida.  MCJROTC Captain Jeffrey Bayse said this current group of students is the most decorated that the high school has had since he started 10 years ago.  Following that, the board recognized the volunteers who participated this year in the district’s reestablished volunteer program.

Chief Financial Officer Darryl St. Clair presented a brief financial update.  He said as of April 30th, the district has received $42.79 million in revenue out of $49.69 million budgeted in total for the school year.  St. Clair pointed out that revenue from local sources, including from taxes and from interest on investments, sits at $29.83 million, above what was budgeted for the whole year at $29.01 million. 

Meanwhile for expenditures, the district budgeted for $54.27 million in expenses at the start of the year, but as of April 30th has only spent $31.99 million, so revenue is currently outpacing expenses by $10.8 million.

Calvary Baptist Church Pastor Billy Sutherland spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting about the joint Teacher Appreciation Banquet and Brenham ISD End-of-Year Awards Ceremony being held this Friday at Silver Wings Ballroom.  The teachers and staff of Brenham ISD will be treated to a fajita meal and will receive mementos and door prizes. 

Sutherland said the event was made possible thanks to over $30,000 in fundraising from local churches, businesses and individuals, and all of that funding will be used at the direction of Brenham ISD planning team members.  He thanked Superintendent Clay Gillentine, Communications Director Brooke Trahan and Multimedia Content and Design Facilitator Amy Hatfield for assisting himself and community members Christine Giese and Bill Rankin with the planning of the event. 

In other business, the board approved the purchase of two steamers for the Child Nutrition Department, using $53,301 in excess department fund balance.  Child Nutrition Director Kasandra Davis said the purchases are for Alton Elementary School and Brenham Junior High School. 

St. Clair said the Texas Department of Agriculture requires a spending plan to be put in place once a certain threshold of excess fund balance is reached.  Gillentine added that the food service department is “a business within a business”, so it cannot transfer from its fund balance to the district’s general fund balance.  St. Clair further clarified that is because the food service department receives federal funds for its breakfast and lunch programs.

The board also approved budget amendments to accommodate the Child Nutrition Department purchase and to transfer unused travel funds to purchase and repair band instruments.

Trustees then approved amendments to the District of Innovation plan that are meant to provide added flexibility in establishing local teacher certification requirements when hiring in CTE, industry-based, or otherwise hard-to-fill positions or late hires.

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