AISD votes down accountability waiver; trustees fighting CSCOPE battle

AISD trustees discuss CSCOPE options

ABILENE, Texas - The Abilene Board of Trustees elected Monday to not seek a waiver of state standards involving testing and school and student ratings.

The decision came after the board learned that state Commissioner of Education Michael Williams doesn't have the authority to approve a waiver.

The board started considering asking for a waiver after state lawmakers discontinued the use of CSCOPE lesson plans. CSCOPE is an online curriculum management tool. The decision came at the end of the 2012-2013 school year.

With the legislature's elimination of CSCOPE lesson plans, the district now must figure out a plan for the coming school year. 

"There are many components to CSCOPE besides the lessons plan component," Abilene ISD Superintendent Heath Burns said. "We still plan on fighting for our teachers. Hoping our teachers can continue using the lesson plans. They're not required to but we believe that should be an option."

Burns said the district will most likely continue using CSCOPE at a reduced cost. Currently, the charge is $7 per student. 

The board also discussed their master facilities plan and the idea of a future bond election to fund school upgrades.

"I'm by no means predicting that debt is eminent," Burns said. "That's a decision that has to be made by that committee. Statutorily the earliest an election could be called would be November."

The average age of an AISD facility is 41 years and the district needs $43.5 million in upgrades within five years.

The board did approve bids for interior renovations for the home economics classroom in the Mann and Madison middle schools. The changes would help eliminate mobile classrooms.

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