Prosper ISD confirms position mask mandate, reviews budget

By Aubrey Turner
For the Prosper Press
Prosper School Board meets the third Monday of the month at 7 p.m.

Prosper Independent School District Board of Trustees met on Aug. 23 for the monthly meeting.  The meeting began with an executive session and public meeting for the yearly budget. 

According to PISD Chief Financial Officer Annette Folmar,  “the good thing about the budget being adopted shortly after the school year starts is that the district has an accurate picture in enrollment.” 

One of the largest budget items is $16.1 million, to account for new hiring to respond to growth. 

“About 85% of the budget is personnel, which is because having the staff for our children is important,”  the Folmar said. 

The budget was voted on by the members and approved.  A detailed copy of the budget is available on the Prosper ISD page.   

Once the budget was discussed, the general meeting opened for the evening.  Ferguson honored and celebrated Naysi Modi for her success in the international medical terminology spelling bee and Officer Scott Barrett for successfully performing the Heimlich maneuver for a Kindergartener.  Many people joined the meeting to give their opinion about masks, virtual learning, funding, and curriculum. 

Prior to public comment, Board President Jim Bridges was clear that there was not an agenda item to vote on a mask mandate, with some comments about Critical Race Theory. However, over thirty residents commented about mask mandates or requested virtual learning. 

Most of the comments were divided on the topic, but Stephani Raezor offered a different comment.

“All of us parents want what is best for our children,” Raezor said.  “This is Prosper and we all love our community.  We all love our schools and we need to listen to each other and have a little bit of empathy for the person on the other side.”   

The Prosper sub-committee for COVID gave their report. 

“At no point did the sub-committee advise for Prosper ISD,” School Board member Bill Beavers said.  “We discussed our suggestion for students to continue to have in-person schooling, as we feel that this is the best way for children to learn.”   

Ferguson continued to discuss COVID safety. 

“We have to continue to communicate about Covid numbers,” Superintendent Holly Ferguson said.  “The problem is social media sometimes takes us on a path of not the real truth.  We are only tightening up measures when it comes to communication about Covid cases.  We know that the people who have come out here tonight are all speaking because they have fears - either about going back to masks or that we will return to virtual learning.  The school board gives their best to all these students, employees, and to you families with insight, care, and compassion and applaud them.  Through the Covid Sub-committee work we are committed to talk about the health and safety of our kids.  Reporting of our numbers has changed a bit.  We no longer have a Covid Dashboard for the whole district.  Now we have a dashboard for each campus, including percentages and teacher’s name in elementary.”   

The board reviewed and approved the appraisal system used to evaluate teachers within the district.  This system provides training for all approved appraisers, principals and assistant principals, and then is used throughout the year to provide feedback to teachers.  

Prosper school board approved a class size waiver for Kindergarten through fourth grade classrooms.  As the district continues to grow, it is difficult to consistently keep the correct ratio.  The state allows for waivers to be approved that allows for a bigger ratio as necessary.  

Prosper School Board meets the third Monday of the month at 7 p.m.  Residents are invited to attend in person at the district office or to watch online.