Roby CISD begins superintendent search


The Roby CISD trustees assembled in a special-called meeting on Monday, where in addition to holding a public hearing before adopting this year’s budget and tax rate, the board discussed how to proceed with filling the administrative vacancy left by Superintendent Keith Cook’s recent resignation.

This year’s expected revenues are up fractionally, and when combined with reallocated reserves from removing redundant areas and unanticipated funds at the end of FY 2020, increased 2021’s operating budget to $4.18 million. RISD Business Administrator Kandra Lakey combed through changes in the budget with board members earlier this month.

While there are some new line items created for better program tracking and others that were removed for financial clarity, Lakey said there are few significant changes from last year. During the meeting, the board also approved more than $500K in budget amendments for 2020.

While amendments ranged thousands to tens of thousands for administration, maintenance, and child nutrition, the largest of the amendments was the over $430,000 approved for the district’s track replacement. The board approved the cost of the endeavor last November, although the ending cost was considerabley higher than the $230,000 projected.

The FY 2021 Budget is conservatively figured based on an average daily attendance of 272 students. Roby CISD’s current enrolment exceeds 300 students. With calculations based on the no-new-revenue tax rate, the district administration presented a balanced budget.

“There is no reason to go up on taxes,” said Acting Superintendent Jason Carter. “We are able to maintain at the lowest possible taxing level.”

Carter fielded questions from board members concerned with how the state will track and hold districts accountable for attendance this year. He assured the board there were various contingency plans in place for alternated teaching methods as well as protections for the district in the event of an unforeseen closure.

The board voted unanimously in favor of setting the M&O tax rate at 0.963, which by definition of the no-new-revenue tax rate, will generate roughly the same amount of funding as last year. Trustees also approved the 2021 budget before convening behind closed doors, deliberating about how — and on what timeline — the district would fill the superintendent position.

Superintendent Keith Cook abruptly tendered his resignation and relocated to Belton ISD in recent weeks. School officials met in a special-called meeting last week, where former Principal of Teaching and Learning Jason Carter was appointed as acting superintendent.

It was anticipated the board would discuss measures for seeking a permanent replacement for Cook during the September meeting, but the district took advantage of a scheduled public hearing, adding the board’s third special-called meeting of the month to the night’s discussions.

Trustees spent roughly 45 minutes in executive session on Monday regarding how best to proceed with seeking out the right candidate. It was a process that spanned months two years ago, with Hale serving as interim from July to October 2018.

During that time, the board created a committee to review applications and narrow the candidate pool, which lasted weeks. Jason Carter was among the candidates seeking to fill Dickson’s vacancy. Trustees officially named Keith Cook Lone Finalist in September 2018.

When reconvening from this week’s closed session deliberations, trustees voted unanimously in favor of accepting applications to serve as Roby CISD Superintendent beginning Tuesday, August 25, and will accept them until September 14 when the board is next scheduled to meet. Board President Jeff Posey felt confident the board would be able to name a Lone Finalist at that time.