Pflugerville ISD staff reported the district spends roughly $3.8 million in utility costs per year—one of its biggest annual expenditures. A plausible solution to diminish that amount, said Ed Ramos, the district's chief operating officer, could be a partnership with Cenergistic, an energy consulting company that helps entities cut costs with regard to utility consumption. Ramos said during PfISD's June 17 board meeting that through this partnership, the district could net big savings through a series of initiatives that include embedding one or more Cenergistic energy specialists within the district, sending engineers to work with staff members and implementing more proactive work to get ahead of excess utility usage. view article arw

Law enforcement officials Tuesday said they arrested a 63-year-old Dallas ISD employee on multiple child pornography charges. John Adolph Lentz, who was arrested by Mesquite police Monday, served as the community liason for Foster Elementary in Midway Hollow. He also worked with the Boy Scouts of America, police said, and volunteered at his church. Lentz was charged with three counts of possession of child pornography, and three counts of possession of lewd material depicting a child, which are third-degree felonies and state jail felonies, respectively. “The Mesquite Police Department is not aware of any inappropriate direct contact between Lentz and any child at this time,” the press release said. view article arw

The University of North Texas Health Science Center (HSC), Tarrant County Public Health and the Fort Worth ISD are collaborating to provide pop-up vaccine sites at schools this summer. The first sites opened for operation this week (June 14-18). view article arw

The state’s grid operator indicated that conditions are improving and said that power outages to residents are unlikely.  The Electric Reliability Council of Texas on Monday asked residents to reduce their electricity usage through at least Friday due to “tight” power grid conditions. A number of power plants are inexplicably offline at the same time as the state is experiencing record June demand for electricity.  ERCOT officials said outages to residents are unlikely this week. Asking consumers to cut back on power is the first step the grid operator takes to reduce strain on the grid. On Tuesday, ERCOT issued a statement that the grid “remains strong during record demand.” A spokesperson told the Tribune that the situation “looks like it will continue to improve” and thanked Texans for successful electricity conservation efforts.    (16) view article arw

As Fort Bend ISD seeks federal funding for mental health services on campus for a third year, the district’s program has continued to evolve and expand while supporting increased student needs throughout the coronavirus pandemic. The number of FBISD students seen by a district mental health counselor jumped from 99 in February 2020 to 243 in March 2020. As the demand for care increased and the program continued to ramp up, the number of students seen during the remainder of 2020 was consistently higher than prepandemic numbers. The district’s initial plan for mental health services would have embedded mental health centers on eight campuses. However, Priti Avantsa, FBISD’s coordinator for mental health and social work services, said FBISD’s plans changed in January 2020. Now, instead of the centers, six full-time FBISD mental health counselors serve every campus in the district, and outside counselors also offer services at select schools. view article arw

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas has asked people to conserve energy throughout the week as the supply of electricity on the Texas grid runs the risk of falling short of demand. Texans should reduce their electricity use through Friday, ERCOT said. It is the second time the state’s grid operator has made such a request since devastating blackouts gripped Texas in February. ERCOT blamed the tight grid conditions on the fact that four times more electric generators than expected were shut down for repairs. The grid operator said Monday more than 12,000 megawatts of generation capacity — about the amount of energy it takes to power 2.2 million homes on a summer day — is unavailable because of those forced outages. One megawatt of electricity can usually power about 200 homes on a summer day.    (15) view article arw

Officials with Lancaster Independent School District are now reviewing the district's cybersecurity integrity after a hacking group posted information on the dark web regarding district employees, banking transactions, and other sensitive internal information. The district did not confirm if it had received a ransom demand.    (11) view article arw

SAN ANTONIO - Add Northside ISD to the list of catalytic converter thefts. The district says when it returned from its winter break on January 4th, it was discovered that 10 district vehicles had the catalytic converters stolen at the purchasing department. In addition, on April 8th seven vehicles at the central office were hit, and on May 13th, seven more vehicles at their maintenance north facility also had those converters stolen. view article arw

Catalytic converter thefts, which has turned into a nationwide crisis, hit the San Antonio Independent School District. District officials confirm that on Monday, its transportation department was burglarized with catalytic converters being stolen from about 20 vehicles in their fleet. view article arw

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Several weeks of torrential rain brought significant flooding to some Austin Independent School District campuses. It’s even happening at brand new schools paid for through the 2017 taxpayer-approved bond. Round Rock Police shoot, kill man threatening people with gun in hotel lobby KXAN viewers sent us images of the Murchison Middle School track and field flooded over during the month of May. Other images show heavy rainfall pouring down the hillside that connects the newly constructed Doss Elementary. A final image shows rain seeping into the newly constructed wing of Murchison Middle School, making an indoor staircase unusable. view article arw

BEAUMONT — UPDATE: Thunderstorms prompt BISD to postpone United graduation until Friday Due to the inclement weather, BISD has rescheduled the Beaumont United High School commencement ceremony to 7 p.m. Friday, June 4 at the BISD Memorial Stadium. It had been set for 7 p.m. Thursday. The district said in a Facebook post: "We apologize for the inconvenience." view article arw

SCHOOL INSURANCE NEWSLETTER

June 0708:25 AM
 

Evaluating Premium Increases Comparing premium increases is not an accurate way of evaluating cost increases, because of changes in exposures: 1) property replacement costs, 2) numbers of vehicles, 3) values of vehicles. The real increase is determined by analyzing rate increases (decreases). To determine rates for each line of insurance, divide the premium by the exposures. Contact us for an Excel spreadsheet. view article arw

AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM) — It’s a story about the night that the lights went out in Texas — but this time it was the audience who came to the rescue of a high school graduation ceremony. The class of 2021 at Anderson High School in Austin will never forget the ceremony, part of which was spent in the dark. The ceremony began at 8 p.m. and less than 30 minutes later severe thunderstorms in the area knocked out power to the sports complex. view article arw

Authorities are continuing their investigation into the theft of a Rivercrest ISD school bus. The bus was taken on May 15 from the school parking lot and then driven by an unidentified suspect to Fannin County, where it was found abandoned in Dodd City. An ignition key had reportedly been left on the bus. A picture of the suspect is on our news website.  https://www.facebook.com/rrcso.tx  view article arw

Several billions of dollars in state-approved financing will be necessary to stabilize the state’s distressed energy market after the winter storm. Texas approves more in finance bailouts for its utilities than any other state.  Justin Aguilar’s bingo halls in Corpus Christi lost a week of business and thousands of dollars during February’s deadly winter storm. That was devastating enough.  But that loss of income is dwarfed by what the business now owes because of the Texas power crisis: There’s a $120,000 electricity bill waiting to be paid.  Since the bookkeeper for Bingoland, Margaret Baldwin, got the eye-popping bill — nearly 50 times more than an average month for the two buildings — she’s just held on to it. Normally, the organizations that rent the bingo halls would be on the hook. But instead of passing on the obscene costs, Baldwin is hoping for help from Austin.    (25) view article arw

After hours of debate Sunday, the Texas House moved to strengthen the state’s main electricity grid in the wake of February’s catastrophic power outages, giving preliminary approval to a proposal that goes further than the Senate’s in preparing for extreme weather. The upper chamber already passed Senate Bill 3, but the House State Affairs Committee added more requirements for natural gas facilities to properly prepare for extreme weather, though the legislation doesn’t currently say who would cover costs for weatherizing such infrastructure and critics on Sunday raised concerns about how the state would ensure companies actually weatherize. The House still needs to grant final approval to the bill, though that step is usually a formality. Once that happens, the measure is likely headed to a conference committee where the House and Senate would iron out their differences, unless the Senate decides to accept the House's changes. The two chambers have about a week to get the measure across the finish line.    (24) view article arw

McALLEN — A recently launched program at McAllen Independent School District is helping dozens of local students master basic life skills. Created by McAllen ISD Police Chief Jose “Joey” Silva, the Good to Know Initiative kicked off last month with a tire changing demonstration. Students listened in a district parking lot while officers explained where a car’s jack and lug wrench usually are, showed them how to remove lug nuts and, finally, popped the tire off a black sedan. view article arw

Busier storm season in store

May 2105:00 AM
 

Be prepared for another busier-than-normal Atlantic hurricane season, NOAA warned Thursday. The agency’s Climate Prediction Center is predicting 13 to 20 named storms. Between six and 10 of those could become hurricanes and three to five could be major hurricanes of Category 3 or higher. Hurricane season starts June 1. This forecast follows a record-breaking 2020 with 30 named storms (the initial forecast was 13 to 19 named storms). Of those 30 storms, 13 became hurricanes and six were classified as major hurricanes. Laura, Eta and Iota were retired from the list of hurricane names due to the damages and fatalities they caused. view article arw

PORT LAVACA, Texas – A Calhoun County I.S.D. parent is concerned that the school district should have completely canceled classes Wednesday instead of shortening the school day in response to the overnight stormy weather. Calhoun County I.S.D. Superintendent Larry Nichols said they never want to put any teacher or students in danger. At 6 a.m. Wednesday Nichols said it was impossible to know how bad conditions would be. view article arw

HEREFORD, Texas (KFDA) - One student is in police custody after a social media threat, according to Hereford ISD. The district says Hereford Preparatory Academy received a call from a parent around 9:30 a.m. that a student had posted a picture on social media with a weapon, warning others not to go to school. Hereford ISD security and the Hereford Police Department were notified. Campus administrators and the Hereford Police Department investigated the post. view article arw

SCHOOL INSURANCE NEWSLETTER

May 1908:40 AM
 

Market Conditions – Finally Some Good News Last month I indicated a concern about premium and rate increases. TASB RMF just sent a letter to its members stating that they might expect a 4% increase in their Property and Casualty renewals and a 20% decrease in Unemployment Compensation. This minimal adjustment was undoubtedly due to the increase in Member Equity outstripping the effects of Storm URI (Freeze). And the storm damage effect on the Member Equity was due to an intelligent selection of reinsurance retentions (deductibles).    (18) view article arw

TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Several East Texas school districts have adjusted their class schedules due to rain and flooding that has impacted East Texas over the last several days.  Several roads Wednesday morning throughout the Piney Woods are currently closed over being run over by water.  LIST: Roads closed due to flooding Wednesday morning Here is a current list of school closures or delays. This is rapidly evolving list. Check back with KETK for the latest updates.    (19) view article arw

FLATONIA, Texas (KXAN) — Due to potential high water across roads from heavy rain Tuesday night, two school districts will operate on a delay Wednesday. The Flatonia Independent School District is on a two-hour delay.    (19) view article arw

JASPER COUNTY — Jasper schools have delayed their start by one hour Monday due to heavy rains and some roads with water. Brookeland ISD in Jasper County has canceled classes today. Burkeville in Newton County is all virtual today: Due inclement weather and unsafe road conditions, Burkeville ISD students will have virtual learning beginning at 10AM. All students should check in at 10 AM. Students who do not have their school issued device can check in through Google Classroom on any device including a phone. Please have your student check in for attendance and then work on assignments as possible. Check in on Google Classroom. view article arw

KOUNTZE — From Kountze ISD - Due to the threat of rising water, we will be remote for Tuesday, May 18. The students should have their assignments in Google Classroom from their teachers or whatever method their teacher uses to post assignments. view article arw

HB 19’s sponsors say the bill will prevent excessive lawsuits against companies, but road safety advocates say the bill would make Texas roads more dangerous and prevent victims of crashes from receiving justice.  People affected by crashes causing bodily injury or death involving commercial motor vehicles would find it harder to win damages from companies under a bill that was approved by the Texas House and is making its way through the Senate.  Commercial motor vehicles include 18-wheelers, Uber and Lyft vehicles, delivery trucks and any other vehicle being used for commercial purposes. The bill’s sponsors say it will prevent excessive lawsuits against companies, while road safety advocates say the bill would make Texas’ already unsafe roads even more dangerous. view article arw

WASHINGTON – According to a survey from the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate (AFIRE), Austin and Dallas are top U.S. markets for international investments in 2021. The survey found that 30 percent of all respondents cited Austin as a top three market for planned investment this year. Austin tied with Boston for the top spot for investors. Dallas followed closely, ranking third with 29 percent. Rounding out the top five were Atlanta and New York City, at 25 percent and 21 percent, respectively. Some 33 percent of respondents said Austin would be a top three market for them in the next three to five years, more than any other market. Boston and Dallas tied for second at 24 percent. view article arw

OVERTON, Texas (KETK) – Overton ISD on Friday morning announced that they would be canceling classes for the day after a water main line broke. The school district was informed that they had a water main break and that most of campus would be without water for the day. view article arw

FREDERICKSBURG, Texas — A driver has died after a school bus crash in Fredericksburg on Wednesday afternoon. Police said the bus driver suffered a medical emergency around 3:50 p.m., and the bus hit several vehicles parked on North Milam Street. One of the vehicles struck was pushed from its parked location and struck the business at 904 N. Milam St., police said. view article arw

LAREDO, TX. (KGNS) -Classes for Zapata ISD have been canceled on a count of rain. Due to the effects of Tuesday night’s storm, many Zapata residents were left without power. As a result, school officials in Zapata have decided to cancel classes for the day. STAAR testing has been postponed for the day. view article arw

NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - In Nacogdoches, McMichael Middle School sixth graders prep for STAAR testing at home. Not in a classroom. Fans continue to blow through two sixth grade wings at McMichael Middle School.  Even after a week, classrooms are still drying out.  n unfinished roof on a school bond project and torrential rain made for the perfect storm mishap.  “We had three inches of rain in about an hour and half and it flooded the new construction side of our addition to McMichael,” said Ralph La Rue, Nacogdoches ISD’s plant services director. view article arw

They used their car to stay warm when a winter storm brought down the Texas power grid. In a state that doesn't require carbon monoxide alarms in homes, they had no warning they were poisoning themselves.  When Shalemu Bekele awoke on the morning of Feb. 15, the townhouse he shared with his wife and two children was so cold, his fingers felt numb. After bundling up in extra layers, Bekele looked out a frosted window: A winter storm had swept across Texas, knocking out power to millions of homes, including his own, and blanketing Houston in a thin layer of icy snow. “It was beautiful,” Bekele, 51, recalled thinking as he headed outside to snap photos of his two children, ages 7 and 8, playing in their first snow. After a few minutes, he sent them back inside to warm up under blankets as he cleared ice off his car, unsure if he would be expected to drive into work. view article arw

Lawmakers this session have filed a flurry of proposals related to the pandemic. Some, experts say, constitute meaningful reform. Others could leave the state worse off.  About a year ago, as a once-in-a-century public health crisis was unraveling across the world, it was abundantly clear how unprepared Texas was for the pandemic.  An aging data collection system within the Texas Department of State Health Services made it difficult for health officials to fully assess the impact of COVID-19, which the state's official numbers say has left nearly 50,000 people dead. Protective gear and COVID-19 tests were in short supply, leaving health care providers and governments scrambling to find supplies. Waves of infection would soon overwhelm entire hospital systems, while morgues across the state would run out of space to store the dead.    (29) view article arw

At least four Levi Fry Intermediate School students and an adult were injured after two Texas City Independent School District buses were involved in a crash Monday afternoon, according to the district. The accident was reported around 4 p.m. after one bus rear-ended another at a stop sign. Officials said the buses involved were Bus 135 and Bus 114. view article arw

No students were aboard a La Grange ISD bus on Monday afternoon when it overturned on Highway 71 in West Point, the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office reports. view article arw