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VALS & SALS 2006

On May 27, approximately 2,000 seniors will walk across the stage at the Special Events Center, 4999 Naaman Forest Blvd. in Garland, to receive their diplomas as the newest graduates of the Richardson Independent School District.

Long-standing tradition honors the two students from each high school with the highest class rankings who meet the eligibility criteria for valedictorian and salutatorian.

The “vals and sals” from each of the district’s high schools recently met at the district Administration Building with RISD’s superintendent.
Top left, with Superintendent Jim Nelson, are:

Berkner High's valedictorian Alexander Weichung Lue and salutatorian William Paul Vijverberg; Lake Highlands High's valedictorian Leila Alderman and salutatorian Callie Gittemeier; Pearce High's valedictorian Reese Mathieu and salutatorian Richard Marcus; Richardson High's valedictorian Mindy Du and salutatorian Maria Jourdan Malphurs. >Top


May 25, 2006

As you are aware, the Texas Legislature was mandated to “fix school finance” before June 1. Five bills were passed that will provide the framework for how the state pays for public education.  House Bill 1 makes significant changes to the Texas Education Code, and the other four bills (House Bills 2, 3, 4, and 5) raise the revenue needed to put House Bill 1 into action.  The following is a summary of the main points of HBl and how it affects Richardson ISD taxpayers.

House Bill 1 provides for a school district Operating Tax rate reduction of approximately 12% or about $0.17 in 2006-07.  In 2007-08, the operating tax rate will be reduced by approximately $0.33 more for a total reduction of 33.3% from the current $1.50 operating tax rate.

Districts are guaranteed an amount of revenue at least equal to the 2005-06 state and local revenue that is received under the current school finance system, which means RISD would receive additional state aid to make up for the reduction in operating tax revenue because of the reduction in the tax rate.

Districts are then allowed to increase the operating tax rate by up to $0.04 for local enrichment. This authority can be exercised by the Board of Trustees this year as in succeeding years. They do not have to exercise the $.04 all at once. Districts are not required to gain community approval for the additional $.04 through a local election. 

The Board will decide later this year if any of the $.04 is needed for 2006-07. Recapture will likely not apply to this $.04 as long as our property values do not exceed the property values of Austin ISD, the benchmark district in the law.

Recapture will still apply to the balance of the operating tax rate ($1.33 in 2006-2007) but at a higher wealth threshold, meaning significantly less recapture for RISD.

House Bill 1 also provides funds for a $2,000 pay increase for teachers, counselors, nurses and librarians and converts the $500 health insurance supplement to salary.  The Board of Trustees will make a final determination on the total salary increases for the district at their June meetings.

In addition, the bill establishes a high school allotment of $275 for each 9th through 12th grade student using an average daily attendance formula.  We are waiting for details as to whether these funds must be used for new programs or can fund existing activities.

Two incentive pay programs are established that all districts in the state would be able to apply for award stipends for teachers and campuses.

The bill mandates a uniform school start date on the fourth Monday of August.  All Texas districts must start on this date effective the 2007-08 school year. 

House Bill 1 makes other changes to the Texas Education Code that include: school district efficiency, state and regional governance, school accountability, high school-college transition, bilingual education review, etc.   Full text of the bill can be found at

RISD will continue to monitor interpretations of the new Texas school finance laws and bring updates to you as necessary. At any time you are welcome to contact the school district with questions or concerns.

The 80th session of the Texas Legislature will begin on January 9, 2007.  We look forward to working with our legislators to continue to improve public education in Texas.

Thank you again for your support of RISD and our continued efforts to provide quality education for all children. >Top

The PHS robotics team was invited to attend a special lecture by former Senator John Glenn on Friday. May 12th. The senator spoke to a select group of students from Dallas, Highland Park and Richardson schools.

During the lecture he talked about his experiences as an astronaut and his later career in the U.S. Senate. More importantly, he spoke to students about the importance of engineering and science, and how it plays a vital role in today's global and technological economies. Afterwards the students were given the opportunity to ask senator Glenn questions and take group pictures. >Top
High school students enrolled in the district's AVID classes celebrated the end of the year with a special luncheon Friday, May 5. AVID is a program designed for students who have college potential and can benefit from extra support in setting and realizing their goals.

Marshawn Evans, a star of the television show "The Apprentice," and a Richardson High School graduate, was the guest speaker and talked with the students about their paths to success. Ms. Evans moderated a small version of the television show by dividing the students into groups and presenting them with a problem to solve. Within less than an hour, students came up with a new product, named it, and devised a marketing plan for it. No one was fired, but several students were praised for their excellent work.
Lunch was shared with community members and administrators as AVID students of the year were announced. Congratulations to these winners:
Berkner High School: Keyla Acevedo
Lake Highlands High School: Daisy Litaba
Pearce High School: Karina Rodriguez
Richardson High School: Angel Solis

Junior high AVID students enjoyed their end of the year workshop and luncheon on Thursday, May 11. Winners included:
Apollo Junior High: Chris Lowe
Forest Meadow Junior High: Latrice Owens
Lake Highlands Junior High: Ivonne Gomez
Liberty Junior High: Lindsey Ngo
Parkhill Junior High: Erin Williams
North Junior High: Moises Hermosillo
West Junior High: Daniel Hernandez
Westwood Junior High: Gustavo Hernandez >Top
In May, Inside RISD members visited with Student Services staff to learn about truancies, safety and security, drug prevention, guardianships and much more.
Pictured is community member Gerald Bright exiting through one of the district's portable metal detectors. Inside RISD is the year-long program designed to educate community members about the inner workings of the district as a whole. It is hoped that these emerging leaders will continue their interest in RISD through leadership in PTA, committees and perhaps even on the Board of Trustees.

In June, the group will meet to discuss administration and governance. >Top
On May 5, Brentfield Elementary second graders provided their moms with a special Mother's Day event. As a service worker, each child gave their mother a spa make-over. Mothers were pampered with massages, pedicures, manicures, make-up and hair styling. It could be said that some of the mothers experienced extreme make-overs! After the make-overs, the students shared poems they had written to honor their mothers. >Top

Bright and early on Saturday, May 6, about 250 RISD students gathered at Berkner High School to compete in the third annual Lone Star Challenge.  The Lone Star Challenge (LSC) is an academic competition for elementary students, based on the familiar Academic Decathlon (Ac-Dec) in the high schools.  Both competitions were piloted here in Richardson; Ac-Dec in 1984, and LSC in 2004.

Twenty-two teams of up to 12 students each entered this year’s competition. The teams competed in three areas: essay writing; written tests in Math/Science and Language Arts/Social Studies; and a live Super Quiz.  Each team was coached by volunteer coaches from their respective schools.  The coaches started work in January, and most teams began practice in earnest in March.

The topic for this year’s LSC was Life in the Fifties.  Students learned about the national leaders, world events, pop culture and the many technical advancements made during that decade.  The information covered Math, Science, Reading, and Social Studies, while enhancing study skills, team work, and TAKS performance.

The event was coordinated by Jackie Farley and Kathy Wendling, both from Moss Haven Elementary.

Congratulations to all the teams and coaches for the hard work they exhibited at the Lone Star Challenge. >Top

Following the annual tradition of publishing a photo of the Communications Department intern, shown is Cassandra Senior, graduating senior at Pearce High School. Cassandra has worked in the Administration Building communications office every afternoon since last August for her work/study program. She has been a valuable asset to the department and has learned about survival in a sometimes hectic workplace.

Cassandra is heading to the University of Texas at Austin where she will enroll in the school of liberal arts. At Pearce, she was a member of the National Honor Society, Students Against Drunk Driving and numerous other organizations, and is ranked in the top quarter of her graduating class. She is pictured in district high jump competition where she qualified for regional. >Top

"Open Mike Night," the RHS movie, will premiere this Thursday, May 25, at the Valley View Mall AMC Theatre. This red-carpet premiere is by invitation only as seating is limited.

However, don't worry! There is a public premiere of "Open Mike Night" on Friday, May 26, 2006, 7:30pm, at the RHS Auditorium. Tickets are only $3.00 each, and benefit RHS.

Hundreds of RHS students have worked the entire year to bring "Open Mike Night" to reality. This movie was shot and edited entirely by RHS students, and stars RHS students and faculty. We hope everyone shows their support for our amazingly talented kids by attending the public premiere on May 26th!

For more information, go to >Top

Several young RISD artists were honored in May as winners of the annual Wildflower! Art Contest. They are:

Honorable Mention - Gracie Hinojosa - Arapaho Classical Magnet

Grade 1
1st Place - Dilan Garcia - Bukhair Elementary
2nd Place - Rosa Oliveros - Bukhair Elementary
3rd Place - Ana Belen - Bukhair Elementary
Honorable Mention - Casey Murray - Northwood Hills Elementary

Grade 2
1st Place - Oriana Aguilar - Bukhair Elementary
Honorable Mention - Katy Alonso - Bukhair Elementary

Grade 3
1st Place - Audrey Brown - Wallace Elementary
3rd Place - Eden Welty - Wallace Elementary
Honorable Mention - Sarah Atk - Moss Haven Elementary

Grade 4
1st Place - Jessica Maciel - Bukhair Elementary
2nd Place - Emi Hernandez - Bukhair Elementary
3rd Place - Kimberly Cruz - Bukhair Elementary
Honorable Mention - Beatric Rascon' - Bukhair Elementary
Honorable Mention - Leslie Mora - Bukhair Elementary

Grade 5
1st Place - Jessica Ayala - Bukhair Elementary
3rd Place - Juuentino Arriga - Bukhair Elementary
Honorable Mention - Miguel Lopez - Bukhair Elementary

Grade 6
1st Place - Susan Nguyen - Dover Elementary
2nd Place - Queenie Tran - Forestridge Elementary
3rd Place - Katie Creecy - MST Magnet
Honorable Mention - Javier Cipriano - Forestridge Elementary

Grade 7 & 8
1st Place - Katie Wilson - Apollo Junior High
2nd Place - Elizabeth Koepke - Lake Highlands Junior High
3rd Place - Nick Anderson - West Junior High >Top
Seventeen Salon and Next Gen Girls paid a visit to the sixth grade girls at Northrich Elementary this week to discuss the idea of beauty from the inside-out. Seventeen Salon provided the makeovers and taught the students about appropriate makeup application and proper skin care.  As the girls learned to enhance their outer beauty, Next Gen Girls stressed the importance of a positive self-image and inward beauty through self-esteem building activities. This is the second year that Seventeen Salon and Next Gen Girls have visited Northrich Elementary. >Top


Mayor's "Back-to-School" Fair


Thursday, August 3, 2006 - 8:00 a.m.- 2:00 p.m.
Pre-registration is encouraged.


Income-eligible school age children and their families residing in the City of Dallas.


Dallas Fair Park  Automobile & Centennial Buildings




City employees, Dallas volunteers and health care providers are expected to distribute free school supplies to over 20,000 children and their families.  In addition to school supplies, the Fair will provide health screenings and information on preparing children to succeed in school.


For more information, please contact the Community Council of Greater Dallas Information and Referral Line by dialing 211. >Top

Certain RISD offices will remain open every day in order to meet the needs of staff, students, applicants, and community. The following offices will remain open every day throughout the summer:

  • Business and Financial Services
  • Human Resources
  • Insurance Services
  • Technology Maintenance Services
  • Maintenance and Operations

Other offices will observe extended hours with a shortened workweek during the month of June.  The schedule will be:

May 29, 2006

Memorial Day Holiday

May 30 – June 2, 2006

Regular Hours  8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

June 5 – 8, 2006

Extended Hours  7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

June 9, 2006

Offices Closed

June 12 - 15, 2006

Extended Hours  7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

June 16, 2006

Offices Closed

June 19 – 22, 2006

Extended Hours  7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

June 23, 2006

Offices Closed

June 26 - 29, 2006

Regular Hours  8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

June 30 – July 16, 2006

Mass Vacation

July 17, 2006      

Regular Hours  8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Did you miss an issue of School Times Now!? Click here to view the archives. >Top
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