The Levelland ISD School board met Thursday night for a regular meeting. The board began the meeting with recognition’s and memory of F E Shaheen.
The board recognized FE Shaheen for his service to Levelland ISD school board for 9 years and as President for three years. Board President Tania Moody said, “this district had a big loss and this community had a big loss today.” Shaheen passed away in San Antonio on Thursday morning following an illness. A plaque recognizing his service to the district was presented to Jeff Pharis with Levelland EMS. Shaheen owned and operated Levelland EMS for many years.
The board approved consent agenda items, including the appointment of T-TESS appraisers for the district as well as the appraisel calendar for teachers.
The board also approved the monthly financial report with little discussion. It was reported that currently the district is in good shape on the bond. There should be enough money to do everything that was promised in the bond. It was also noted that there are some repairs to be done at Middle School and Carver and there was some money available in the bond that was able to be transferred to pay the deductible for the insurance on damages. There was approximately $75,000 in damages to those two buildings in the July 4 wind storm. The district is still waiting on a payment from the state, which may not come until September. Chief Financial Officer Lance Terrell, said the revenue will be recognized in this fiscal year however.
The board also approved the student code of conduct. It was noted, their was very little change. One of the changes involved suspension of a second grade student or lower. Currently the principal can make that decision, however, beginning next year the behavior would have to meet certain legal guidelines. Another change involved defining illegal knives on campus. Any knife with a blade 5 ½ inches or longer is an automatic expulsion required by law. A knife with a blade shorter than that will be handled through regular disciplinary measures. The full student code of conduct will be available on the website for review and all parents will be required to sign off they have received the code of conduct. There was also some clarification on the DAEP program which also includes a physical exercise element. There will also be counseling for students assigned to the DAEP program, especially students who are sent for drug and alcohol offenses.
The board also approved the Extracurricular Code of Conduct which applies to all students who particiapate in any extracurricular activity. It was noted their was no change from the current year.
The board also approved Unemployment Insurance through Texas Association of School Boards. This was the renewal of the current policy.
The board also received a report on summer school. 397 students completed summer school in 2017, that is down from 460 students in 2016. It was noted that summer school costs approximately $250,000 and nearly $200,000 was paid for through an ACE grant which will not be available next year. It was noted that part of summer school is required by law, however, part of it has been put in place for the betterment of the student.
The board also reviewed the budget for 2017-2018 fiscal year. It was noted that certified property values for the district were up $30 million from preliminary values. This dramatic increase allowed the district to go into 2017-2018 with a balanced budget, which is significant. This is the first year in atleast three years that the district has had a balanced budget. The proposed tax rate for the district for 2017-2018 is a total of $1.388 per $100 property value. That is down from $1.408 this year. That maintenance and operations tax rate is the maximum $1.04 while the bond payment tax rate is .348 cents per $100 property value, that is down two cents from the current year. It was noted that due to appraised values going up taxes on an average home will be increased even with the lower tax rate. Appraised values are not set by the school board, they are set by Hockley County Appraisel District Board of Directors. The board will host a special meeting on Monday, August 28 at 6:00pm for the required budget and tax rate hearing.
The board also reviewed the current district fund raisers which have been approved by district administration. The question was asked by President Tania Moody, “if all requests for fund raisers are being approved.” According to the Superintendent, most all are approved. Some groups have had more than one fundraiser, mainly due to raise money to pay off debt, to avoid the district having to supplement.
The board also received a summary report from the STAAR test from Spring 2017 test administration.
The report indicated in:
Algebra I 84% of students tested met standard
Biology 83% of students tested met standard
English I 63% of students tested met standard
English II 62% of students tested met standard
US History 86% of students tested met standard
It was noted that the district’s goal is to always be above the state and regional averages. Staff meets over the summer to institute goals for the next year. It was noted that there is work to be done in 7th grade writing. The district has hired a teacher for that position this year. It was pointed out that their was a long term substitute in that position last year for most of the year. The district is also working on reading scores and will move to a balanced literacy movement. All teachers have been through extensive training over the summer. The state is also working on reading scores because they are down state wide and do not meet the state’s expectations. There was a slight increase in standard from last year and special education students are tested on grade level with some accomodations and they are held to the same standards as other students. There was also a significant increase in scores from the high school students.
The board also received a personnel report from district administration.