LISD Tax Ratification Election Passes by Overwhelming Margin

Election Results GenericLevelland ISD voters went to the polls Tuesday, and spoke rather strongly in favor of more funding for Levelland ISD operations.

Levelland ISD called the tax ratification election in June to allow the district to move two cents from the Interest and Sinking or Bonded Indebtedness to the Maintenance and Operations.  With the additional two cents being weighted heavier by the state than regular tax dollars, it will bring an estimated $556,000 in additional revenue to the school district for operations in 2018-2019 fiscal year.  The district has said they will use the additional money to improve the pay scale and increase compensation for faculty and staff, as well as maintenance items that have been deferred including HVAC units that need replaced.  They also will be implementing a pay as you go system for replacement of aging fleet vehicles as well as four school buses that are several years old and have mechanical issues.  They also will be replacing one activity bus that is over 15 years old and is suffering from major mechanical issues.

The “tax swap” was approved by an overwhelming margin with 436 votes in favor and 91 votes against.

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Tuesday is Election Day for LISD Tax Ratification Election

imagesTuesday is election day for the Levelland ISD Tax Ratification Election.  Polls will be open 7:00 am to 7:00 pm.  Voters may cast a ballot at Capitol Elementary or the Levelland Intermediate School.

Levelland ISD is asking voters to decide whether the district can shift two cents from the Debt Service tax rate to the Maintenance and Operations tax rate.  The shifting of two pennies does not increase the overall tax rate.  LISD will keep the tax rate the same.

Shifting the two cents will allow Levelland ISD to leverage additional state funds.  These two pennies will bring in an additional $556,000 in state and local revenue to Levelland ISD’s operating budget for the 2018-2019 school year WITHOUT increasing the tax rate in 2018-2019.

The new revenue will allow Levelland ISD to maximize state resources and implement a pay as you go model for priority instructional and facility needs and offer competitive pay to staff.  Some of those needs including replacing fleet vehicles, replacing some aging school buses and replacing a 17 year old activity bus which has mechanical issues and has broken down with teams on the way to an out of town event.

This reminder you will need a valid form of photo ID with you in order to vote.  This includes a Texas Drivers License, Personal ID Card issued by DPS, Election ID Certificate, US Passport, US Military ID with photograph, US Citizenship Certificate with photograph or a Texas License to Carry.

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Obituary: Kenneth Wesley, 75 of Levelland

Ken WesleyFuneral Services are scheduled for Kenneth Wesley, 75 of Levelland.  Services are set for Tuesday, August 14th, 2018 at 10:00 am in the Krestridge Funeral Home Chapel in Levelland.  He passed away on Thursday, August 9th in Lubbock.

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Obituary: Neil Cavanaugh, 57 of Levelland

Neil CavanaughFuneral Services are scheduled for Neil Cavanaugh, 57 of Levelland.  Services are set for Monday, August 13th, 2018 at 11:00 am in the Krestridge Funeral Home Chapel.  Burial will follow in the City of Levelland Cemetery.  Visitation will be held on Sunday, August 12th, 2018 from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm in the Krestridge Funeral Home of Levelland.

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SPC Board of Regents Holds Regular Meeting

SPC Stock LogoThe South Plains College Board of Regents met in a regular meeting on Thursday.

The Regents heard a report from the Vice President of Student Affairs. The college is changing the parking citation fee to $10 from $5. It was noted that if their is someone illegally parked in Handicap parking, a city citation will be issued and it will have to be paid through the Levelland Municipal Court and will cost at least $300. They also received a report on occupancy of the college residence halls for the Fall 2018. Currently they are at 92% occupancy with only 53 beds and majority of those are in the men’s residence halls. It was discussed that the vacancies are in the older residence halls that have community showers. Administration noted that they will be looking at a plan for remodeling or building new residence halls as well as evaluating the food services, noting that two new dorms have been built and no additional space was added for food services. Regent Richard Ellis asked about the possibility of forming a sub-committee to evaluate campus needs as a whole. It was also noted that the college is losing housing numbers due to the aging residence halls, and they do not meet the “expectations of the students” said Dr. Stan DeMerritt, VP for Student Affairs. Regents also received a policy to review for Student Misconduct and the Employee Sexual Harassment policy. The policy must be approved by the Board of Regents of every college in the State. The policy will be part of the colleges Title IX regulations and will be overseen and enforced by the Title IX Coordinator, Dr. Stan DeMerritt.

Regents also received a report of new hires for the Fall 2018 semester. They also received a report from the Law Enforcement Academy Graduation, it was noted that 100% of the graduates passed the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Exam for 21 classes in a row.

Regents also received the monthly financial report. The college as a net position of $12.1 million and currently has collected 98% of the current property taxes.

Regents also received a report on the accreditation of the college. The college takes their accreditation very seriously. The last on site visit and accreditation was 2013 and the college was accredited in 2014 for 10 years. The college is required to submit a 5 year report next year. This report details if the college is meeting goals and objectives and how they will prepare to meet the 21 items required by the accrediting team every 10 years. The fifth year report will address, Administration, faculty, transparency and Institutional representations, educating students and facilities. The college will go through full accreditation in 2024.

Regents also discussed and set a proposed tax rate for the 2018-2019 fiscal year. Property values for the SPC taxing district was up 6.02%. The tax rate to generate the same amount of revenue as last year is .37 cents per $100 property value. The current tax rate is 39.5 cents per $100 property value. The college lost over 50% of taxable revenue two years ago and at the same time, the state cut revenue dramatically. It was pointed out that two items need addressed that were not in the budget, including campus safety including replacing door locks where they can be locked down from the inside in case of emergency. They also need to replace buses for athletic teams and student teams as the current buses are over 15 years old and are beginning to have mechanical issues and have stranded teams on the side of the road in the past. It was noted “we don’t want a SPC bus broke down on the side of the road, it is a safety issue” said President Dr. Robin Satterwhite. It was noted that the college revenue per student is approximately $1082 each while Odessa College is around $5,000 each student. It was noted that cap on the tax rate is 40 cents per $100 property value. President Dr. Robin Satterwhite noted that the college is working to maximize the tuition dollars from external campuses and the decision was made months ago to increase tuition and fees on the external campuses and not increase Levelland tuition. It was noted that the college is still working to regain the 3.2 million decrease in revenue two years go due to major funding cuts from the state and low property values. College administration recommended maintaining the current property tax rate of 39.6 cents per $100 property value. Ronnie Alexander made the motion to propose setting the tax rate at .395731 which is the current rate, it was seconded by Pete Pettiet and it was approved on a unanimous vote.

The college will host a public hearing on the tax rate on Monday, August 20th at 5:00 pm and again on Thursday, August 23rd at 8:00 am. They will host a special meeting to hold a public hearing on the budget and tax rate and approve both on Monday, August 27th at 4:00 pm.

Regents also learned that The Culinary Arts center on the Lubbock campus is complete and classes will start this fall.

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Obituary: Edward Lee Moss, 68 of Levelland

Edward MossFuneral Services are scheduled for Edward Lee Moss, 68 of Levelland.  Services are set for 10:00 am on Thursday, August 9th, 2018 in the Krestridge Funeral Home Chapel in Levelland.  Burial will follow in Resthaven Memorial Park in Lubbock.  He passed away on Sunday, August 5th.

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Obituary: Kerry Israel, 51 of Levelland

Kerry IsraelFuneral Services are scheduled for Kerry Israel, 51 of Levelland.  Services are set for 3:00 pm on Wednesday, August 8th, 2018 in the Krestridge Funeral Home Chapel.  He passed away on Thursday, August 2nd.  Services are under the direction of Krestridge Funeral Directors of Levelland.

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