The meeting began with a recognition of school board members as part of School Board Recognition month.
The board held a public hearing on the Texas Academic Performance Report. This report replaced the Academic Excellence Indicator System which is part of the federal No Child Left Behind Act. The plan includes performance reports and campus improvement plans as well as district improvement plans. The report will be available at all campuses and will be on the school website, levellandisd.net and will be available at the Administration Building for the public to review. It was pointed out that Levelland has the largest percentage of students enrolled at South Plains College than any other high school in this area.
The district also received the annual financial audit for the fiscal year ending August 31, 2013. The audit showed an unqualified opinion from the accounting firm which is the highest possible opinion allowed. A very clean audit. It also showed an increase in revenue of 1.2. A net increase in fund balance of 1.3 million dollars more than anticipated by the district. Auditor Phelps Blume said the citizens of Levelland and Levelland ISD taxpayers should be proud of what the board was able to do. The district is in good financial condition. There was one finding that showed on 1 day in 2013 the pledged collateral of the bank depository for Levelland ISD, did not meet the requirement that collateral equal 110% or more of school deposits. New internal controls have been put in place to avoid this happening again.
Under consent agenda items the board approved a definition for any major curriculum initiative–no changes were made-the definition was required by legal guidance. They also approved the financial report and approved the Texas Accountability Intervention System state report which addresses requirements based on missing safeguards reported in the 2013 Accountability Summaries.
The board also approved calling the May 10, 2014 election for the district 5 trustee seat and 2 at large positions. He also pointed out the option of moving it to city hall this year for election day. It was noted that it saves a lot of effort and time in the long run in moving election materials and setting up the board room for the election. He recommended the moving of the election on election day. Filing begins January 29 and continues through February 28. The board members currently holding the seats up for election is Missy Himango, Glen Smith and David Etheridge. The board approved the move. It was noted that it will be less confusion.
The board also approved quarterly financial reports.
The board also heard a report that the district is currently applying for a grant from the Texas Education Agency called the Educator Excellence Innovation Program. Thirty of the grants will be awarded throughout the state.
Trustees also met in executive session and after reconvening in open session, approved extending Supt. Kelly Baggett’s contract by 1 year which is the maximum allowed by law. His contract will end in 2017. Following the executive session, Baggett also announced he will retire after a long career in education which included a short period of time in Brownfield ISD and over 20 years with Levelland ISD as Assistant Principal for the High School, Principal at the High School, Director of Administrative Services, Interim Superintendent and currently Superintendent. He will retire effective June 2015. He made the announcement now to allow the Board of Trustees plenty of time to find a successor. He said “I love Levelland ISD and this was a very hard decision for me.”