Levelland ISD Holds Regular Meeting

They had several people present to speak concerning the softball program and consolidation of Carver Learning Center.

Brittney Hinijosa was present to speak in support of Coach Creswell. Speaking in support of the coach, stating that she feels that the coach has not had a fair chance this season as she has had to defend herself with school administration and athletic director. She further stated that the coach has had her best season yet. She said Coach Creswell keeps a close eye on her team academically and we feel she is the best coach for this program and she should not be forced to resign by her administration. She spoke on behalf of several supporting families. Several of the softball players also spoke in support of the coach, voicing how supportive the coach is of the program. They feel that things will improve from this point. It was pointed out that a large part of the team is juniors and the team will mostly be seniors next year. The players stated that it would crush the team to lose Coach Creswell.

Coach Michelle Creswell spoke on her own behalf–stating the only reason I am standing here is because of this team. She stated the team has worked hard and I want to stay and I want what is best for the team.

Clarissa Hurn, a graduate of Levelland High School softball program in 2011. She spoke of how well the team of 2011 was coached and she stated it was because the coach at that time had the support of the administration. She stated Coach Creswell should be given atleast another year and should be given the same chance any other coach would receive. The coach should be given a fair chance.

Michael Alvarez said he didn’t understand what the students were having to defend. He said he was here to defend the team, but he feels that the softball program in Levelland is taking a back seat to other sports. He feels we have to have the right people in the right position to teach the game.

Carlos Corrales also spoke concerning the softball program. He said he was appalled at the direction the softball program at Levelland ISD was taking. He voiced concern about a lack of leadership–stating the coach has been seen belittling the players in front of other players and parents

A supporter of Carver spoke concerning the item on the agenda to consolidate Carver into Cactus Academic Center. She further stated that adults in the program at Carver are voters and voted for the recent bond issue and now the district wants to consolidate the program. She further stated that Carver is equipped for the adult education programs offered and Cactus is not. She further asked the board how can you make decisions about Carver when you don’t even come to Carver.

Abel Rodriquez also spoke concerning the bond issue and the fact that there was $1.2 Million allotted in the bond package for renovations to Carver and now you want to change plans. He went on to say he understood economics and the money that could be saved by relocating, however, that should have been decided before administration put the information out to get the bond issue passed. He said I want accountability from this school board. He reminded the board that in the January meeting the Superintendent stated in response to a question that he could not see any cuts on the academic level to pay for the extra cost incurred to build the football stadium, he said you are now wanting to cut an academic program.

1) . The board handled consent agenda items.

2) The board also took action on asbestos abatement at Cactus, Capitol and Intermediate School Auditorium. They approved bids to Advanced Environmental in Odessa for Cactus, Capitol and Intermediate School auditorium. AML Environmental of Abilene was approved for South Elementary. The total cost for all 4 projects is $108,550.

3) The board also approved a bid through the buyboard which is allowed by state government code for the new auditorium seats for the Intermediate School. The bid was from A. Bargas and Associates from San Antonio for $113,126.76 for the auditorium seats. It was noted in order to comply with ADA requirements and the fact that the chairs are slightly larger there will be a loss in the number of seats. Board member Tania Moody asked if there was any value in trying to save the old seats–the Superintendent stated that the experts stated it would not be worth it since the parts are not available to repair the auditorium seats.

The board also discussed moving Carver Learning Center to the Cactus Academic Center. Superintendent Kelly Baggett spoke to the group that addressed the board in public forum. He thanked them for being present and for speaking to the board. He said he had a very detailed discussion with Dr. Arlene Brooks about this topic in early April. He said that with the loss of the Ace High School program at Cactus, (the district had to stop the program because there was no students) He said it does not make sense financially to operate 2 facilities in the district that are at 50% capacity at most any time. He stated that he would not allow any program and personnel in place now at Carver to be cut. He stated it would be hard for Levelland ISD to continue to pay to operate this program in a separate building when we receive no financial assistance from the state. There is only two programs in this area offering adult education–Seminole and Denver City. It was noted that Denver City ISD does not fund their program. LISĎ Finance Director Nick Williams stated that utilities annually cost an estimated $24,000. He also stated that none of the programs at Carver generate any state revenue–most of the funding for the programs and a portion of the staff is funded by local tax dollars. The estimated figure to operate the Carver programs is $200,000 which includes salaries, utilities to keep the building open and to operate programs. 85% of that figure is salaries which would not be saved because we have no intention of cutting any personnel or program. It was pointed out that if the program was moved to Cactus, theey would need 11 rooms with some needing access to water for child care, library, separate entrance from current, storage for food box. Since September 2013, 206 adult learners have been enrolled in the GED and ESL programs. They have 10-15 learners for the GED test per night. In the ESL classes there is 17 in the morning, 23 in the afternoon and up to 12 in the evening. Mr Baggett stated that after a discussion with Dr. Brooks this afternoon, he is recommending transitioning the programs slowly and only after we put together a design plan to remodel Cactus that it would include the Carver programs. He amended his recommendation to be a slow transition and that architects will work with the Carver program to make the renovation at Cactus to include that program. He asked that the transition be done for the 2015-2016 school year not the next school year. I do not want this program cut and in reference to the money earmarked for the Carver center he will consult with legal counsel. Board Member Tania Moody stated that she would like to have the question of if the money earmarked for Carver can be spent on another building and would like to see more hard numbers on the savings. Baggett pointed out that federal funding will likely be cut and the district will have to absorb the cost of some of the staff at Carver that is paid by federal funding. He once again stated I am willing to say the district should do that and I do NOT want to cut any personnel!!

A motion was made by Paul Ochoa and seconded by Tania Moody to table action on this item until a later meeting.

The board also took action to approve the lease of two 1 ton extended cab pickup trucks in the maintenance department, a cargo delivery van and a ProMaster cargo van all for use in the maintenance department. They approved a purchase of an SUV to be added to the school transportation fleet. Bids were received from both local dealers. Smith South Plains was the low bid on all 5 vehicles. They bid a monthly lease of $1738.61 for both one ton pickups and $589.46 lease for a 3/4 ton cargo delivery van and $789.89 for a monthly lease on the ProMaster Cargo Van. They bid a purchase price of $33,755.00 for the SUV. The board approved the bids from Smith South Plains.

The board also discussed resurfacing the tennis courts at the high school. It was noted that many areas of the tennis courts are losing the surface and some deterioration of the top surface has been noted. This can be done through the buyboard with Helis which is in town already for work at the football stadium. The $47,800 will paid for out of the general maintenance fund and is NOT a part of the bond issue. It was pointed out that the district cut the budget for maintenance significantly. The finance director stated the district was able to put back $400,000 into fund balance and end of fiscal year 2012-2013.

The board also received an update on HB5 as it impacts students. (KLVT news will post a story specific to HB5 at a later date) It was pointed out that the district currently has 21 students enrolled in welding and 26 students enrolled in cosmetology in a partnership with South Plains College. It was also noted that Levelland ISD currently has teachers on staff and identified as eligible to teach pre-advanced placement courses.

New criteria will be documented on the diploma and on transcript along with the graduation plan the student follows:

Dual credits
Bilingualism and biliteracy
SAT/ACT tests
AP/IB tests
Recognized certifications/licenses

Personal Graduation Plans are required to have face to face contact between students and counselors and will ultimately require a parent signature.

Levelland ISD-Student Achievement Goals for New Graduation Plans…..

100% of students graduate with atleast 1 endorsement

Atleast 50% of the students graduate at the distinguished level

Continue a growing support systems for Performance Acknowledgements.

About Drew Dunn

News Director for KLVT AM 1230 in Levelland. We provide local and regional news updates 5 times a day on KLVT AM 1230 and online at www.klvtradio.com
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