The board held a public hearing on the highly qualified teacher report. The report indicates 98% of the teachers district wide are highly qualified according to state guidelines. It was noted that South, Capitol, Cactus and Levelland Intermediate School are all staffed with 100% highly qualified teachers. There are only 4 teachers in the district that are not highly qualified and most will test for the qualification this year.
The board held a public hearing on the Financial Integrity Rating System for the district. It shows the financial health of the district. The district received a Superior rating. However, it was noted that their was a penalty on this report because there was a period of time in last fiscal year that the district was under pledged on deposits with the depository bank. At that time, the district felt it was the depository banks responsibility however, they have since put safeguards in place and the district monitors it on a daily level.
The board also took action to approve budget amendments for 2013-2014 budget and amended the current year budget for an item that had been inadvertently left out of the budget for Levelland ABC.
The board approved a bid for an Underground Irrigation Systems for Cactus and Capitol. Two bids were received from Jordansville Landscapes of Lubbock and Turfmaster Irrigation of Lubbock. The low bid of $156,860 from Jordansville Landscapes was approved by the board of trustees. They will begin work this month.
The board also approved the purchase of 60 I-Pads for teachers at Capitol, South, Intermediate and Middle School and 2 Carts to house I Pads which have already been purchased for Levelland ABC. The total bid is $34,540.00 for all I Pads and Carts.
The board also approved the purchase of Dell Laptops for teachers. These will replace some older laptops that are currently in use by the district teachers. The older laptops will be refurbished and upgraded to Windows 7 and then will be used by students. It was noted that the district has no plans in the immediate future to upgrade or run Windows 8 on any of their equipment. The total purchase price is $104,997.
The board agreed to a final retirement agreement for Superintendent Kelly Baggett. He announced his retirement in January 2014. The agreement approved for Baggett to remain Superintendent until August 31, 2015. In the event the board of trustees hires a new superintendent prior to that date-at that time Baggett will be appointed Deputy Superintendent until August 31, 2015.
The board also developed a procedure for selecting the new Superintendent. It was noted that the Texas Association of School Boards estimates an approximate 4 month timeline to hire a new Superintendent. Once the Lone finalist is named then it is 21 days before the district can officially hire the individual. It was suggested that they start the process no later than February 1, 2015. It was discussed briefly, the possibility of hiring a search firm to assist or the board handling the process. Most board members were in agreement that they do not want to hire a search firm. Board President FE Shaheen said “I feel this board is competent enough to handle the search.” The board is reviewing a profile which will be included in the listing.
The board also received a report on South Plains Educational Coop. The South Plains Educational Coop serves 9 school districts in this area. The director and support staff all have offices in Levelland ISD Administration Building. The South Plains Educational Coop currently serves 676 students as of October 2013. The report also included a brief financial report.
The board also received the enrollment report for the district. The enrollment as of October 1 in the district is 3,154 up 40 students from 3,114 in October 1, 2013.
They also heard a review of the new Math TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills). In April 2012 the State Board of Education approved revision for the mathematics TEKS to be fully implemented by the 2014-2015 school year. The State mandates the curriculum standards for all schools in Texas. The SBOE Instructional Review committee regularly reviews curriculum standards and makes revisions that all schools must implement. By next year all teachers, parents and students will be effected. It was pointed out that content currently being taught in upper grade limits has been pushed down to earlier grades and math will be a part of the STAAR assessment and as it stands now will also be a part of the school accoutability rating. It was also noted that over 50% of the content taught in 6th grade is new content that has not been taught in that grade in the past.
During the Superintendent report an item was discussed pertaining to Activity Buses. It was pointed out that the 2 VanHool Activity Buses have caused many problems and have broke down numerous times while carrying students to out of town events and something must be done. It was pointed out they are 1998 models. The board has directed the administration to put together a package on the possibility of purchasing new activity buses.