Levelland ISD Board of Trustees met tonight in a regular meeting.
The bulk of the meeting, over 1 hour, was spent discussing the options for leasing vs. purchasing of 2 84 passenger activity buses and 1 14 passenger multi-purpose activity bus. The bids received from Blue Star Bus Sales was $179,975 each for a total of $359,995 for the large activity buses while Thomas Bus Sales bid a total of $358,270 for the 2 buses. Blue Star Bus Sales submitted a bid of $56,200 for the smaller 14 passenger activity bus with the gasoline engine. After some discussion among board members concerning the difference in Gas or Diesel for the 14 passenger bus, the board decided to approve the outright purchase of 1 14 passenger Activity Bus with the gas engine. It was pointed out that it would cost the district substantially more to operate a bus with a diesel engine. It was also noted that Chevrolet is not producing many diesel engines currently so delivery could take longer for a diesel engine. The board also spent some time discussing the lease option for the large buses noting that the lease option would be for a 3 year period and at that time the district could turn the bus back or lease a new bus. It was noted that a lease plan would cost a total of $370,068 for a three year period. Board members noted that they would have to make a budget amendment to purchase the buses and that would create a budget shortfall. Board member Rusty Gibson said the lease payments would be better on the budget. District Finance Director Nick Williams noted that the difference between the lease option or purchasing outright when looking at the 1/2% interest the fund balance earns would amount to losing $100 per month if the district bought the buses outright now. After much discussion the board approved the outright purchase of the 14 passenger bus and approved a lease purchase on the 2 large buses. It was noted the 2 large activity buses likely will not be delivered until August and the first lease payment will be made in September and the district may look at buying the lease out and purchase the buses in next years budget.
In other action, the board discussed a new policy which will have to be approved by attorneys for the district and the Texas Association of School Board. One item which was discussed was holding each fund raising organization to one fund raiser per year and absolutely no door to door sales will be allowed. Board member Tania Moody said “We are in the business of education, not quality of life trips.” She says educate them well and let them make their own money and spend their own money. She went on to say that fund raising monies need to be spent on Needs not Wants. Superintendent Kelly Baggett also stated that he no longer will APPROVE ANY MORE OUT OF STATE TRIPS FOR IN HOUSE PROGRAMS. Money raised must be used for educational needs. It was also noted that groups must be very specific on why funds are being raised. Board members are concerned about the business community being hit by several different school organizations raising money.
The board asked for an update on the Carver campus cleanup, which the board had put a January 2015 deadline in place for the facility to be cleaned up to the satisfaction of the Superintendent. Director of Administrative Services Rodney Caddell noted that improvement has been made, however, he stated the work room is still cluttered and class rooms are better. The deadline for Carver to no longer have classes is Spring. It was noted that next school year in order to accomodate construction at the Intermediate. Intermediate students will move to Cactus while the Cactus programs will relocate to Carver. That move is only temporary while construction is done at Intermediate. This move will make construction costs lower and should substantially speed the process up.
The board also put a tentative timeline in place for the Superintendent search. The board is expected to run the application process through March, interviews will be held in April and May and they hope to name a finalist by May 18th and hire the new Superintendent at their June meeting for a July 1 start date. Superintendent Kelly Baggett will retire August 31, 2015.