The board opened with recognition to all of the media for their service in fair and balanced reporting for the Levelland Independent School District. Tania Moody, Jody Rose and Michael Wiiest were all recognized from KLVT while Stephen Henry, Kati Moody and D’Lane Guerra was recognized from the Levelland and Hockley County News Press. All will be featured on the Texas Association of School Boards Media Honor Roll.
The board canvassed the election returns from the August 14th Tax Ratification Election.
They also held a public hearing on the 2018-2019 budget. There was very few changes to the budget since the board reviewed the preliminary budget. It was noted that one of the changes was to accommodate purchase of four new route buses and also to install two way radios in all of the route buses. It was noted that two way radios were not in the buses and drivers were having to rely on their personal cell phone in the event help was needed. It was stated this is a safety factor and needed addressed immediately. No member of the public was present to speak in the public hearing.
The board also approved the 2018-2019 budget and funding as presented.
The board also approved the purchase of a Blue Star bus sales for a new 49 passenger Type D Activity Bus to replace a 2002 Activity bus. The new bus is expected to be delivered in approximately 75 days.
The board also approved the purchase of four route buses from Blue Star Bus Sales at a cost of $104,865 per bus for four 77 passenger buses. They will replace a 1999, two 2000 models and a 2001 model. The district has also put a fleet replacement plan in place for route buses and activity buses. Activity buses will be on a 12 year replacement cycle and route buses will be on a 15 year replacement cycle, special ed buses will also be on a 12 year replacement cycle.
The board also approved the monthly financial reports. It was noted that the district will likely end the current fiscal year with a surplus rather than a deficit and Superintendent Jeff Northern thanked the faculty and staff of the district for their work the past year to become the most effective possible in the most efficient method.
The board also approved a 2% raise based on the employee’s pay grade midpoint. It was noted that there have also been some adjustments made to Teacher steps 5-20 beyond the 2% raise to improve the structure of the teacher hiring schedule. It was noted by board president, Tania Moody, this pay increase would not have been possible without the voter approval of the Tax Ratification election.
The board also approved renewal of the Unemployment Insurance through the Texas Association of School Boards.
The board also approved an amendment to the Sodexo Facilities 2018-2019 contract. Two things will be adjusted including a 2.1% Consumer Price Index increase. They also are adding services for grounds duties and some minor building maintenance at the Ag Farm.
The board also gave approval for the superintendent to dispose of 7 fleet vehicles from the transportation department which recently was approved for purchase of new fleet vehicles to replace these seven vehicles.
The board also received the Summer School program report for 2018. 474 students were enrolled in summer school and 354 completed. The enrollment is up slightly from last year when 443 students were enrolled.
The board also received a report on the recent Accountability ratings released by the state. It was noted the district received a C with a score of 76 out of 100. The campuses all Met Standard with the High School receiving four distinctions in Academic Achievement in Math, Academic Achievement in English Language Arts/Reading, Top 25 Percent Comparative Academic Growth and Top 25 Percent Comparative Closing the Gaps. It was also noted that their was strong growth across the district from 2017, Intermediate School did not show the growth the district would have liked to have seen and the district is working to improve. The board also reviewed goals which are being put in place to improve overall scoring. Board members will complete their mandatory training for the accountability ratings system which is now required by the state. It was noted that board members will be told that one of the most important functions of their job is to monitor the full accountability system for the district.
Board Member Treva Potter said that several parents have questioned her about the number of students in classes on the secondary campuses. The Superintendent advised any parents with questions on class size should contact the principal for the individual campus or a central office administrator.
Superintendent Jeff Northern reported that it has been a smooth start to the 2018-2019 school year. He did note that enrollment as of now is down approximately 50 students from the last day of school last year.