The Levelland ISD Board of Trustees met for a regular meeting on Thursday night.
The board approved the 2019-2020 school calendar for Levelland ISD. Classes will start on Wednesday, August 21st, 2019. The first holiday will be Monday, September 2nd for Labor Day. A student holiday will also be observed on Monday, September 23rd. There will be a student and teacher holiday on Thursday and Friday, October 10th and 11th and a half day on Thursday, October 31st with a holiday on Friday, November 1st. The first semester will end on December 20th and classes will not be in session December 23rd through January 6th. School will end on May 21st and Graduation will be at 7:00 pm on Friday, May 22nd, 2020 in the SPC Texan Dome.
The board approved the Summer School Calendar for 2019. It was noted that lunch and breakfast will be served at all campuses with the exception of high school. It was also noted that Summer School will be four days a week this year, Monday-Thursday.
The board also received the monthly financial report, mostly routine items in the report. It was noted the district is still waiting on the new Activity Bus as well as the new Ag pickup and a new truck and pickup approved at the last meeting has been ordered. The Ag Pickup was delivered to Levelland Thursday and is currently having some after market items added in before delivery to the district.
The board approved a resolution recognizing March 4th through March 8th as Texas Public School week. All campuses will have special events to invite parents on to the campus.
In 2013, the district approved concealed carry by some employees who are licensed carriers. The local policy allows certain authorized employees to carry on campuses, school property and board meeting.
Heidi Blair, the Director of Curriculum presented the board with the Academic Report. She reported that teachers from all six campuses attended with the Technology team the Texas Computer Education Association conference in San Antonio. Teachers were asked to attend at least 15 hours over the three day conference and the sessions needed to include primarily topics connected to their campus technology usage/devices. Each attendee was asked to return with two or more ideas and topics to share with their campus. As an effort to organize resources from the conference, they have all been stored in one shared folder for the group to be able to go back and look at.
Blair also gave an update on where the district stands in the 21st Century Skills:
C–Communication, sharing thoughts, questions, ideas and solutions
C-Collaboration, working as a team to implement technology
C-Critical Thinking, looking at problems in a new way
C-Creativity, trying new approaches to get things done
It was noted that Apple Corporation has started back into the Education field and Levelland ISD has a meeting scheduled next week with a company representative. Blair also presented different types of technology being used in the classroom.
She also provided a device update, LISD currently owns 720 Chromebooks. 200 will be purchased for incoming freshmen for next year, all remaining devices will be used by Sophmores, Juniors and Seniors. Any not used on the high school will be used in lower grade levels. CTE classes began in 2018-2019 school year. One to one use will be implemented on the high school campus in 2019-2020. The WiFi has been extended to work in the parking lots close to the building and several businesses have agreed to allowing students to use their free WiFi and to allow the district to put their LoboTech sticker in the business window.
Finance Director, Lance Terrell reported that he had met with state legislators regarding state funding. They discussed, adjusting state funding in relation to inflation which is not being done currently. They are also looking at moving state funding to be based on current year values not past year values which they are doing now. It was pointed out, that particular method could cost Levelland ISD as much as half a million dollars. He also said that some of the bills being looked at by the state legislature. They also discussed a school finance bill with the senate side of the bill being an increase of $4 billion dollars, however, that would all have to be used for a $5000 increase in teacher pay. The house bill is looking at an increase in funding of $9 billion dollars. It was noted that school finance will likely not be solved in regular session and will probably take 2 or more special sessions. Superintendent Jeff Northern said, he feels that one way to help with funding is to look at a cap in property values not property tax revenues. He also noted that Hurricane Harvey will have a major impact on money available for school funding. He also feels that the legislature has got to make changes to the pension fund for retirees as well as the health benefits for retirees.
A community group has been started to help the campus group for Bill’s Backpacks. A food drive will be held each month and drop offs are being accepted at various community locations including Aim Bank, Chamber of Commerce, College Avenue Animal Clinic, all school campuses and central office. Cash donations are being accepted at Central Office in the Finance Office and at Aim Bank. The board thanked Denver Bruner and Sodexo for donating shelves and bins for storage of donated items. The district has also allowed the group to use a large room at the Cactus Campus for storage.