The Levelland ISD Board of Trustees held their regular meeting Thursday night. Trustees held the public hearing on the 2019-2020 budget and tax rate.
Finance Director Lance Terrell discussed projects completed in 2018-2019 including landscaping projects at Intermediate, South and Capitol. The district also purchased new playground equipment for South and Capitol, repaired a plumbing issue at South by replacing $35,000 worth of new lines, cleaned and renovated portable building at South to a Special Education Sensory area, created a migrant playground area at Cactus, repainted exterior of ABC building, remodeled varsity boys basketball locker room area, built a new softball equipment building and built a new Chromebook Support Center in the Levelland High School library. The district also purchased four new route buses, and was commended by administration for being able to purchase a million dollars worth of route buses without issuing debt. The district also purchased a new activity bus, a new box van with a lift, two special education buses with wheel chair lifts as well as some new fleet vehicles and built a new awning to store the fleet vehicles in.
The 2019-2020 property values is up approximately 5.76%. This seems to be within the trend for the last four years ago. The proposed tax rate is 99 cents for maintenance and operations and 31 cents for debt service. The average tax payer should see a savings of approximately $42.65 on their annual property taxes. The district has set aside for roof salvage at the Cactus Support Center, the new budget is a balanced budget and includes 2 new route buses, 1 new student/staff transportation vehicle and 3 new maintenance vehicles. It also incorporates the new compensation plan. The district has also had a roofing study done and it was noted that the high school roof and the roof on the administration building will need redone in the next few years. The other roofs are in good condition.
Administration noted that after a comparison with 17 other districts, LISD compares favorably as far as the compensation plan for teachers and staff.
It was also noted that additional funds have been added for Middle School band and choir programs as enrollment is up substantially this year. Some funds were also removed for a transportation vehicle, the district will not be needing and funds were also saved as they absorbed an athletic trainer position.
Trustees also received an update on fund balance. Over the last several years, the district has been able to increase fund balance and is expected to cross over the $10 million mark at the end of the 2018-2019 fiscal year. They will be creating a capital expenditure fund to save for future projects so the district does not have to issue additional debt. They will set aside any money above the 100 day operating fund. It takes approximately $7 million dollars to operate the district for 100 days.
Trustees approved the adoption of the budget and tax rate for 2019-2020 with little discussion. The tax rate adopted was a total of $1.30 per $100 property value which is a 8.8 cent decrease from last year. It was approved on a unanimous vote.
Trustees also approved the monthly financial report. Chief Financial Officer, Lance Terrell noted the district is in good financial condition ending the 2018-2019 school year. It was noted that their was substantial savings in the campuses not using as many substitute teachers as well as some additional state funding coming in and a savings in health insurance costs.
Trustees also approved an amendment to the Sodexo Facilities 2019-2020 contract to account for leap year in 2020 and the Consumer Price Index adjustment. Trustees thanked Sodexo facilities for their work as well as their donated labor for many of the improvements made to the district facilities.
Trustees also approved two budget amendments to move money to cover potential expenses for August that may not be invoiced until September which is in the new fiscal year.
Trustees also approved a new Superintendent Evaluation document following discussion among board members. It was noted that this is an evaluation tool, it is not the only way the Superintendent will be evaluated. This document could change next year.
The board approved replacing two route buses which is currently part of the asset replacement schedule. This purchase will be the last bus replacement barring any unexpected emergencies until the 2023-2024 school year. The district received two bids through buy board, one from Longhorn Bus Sales for $97,754 and one from Blue Star Bus Sales for $106,440. Both bids were for 77 passenger buses. The board approved the bid from Longhorn Bus Sales.
The board also approved the purchase of 34 cafeteria tables. 20 new tables will be for Intermediate and 14 new tables for Capitol Elementary. The cost of the 34 new tables will be $56,184.20. The money will come out of the 2019-2020 budget.
The board also received the summer school report. 449 total students completed the Summer School program through the district. The ACE program had an enrollment of 245 students participating. It was noted that the district is required to provide summer school but does not receive any funding.
The board also received a fundraising report on fundraisers that have been approved by the principal and the Superintendent.
The district has formed a Security Committee made up of law enforcement officers, fire department officials, EMS officials, parents and staff. They will meet next week for the first meeting. They will be discussing Emergency Operations plans, early dismissals, STOP the Bleed training for staff and upper grade level students. High School and Middle School staff training has been done and other campuses will be trained in November. They will also be discussing law enforcement presence on campus as well as concealed carry.
The trustees also received a report on Levelland ISD teacher turnover. In 2017-2018 Levelland ISD had a 18.4% turnover rate which is in the middle of other districts in this area. Brownfield ISD has the highest turnover of 37.4% in 2017-2018, Seminole has the lowest turnover of 12.8% in 2017-2018.
The board also received a report on a developing marketing plan. Goals have been set to get the LISD brand. They will also be working to put the positive message out for the district. The district is also working to get some of the transferred students back in to the district. The new website is up and in operation. A new Facebook, Instagram and Twitter page has also been started for the district.
Trustees also approved personnel items prior to adjournment.