Posted Date: 06/18/2019
The June meeting of the LISD School Board of Trustees opened with a legislative update by Superintendent Dr. Brent Hawkins. In response to the passing of the school finance bill, the basic allotment in Livingston ISD increased from $5140 to $6160 per student for a total amount of $3.25 million. A mandate requires thirty percent of the multiplier in the amount of $977,304 to be used as salary increases for teachers, librarians, RNs and counselors. The balance of the multiplier in the amount of $244,000 will be used for all other positions except administrators. The recommendation was made to the board to allow more salary expenditures than the state requirement mandated. Hawkins feels, “ This increase will help us retain the best teachers possible because it will give a $3,000 raise for teachers, Librarians, RNs and counselors will receive a 3% increase on a salary document that places us in the top quartile of our market area.” The board approved a 1.8% cost of living adjustment shifting the midpoint on the salary instrument. Also included in the board action was a 3% raise for support staff, 5% for auxiliary staff and an increase for starting bus drivers at $15.50 per hour. Hawkins said, “We are acting in good faith by moving ahead with the salary instrument today. Because of the government code, these raises were mandated to receive action prior to July 1st. Hawkins shared, “The allotments resulting from House Bill 3 have only brought us back to where we were before the state education cuts were made in 2011. The passage of HB 3 cannot be labeled as transformational school finance reform, but rather meaningful steps in a positive direction. We appreciate the work of our Legislature and look forward to the hope of a continued positive public education agenda. LISD has not received any new revenues from the state for the last two years. The Board of Trustees is to be commended in this district for continuing to address employee salaries with no new monies from the state. They value the work that we are doing as educators and have kept the district financially sound in the process. Across the state, it has been common when funding was cut or limited to freeze employee salaries and they did not follow this trend. I’m proud of the actions by the board during the past five years to address these needs and I see no change in that priority in the coming years. This action was a $1,156,959 investment in our staff by the state and Livingston ISD Board of Trustees on top of a multi-million dollar salary initiative over the past five years. While we are grateful for the additional funds passed under HB 3, transformational funding is not occurring when students are not equally funded across the state. The board approved the 2019-2020 salary instrument as the finance committee recommended to the board.
Livingston ISD Personnel Director Ben Wilroy presented the Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System (T-TESS). Wilroy stated that 2015-2016 was the pilot year for T-TESS and illustrated how improvements have been made through teacher self-assessment and goal setting. Evaluations are made throughout the year by Assistant Principals, Principals and members of the administration team by conducting 45-minute observations by conducting walkthroughs. Evaluations are conducted on class time planning, instruction, learning environment, and professional practices and responsibilities.
Livingston ISD Chief Academic Officer Janan Moore reviewed student assessment data where ten areas students scored the same or lower and in sixteen areas students reflected improvements. Moore outlined, “returning teaching staff will focus on time in the classroom. The framework and resources have been provided by the district and professional development classes are scheduled over the whole summer to help teachers prepare for the first day of school.” She added, “We have phenomenal teachers on our staff our challenge is to provide consistency across the district. We must ensure that we are providing everything the teachers need in regards to training and resources. As we move through the school year, the evaluations and assessments provide accountability for all of us to ensure that we are meeting the needs of our students.
Items approved under the consent agenda include a purchase of $54,000 to improve lighting at Pine Ridge Primary, plumbing repair at Timber Creek Elementary that will repair the galvanized pipe in the amount of $38,407 and the purchase of a small bus in the amount of $97,300.
Livingston ISD Chief Financial Officer Ben Davidson presented the quarterly investment report. The beginning balance on February 28, 2019, was $28,162,313.11 and the ending balance on May 31, 2019, was $25,102,669.32. The interest earned in March, April and May was a total of $160,091.38 which earned approximately 2.5% interest on the accounts. The board approved the quarterly investment report as presented.