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LISD, appraisal district finalize separation agreement

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By LPR Staff

Editor/POST-REGISTER

During a short meeting on Friday morning, the Lockhart Independent School District (LISD) Board of Trustees officially finalized the separation between LISD and the Caldwell County Appraisal District (CCAD).

Earlier this year, the two entities, which have been coexisting since 1980 began working toward the agreement,

which will relieve LISD of the responsibility of monitoring the day-to-day business activities of the CCAD.

Through several twists and turns, LISD and CCAD attorneys finally developed a separation agreement that both entities approved.

Effective Oct. 1, 2004, CCAD became responsible for employment and management of CCAD employees, handling payroll, income tax and social security monies, managing employees” retirement funds and benefit packages. Further CCAD is responsible for management and payment of all vendor accounts, including software vendors, printing companies, cell phone providers, cleaning and security services and professional organizations, among other things.

Prior to the separation, LISD was handling these operations on behalf of CCAD.

Despite the separation, LISD and CCAD will remain entwined in some aspects.

The agreement gives CCAD the right to continue using LISD”s telephone and internet services at a cost of $70 per month. Further, LISD will be responsible for the payment of all fees in connection with pending litigation, as well as the fees for any lawsuit that is filed in connection with an incident that occurred prior to the date of separation. However, CCAD will reimburse one-third of those legal expenses through provisions in their annual budgets.

Finally, CCAD will remain in the current location at 601 San Jacinto in Lockhart until Dec. 31, 2005. CCAD will pay rent in the amount of $1,870 per month and will be responsible for all interior maintenance. LISD, as the property”s owner, will be responsible for exterior maintenance, including heating, air conditioning, roofing, electrical systems, lawn maintenance and landscaping.

Should the two entities enter into a written lease agreement, CCAD can continue to occupy the property after Dec. 31, 2005.

Superintendent Dr. John Hall presented a proposal to the board for a management and manpower study to take place after the first of the year. The organization meant to perform the study did a similar job for Hall when he held a position in Cuero, and Hall indicated that he was satisfied with the results.

“There”s a philosophy of scarcity,” Hall said. “If you ask teachers and administrators, they”ll say that they don”t have enough teachers, but they might really be overstaffed in some areas.”

Although the proposal was not on the agenda as an action item, the idea was met with resistance from some board members.

“Why isn”t this something that staff can do,” trustee Dennis Placke said. “Most of this information is available on the internet. I don”t see why we should spend this money to have them do something that staff can do.”

Trustee Chuck Kelly also expressed concern, but for different reasons.

“We have to be ready to make the changes,” Kelly said. “We can have a contractor come in for three days, but it”s not going to do us any good unless we”re ready to make the changes.”

Trustee Raymond Gonzales suggested that an impartial, outside view would be the most beneficial.

At the next regular meeting, Hall will present a more in-depth overview of the proposal and the board should make a decision, according to Friday”s discussion.

In brief board news, the board gave their approval for the Lockhart High School cross country team to travel to Schaumberg, Ill., to compete in the National Championships on Dec. 11

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