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LISD to phase out longer-term contracts

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By LPR Staff

Editor/POST-REGISTER

 

Many of the Lockhart ISD’s teachers and staff could soon find themselves facing reduced contract terms.

Introducing an initiative that caused some heartburn among the Lockhart ISD Board of Trustees on Monday evening, Superintended Rodolfo “Rudy” Trevino said he intends to change the “practi

ce” of offering two-year contract renewals to several employee classes – though he does not intend to pursue the practice for Principals or the Superintendent.

The phase-in, according to Trevino and Human Resources Director Dan Vera, will essentially do away with multi-year contracts through attrition – as the contracts expire, employees will then be moved to a one-year term contract “provided there are no negative employment actions.”

Upon direct questioning from Trustee Tom Guyton, himself an educator in another school district, Trevino acknowledged that the Central Office Cabinet had not taken the pulse of the employee population regarding the contract shift, but said the practice is used by most comparable school districts in the area.

Guyton said he strongly encouraged an open discussion with the employees prior to the contracts being migrated, suggesting that Central Office would “have an easier time with it,” if the employees were on board.

New Trustee Steve Johnson, on the other hand flatly advised against the move, questioning how it would impact employee morale.

“This is going to cause an ‘us against them’ attitude,” Johnson said. “[Employees] will see that there are two teams to play on, and they aren’t on the best team.”

Trevino said the plan was not to create employee derision, but rather to make the district “more nimble” in the hiring process.

“If you have, for instance, an increase in bilingual students and are locked in to non-bilingual contracts, you have to buy out those contracts to serve the needs of the students,” he said.

Though Trevino and Vera noted the practice was used in several other districts, Board President Carl Cisneros pointed out that, in some cases, those one-year limits extend higher, including principals and, in some cases, superintendents.

Vera countered that an administrator on a one-year contract would be less likely to be able to “turn a school around,” but Cisneros said if the administrator was productive and meeting goals, it should not be a concern.

However, because Trevino referred to the decision as a “practice” rather than a “policy,” there was no Board vote as to whether the District should go forward with phasing out the two-year contracts.

In other business, the Trustees heard from representatives of Huckabee and Associates regarding the upcoming renovation project at Lockhart High School.

Renderings have begun to take shape, and classroom drawings are helping the team to determine unforeseen issues in the project, including what has become the necessary removal of a large live oak tree at the front of the campus. The tree will be replaced with several other trees throughout the campus, and the other mature trees have been able to be protected.

Construction is slated to begin in April 2015.

The board of the Lockhart Education Foundation attended the meeting to present a donation to the District.

The steering committee of the Foundation, which was formed to provide additional funding and support to teachers and students throughout the community, has not only raised money, but each member of the board said they have contributed their own funds, to add to a large corporate sponsorship, which totaled at $15,000 donation for the District.

In brief news:

The Trustees recognized the Bi-District Champion Lockhart Lions, and celebrated the graduation of 2014 graduate Edgar Hernandez.

The Lockhart ISD Board of Trustees routinely meets on the third and fourth Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. in the Conference Center at Lockhart High School. The meetings are open to the public, and can be viewed online at www.lockhartisd.org.

 

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