LULAC questions LISD contract decisions
By LPR Staff
After nearly three hours of executive session, the Lockhart Independent School District Board of Trustees approved renewals on hundreds of employee contracts, including teachers, coaches, Central Office staff, and high-level administrators on Monday night.
The principals at each campus were offered two year
contract renewals through the end of the 2016-2017 school year, as were most of the Cabinet-level administrators.
However, in a shocking turn, the motion for a contract extension for longtime District employee and current Deputy Superintendent Janie Wright failed, with no Trustee offering a second on the motion for the contract extension.
No explanation was offered for the Board’s decision not to renew the contract. However, as the meeting closed, Board President Carl Cisneros noted, “These are difficult times, but this board has some very good discussions, even when they’re not in the way some of us want them to go. We have the concerns of the kids and the community at heart.”
In other news, three representatives from the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) approached the Trustees during public comments to request a meeting to “resolve issues” within the District.
While neither Deputy Director Marcelo Tafoya, District 12 President Fidel Acevedo or Deputy District Director and Political Advisor Philip Ruiz were unclear what “issues” the trio hoped to address, they made it clear that LULAC is dissatisfied with recent decisions of the school board.
“We need to get clarification on things that are happening,” Acevedo said.
Ruiz stressed the organization would prefer to meet with District leadership this week, and Tafoya noted they were concerned with “employment and demotion” of staff, and that a report had been made to the Department of Justice.
Because of laws governing Texas Open Meetings, the Trustees were unable to engage in conversation with the men.
In other business, plans are moving forward for the construction of a new elementary school near the intersection of FM1185 and FM1854 in the Lytton Springs area, per a unanimous Trustees’ decision.
Acquisition of the property for the school was one of the primary focuses for Superintendent Rolando “Rudy” Trevino during his tenure with Lockhart ISD. Trevino chose to take a professional development leave only weeks before the contract on the property was negotiated, and design and schematic plans moved forward.
According to Jo Zunker with Owners Building Resource (OBR), the project managers for the sweeping construction projects authorized by the bond, the site poses certain complications, including the need for a water tank system to provide ample water pressure for fire suppression systems, and the need for a septic treatment system. However, she noted, those concerns have been worked into the schematic and aesthetic designs for the school, working into front yard space, and decorative storage in a central learning courtyard.
The school is expected to be a two-story building, with the younger grades housed on the first floor, and the older children, potentially third – fifth graders, in the upper level.
The Trustees expressed concerns about several aspects of the project, including safety issues that could arise because the area is serviced entirely by volunteer fire departments and the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office, which often has thinly-stretched patrols.
However, in the end the Board did vote to continue moving forward with the project. A full update on the elementary and other projects attached to the bond proposal are available at www.lockhartisd.org.
In brief news:
The Trustees extended a contract with Sodexo for food service, and with STS for student transportation.
They chose a contractor to begin asbestos abatement at local elementary schools in preparation for renovations. The work will begin immediately after classes are dismissed for the summer.
The Board also chose a contractor to refinish the Lockhart High School track, and to engage in curbing work at Lion Stadium.
The Lockhart ISD Board of Trustees routinely meets for their regular business meeting on the 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 are webcast at www.lockhartisd.org.