Enrollment up, attendance down at LISD￼
By Kyle Mooty
State revenues to schools are driven by attendance and Lockhart Independent School District, despite enrollment growing, has experienced a drop in its average daily attendance.
This year, with an enrollment of 6,227, LISD has had an average daily attendance of 5,230. That is in comparison to the average daily attendance of 5,624 for the 2019-2020 school year, and 5,366 in the 2020-2021 school year, which had a lower enrollment of 6,166.
“Enrollment is growing but our average daily attendance is dropping,” said Lockhart ISD Chief Financial Officer Nicole Dean. “Where it hurts is planning on our students to show up. This is also a statewide and nationwide issue.
“We have had 1.4 percent growth in enrollment from this time last year. We plan in our budget for 95 percent average daily attendance. State revenue is driven by attendance, not enrollment. During the 20th week of school, we had our highest absence peak due to the Omicron COVID variant.”
The result is a net decrease in state revenues of almost $3.9 million, a direct result from the average daily attendance dropping.
The LISD fiscal year is 67 percent complete.
In other news:
Superintendent Mark Estrada brought forth an idea to the board to see “if it is a viable possibility.” Estrada recently asked LISD teachers in an interest survey regarding their current housing situation.
“It will take your breath away how far our teachers drive,” Estrada said. “They drive from the west side of San Antonio and all the way to Dime Box and in between. A common theme is the lack of housing in Lockhart. More recently, there has been a sharp increase in cost. We see over and over where Central Texas teachers are not able to afford housing.”
The district asked several questions of the teachers, including if they would move to Lockhart if there was something available. About 100, Estrada said, were interested.
“They were interested in small and big houses, moving in by themselves and moving all of their family, renting and buying,” Estrada said. “Primarily, they wanted to buy.
“The first step would be a rental program. At the next meeting, I will share more details. This is an innovative opportunity. We’ve got to do more with less.”
Masks are no longer required within Lockhart ISD.
“We have removed the mask mandate due to very few cases (of COVID-19),” Estrada said. “We have many campuses with zero. Anyone wanting to wear a mask can and mask will be provided by the schools.”
The removal of the mask mandate passed, 6-1.
As of Tuesday, March 1, there were no cases of COVID-19 – students or employees — listed on the LISD Dashboard. LISD has a combined total of students and employees of more than 7,100.
The Academic Calendar for the 2022-23 School Year was presented by Estrada and approved.
School will begin on Aug. 4 for staff and Aug. 17 for students. The first semester will end on Dec. 16. Students will end their school year on May 25, 2022, and the staff on the following day. In all, there will be 166 instructional days and 187 staff days.
All elementary campus in the Lockhart ISD will begin classes at 7:30 a.m. beginning in the fall. That’s 10 minutes later the current start times.
The board agreed to pay non-exempt employees during the emergency closing days of Jan. 24–25 as well as the two hours taken off on both Feb. 24–25 – each due to inclement weather.
“This will allow employees to not be negatively affected financially,” Dean said.
As an incentive, the district will also pay an additional $50 per day for substitute teachers as a stipend dating back to Jan. 26 through March 11. During the Omicron variant of COVID-19, there was a massive shortage of substitute teachers.
LHS senior Tay Andrews was recognized for his achievements in the classroom and the playing fields. Andrews recently signed to play football with the United States Military Academy at West Point.
“Tay is a shining example on the football field, basketball court and in the classroom and has high expectations of himself,” said Christina Courson, Executive Director of Communications and Community Services for LISD.
Also recognized were the Common Sense Schools promoting digital citizenship to students. Honored by the board were AB Strawn Elementary Principal Dr. Benjamin Grijalva and Misty Hinckley, Clear Fork Elementary Principal Rebecca Leonard and Julie Paczinsky, and Bluebonnet Elementary School Principal Belinda Vasquez and Aubrey Simons.
Courson was honored for her recent award from the Texas School Public Relations Association for 2021. Courson received the Crystal Commendation for Marketing Campaigns for 2021.
The Gear Up For success Job and College Fair will be April 16 from 12-8 p.m. at Lockhart High School.
The 50 Lions Who Can Cook event will take place on Friday, April 1, from 6 to 9 p.m.
It was the last board meeting for Adam Galvan, Assistant Superintendent of Operations and Technology for Lockhart ISD. Galvan has been selected as the Chief Technical Officer for Aldine ISD.
“The district is certainly in a better position because of you,” Estrada told Galvan.