Hearing set on LISD tax hike
The Lockhart Independent School District Board of Trustees decided on Monday evening to hold a public hearing next month to discuss a proposed tax increase and the LISD budget for the 2004-2005 school year.
The board approved a “published rate” totaling 1.6137, or a $0.1483 increase above the 2003 rates. This proposed rate serves to cap the tax increase the
board can request. Although the final tax proposal may be lower, it cannot be higher, according to the presentation given by Tina Knudsen.
The public hearing to discuss this issue will be held at the Lockhart High School Cafetorium on Aug. 23, 2004.
In more pleasant finance business, the board approved an across-the-board cost of living increase for all LISD employees. The increase, approximately a 3 percent raise for all employees, will bring the district in line with the area’s average pay scale, according to HR Director Teresa Ramirez, and will be granted to all district employees, with the exception of Superintendent John Hall.
A recent rash of nearly 45 recent resignations announced by Hall has left administrators scrambling to fill positions in preparation for the coming school year, which begins next month. In an effort to fill the void, the board approved the employment of 21 employees, and the creation of several more, including an Assistant Superintendent for Instruction and a third assistant principal for the high school. Further, the board opted to reinstate a Migrant Recruiter, who under specific federal funding, will assist the district in recruiting, assessing and educating the children of migrant workers.
In response to a complaint leveled by a district employee with the Texas Workforce Commission, the board authorized Hall to enter into mediation in an attempt to settle the complaint. As the issue was discussed in an executive session, specific information regarding the nature of the complaint and the negotiation was not readily available at press time.
In other business:
A series of personal tragedies suffered by a high school teacher last year prompted several LISD teachers to request that the board allow them to “donate” personal time to assist their colleague in her time of need. The board unanimously agreed to allow the donations.
Projects at the high school and junior high campuses near completion, and are scheduled to finish at or under budget prior to the first day of classes. The board approved an additional phase to the project, which will involve the construction of two canopied walkways. Weather delays have slowed the construction of Bluebonnet Elementary, but the district’s engineer, I.T. Gonzales, is confident the delays are recoverable, and said he expects the project to be completed on schedule next spring. With regard to this project, which to date is 25 percent complete, the board approved a contract bid from Clarence Cullen Co. for installation of drainage systems, wastewater, retention ponds and street construction.
Navarro Elementary principal Susan Masur reported on this year’s summer school program, which successfully advanced 133 of 135 students. The junior high and high school programs were equally successful. Though summer school is available now to only those students who have failed or are behind in credits, the board introduced the possibility of reexamining the program to allow for students who wish to finish classes early or to explore courses of interest that might not otherwise be available because of limited schedules.
At the request of Tony Knight, the boys’ head basketball coach, the board convened to a special session to discuss renewal of Knight’s existing contract. After the session, the board opted to take no action toward renewing the contract, which expires at the end of the coming school year.
The board approved the purchase of a variety of equipment including sporting goods and tools for the high school’s Auto Tech department. Construction continues throughout the district.