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LISD approves pay plan

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By LPR Staff
Editor/POST-REGISTER

After months of grappling and negotiation, the Lockhart Independent School District Board of Trustees finally approved a pay plan for district employees on Monday evening.
Early this year, the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) performed a survey of district salaries with the intention of helping the district prop

erly align employee pay rates. Over the course of several months, errors and omissions in the report have been corrected, and the final version of the survey was delivered to the board on Monday.
“This report includes the changes that have been requested by the board since July 24, as well as an adjustment in a pay raise for approximately 15 employees,” said Finance Director Tina Knudsen. “If it is approved tonight, we will take steps to correct the pay rates and issue checks to those employees that have been underpaid before the Christmas break.”
The major bone of contention in the survey was a calculation of pay raises from the “midpoint,” a function of the district”s tiered pay grades. The board had been under the impression that the 3-percent raise was calculated across the board, and demanded that correction prior to approval of the survey.
According to Knudsen, the total cost of the changes in the survey will be an additional $4,067 annually.
In other business, the Board heard a report from Brad Pfluger, the district”s architect, in regards to proposed improvements at Lockhart High School.
As the population of Lockhart continues to grow, the district is attempting to expand the high school to accommodate up to 1,800 students. The plans for development, which will take several years to complete, according to Pfluger, will likely require a bond election to fund.
“Completing everything in this “master plan” will cost in the neighborhood of $40-$50 million,” Pfluger said. “Building a new campus with the same accommodations would cost around $65 million.”
Pfluger said much of the “master plan” for the high school would require the destruction and rebuilding of existing structures on the property, and possibly moving the tennis courts and the Cub House to the property across Lion Country Drive from the main campus.
“The first thing you have to do is have a survey of the property that you have,” he said. “After that, you can plan how to best use that property, and determine what amenities can be moved off the main complex.”
Pfluger said if the district plans to begin upgrading the high school in the near future, it would be wasteful to complete major repairs, such as roof replacement and HVAC repair at this time.
“If there are buildings that are going to be demolished and replaced,” he said, “it doesn”t make sense to put a lot of money into repairs now.”
The soonest the district could hold a bond election to begin construction at the high school would be November 2007.
The Board also entertained a public hearing regarding the district”s Academic Excellence Indicator System scores for last year.
According to Curriculum Superintendent James Rabe, the district is closing in on earning a “recognized” status based on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test scores of the students.
“We are solidly acceptable in Special Education, and our drop out rate is exemplary,” he said. “Our number of students that require remediation is well below the state average.”
He noted most of the district”s other scores are either acceptable or recognized, and the faculty at all levels is working on improving the scores further.
“Right now, we”re working on knowing what you have to teach and how you have to teach it to get the kids past the basic competency test,” he said. “There is a special problem in math and science at the secondary levels, in that it bridges several years instead of being an accumulation of knowledge for one year.”
Rabe said there is debate at the state level as to whether to continue TAKS testing at the secondary levels.
In brief board news:
The trustees considered adding funding to next year”s budget to cover the cost of purchasing student textbooks for ACC dual-credit classes at Lockhart High School. Upon completion of the classes, participating students will have earned at least three hours of transferable college credit, a gain to the students that LHS Principal Larry Ramirez said justifies the approximately $30,000 cost.
The board heard a report from representatives of the Central Texas Sustainable Indicators Program (CTSIP) that indicated that Lockhart”s population will boom, possibly up to tripling in the next ten years.
They agreed to invest in improvements at the Lockhart High School baseball field, some of which will be donated by a private citizen. The improvements include expansion of the dugouts and batting cages and the spreading of crushed limestone on the driveway.
The board also discussed improvements and changes to enrollment in the Advanced Placement and ACC dual-credit courses.
They also recognized several students and parents, including the LHS Freshman Football Team, the Bluebonnet Elementary School Science Fair winners and several parent volunteers from Navarro Elementary.
The Lockhart ISD Board of Trustees normally meets on the fourth Monday of each month in the Lockhart High School Conference Center at 6:30 p.m.

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