LISD awarded ‘superior’ finance rating


Lockhart Independent School District has received a “Superior Achievement” rating for financial accountability from the Texas Schools Financial Integrity Rating System (FIRST) program. The rating was announced at the LISD Board of Trustees meeting on Monday.

Texas Schools FIRST monitors the cash flow of school districts. The purpose of the program is to en

courage school systems to improve resource management and keep up with the rapidly changing rules regarding school finance. School systems are judged with a system of 21 indicators.

According to a presentation made by Finance Director Tina Knudsen, LISD received a positive score on all of the indicators, and by doing so earned the “Superior Achievement” rating.

The trustees questioned Lockhart High School principal Charles Red about the effectiveness of the new “closed-campus” rule. One of the board members asked for a review after seeing high school students off campus during the lunch hour.

Red indicated that he and his staff are carefully monitoring the students. Under the current rules, only seniors are allowed to leave the high school campus for lunch. According to Red, the staff has stopped sophomores and juniors both leaving campus, and returning after lunch.

“We’re checking cars as they leave,” Red said. “If we have the personnel and the time, we around town during lunch to check on them.”

Red indicated that the crackdown on lunchtime truancy is working.

“We caught 31 off campus last week,” he said. “We caught another 30 the week before that. As they find themselves getting caught, we think that the behavior is going to slow down.”

After a nearly hour-long executive session, the board decided to fill several open staff positions. Among the newly hired is James Rabe, who has been chosen to serve as Assistant Superintendent of Instruction, a position that Superintendent John Hall requested be created at the beginning of the year.

“I expect to be spending most of my time out of the office, at the schools,” Rabe said. Rabe’s responsibilities will include developing and implementing a Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test improvement plan, to help the district’s students improve their standardized testing scores.

In other business, the board approved improvement plans for the district as a whole, and for each campus individually.

The improvement plans were developed for each campus by committees of parents, students, educators and administrators. Information gathered from each campus will help the district to develop a plan that will allow it to offer the highest-quality education to the students.

While addressing staffing, the board voted to reassign Judy Cathey, who currently serves as the secretary for both the superintendent and the board.

Cathey referred to her reassignment as an opportunity for growth. She will become the district’s Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) Coordinator. The PEIMS system is program that the Texas Education Agency uses to monitor the progress of a school system, on both a district-wide and student-by-student basis. Cathey has been performing her duties as well as supervising the PEIMS system. During budget talks earlier this year, Hall asked the board to create a separate position.

In other business:

The board voted to allow the Caldwell County Appraisal District to sell a mobile home for delinquent taxes.

They approved revisions to policy manuals regarding non-school use of school facilities.

A lease agreement was approved for the property at 610 San Jacinto Street in Lockhart, which will continue to be utilized by the Caldwell County Appraisal District after the two entities separate on Oct. 1.

Construction is nearly 40 percent complete at Bluebonnet Elementary School. Contractors expect to meet the projected completion date of May 2005.


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