LISD Board of Trustees approve 2020-21 budget
By Wesley Gardner
The Lockhart school district Board of Trustees at their Monday night meeting approved a budget for the 2020-21 school year totaling $67.1 million that includes the purchase of school supplies and Chromebook laptops for every student.
Superintendent Mark Estrada said the measures were aimed at ensuring every student was well-prepared heading into the school year.
“At a time when so much is out of our control, the district leadership team and the Board of Trustees decided we would focus on the things we could control to build resiliency for our students and district to ensure success in student learning and growth,” said Estrada. “We are proud to support our students and families, especially during these difficult times.
“With these supplies, the technology devices, and the Lion Link internet services, we feel confident our students will be well-equipped for success.”
While the budget doesn’t include permanent pay raises for staff members, it does include an employee compensation package that will provide a one-time payment equal to one percent of the median for teachers, as well as a one-time payment equaling one percent of the mid-point for all other district employees.
The compensation package also included new health insurance options that officials said would provide greater savings and increased coverage compared to their current provider. Officials noted the total savings for in-network out-of-pocket maximums would be $3,900 for individuals and $4,800 for families, compared to $4,650 and $5,800 under the current plan.
“This year, our budget planning was greatly overshadowed by the ongoing pandemic because of the impact of COVID-19 on the economy,” said Superintendent Mark Estrada. “The impact remains to be seen, and much will be revealed in the upcoming legislative session.
“However, for the purposes of planning, the district leadership team and our Board of Trustees were careful to anticipate potential state budget shortfalls in the future, resulting in an even more conservative approach in its development and approval while still meeting the needs of our students and staff.”
In addition, the 2020-21 budget will add nine new positions for pre-K instructional aides, as well as five intervention teachers aimed at assisting students in kindergarten through the third grade.
Additionally, the budget includes investments in teacher leadership with the addition of four new instructional leadership positions, called “Lever Leaders,” at Plum Creek Elementary, a pilot campus for the school district’s shared leadership model. The budget also boosts the bilingual stipend with an increase from $4,000 to $6,500 to help the school district to remain competitive in recruiting bilingual teachers, a growing need in Lockhart and across Texas.