LISD leadership gets nod for contract renewal
By LPR Staff
After a lengthy executive session, the Lockhart ISD Board of Trustees accepted recommendations regarding nearly 20 administrators on Monday evening.
According to an unofficial statement from board president Susan Brooks, the extensive private talks, which took more than two hours during the board”s regularly scheduled
meeting on Monday, were necessary to discuss recommendations from LISD Superintendent Dr. Jose Parra, which could have impacted the district”s leadership at the highest levels.
Among those slated for discussion were the principals at each campus, most department heads and the upper-level administrators at Central Office. After the discussion, the board resumed regular business and took action to accept Parra”s recommendations, over the objections of some of the board members.
“I thought that we had voted [at a previous meeting] to give Dr. Parra the authority to make these decisions regarding personnel,” Trustee Tom Guyton said prior to casting his vote. “And now, here we are, making the same decisions again.”
Guyton said he has faith in Parra”s ability to lead the district, but had concerns about some things discussed in executive session that he could not, and did not, agree with. He did not elaborate on those concerns, but said he thinks the district has a talented group of administrators and his disagreements were not in relation to the individuals being recommended for contract extension.
Trustee Timoteo “Tim” Juarez, Jr., also expressed concern, based not on the personnel, but on the district”s policies, which he said may not mesh with mandates handed down from the state.
Juarez, Guyton and Trustee Juan Alvarez each voted against the recommendations offered by Parra, while the remaining four trustees voted in favor of the measure, which was meant to approve offering contract extensions to the assistant superintendents, department directors and campus principals.
In other business, the trustees hear a comprehensive report from the high school-level counselors regarding the progress the departments are making in helping students become involved in post-graduation education.
One of the district”s key goals is helping all district students pursue post-high-school education. That goal, counselors said, is one they begin working with students at the freshman level to achieve, and that is supported throughout their high school careers.
M.L. Cisneros Freshman Campus counselor Bill Hernandez said his primary goal is to work with the students at his campus on their four-year plans and on dropout prevention, helping the students to stay in school and start working toward their higher education goals early.
Once students reach Lockhart High School, the counseling staff and career counselor Trischa Hess take over, working with students and parents to hone those plans into attainable goals.
Additionally, according to Hess, a large portion of her time is spent helping students to obtain financial aid to pursue higher education. Her figures reflect that 35 percent of LHS students, on average, receive some form of scholarship upon graduation.
However, all counselors admitted there are improvements they hope to make to their systems, which will enhance student success in the future. Among changes they hope to make are open house changes that will step up parent involvement, and encouraging all students to fill out and return their applications for local scholarships.
Also, the district”s Chief Financial Officer Tina Knudsen gave a report regarding the state of the district”s general fund finances.
Knudsen said one of the key factors in the district”s financial status is the average daily attendance of students, which has increased from the estimates brought forth by her department during the budget process for this school year.
Those increases, she said, may put the district in the position to have funds left over at the end of the budget year that they did not plan for. She suggested the board consider applying those additional funds toward capital improvement projects and campus maintenance plans.
She also suggested if district spending and tax collection continues in the manner it has for the last few years, there is a possibility that taxpayers could see decreases in their tax bills in future years.
The Lockhart ISD Board of Trustees traditionally meets on the fourth Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. in the Conference Center at Lockhart High School. The meetings are open to the public and are web-cast on the district”s website at www.lockhartisd.org.