LISD to offer all-day Pre-K


By LPR Staff

The Lockhart Independent School District Board of Trustees finally came to a concrete decision about the realignment of Lockhart”s elementary schools when the new Bluebonnet Elementary opens next year.
Perhaps the most significant change allowed by the realignment will be the availability of all-day pre-kindergarten (pre

-K) classes.
“Right now, we lose some because they have problems with transportation during the midday,” said Carver Kindergarten principal Barbara Bernal. “If we have them all day, we will be able to work with the more on language development, oral communication, math, and pre-reading.”
The qualification guidelines for pre-K classes will not change. Students will still have to be eligible for a free or reduced lunch to be eligible to attend pre-K.
Other, less significant, changes will also take place as a result of the realignment. Each of the existing elementary schools, Clear Fork, Plum Creek and Navarro, will continue housing Grades 1-5. Carver Kindergarten will still have kindergarten and pre-K only. However, the new Bluebonnet School will house classes from pre-K through the fifth grade.
According to assistant superintendent Phil McBride, only 155 students requested a transfer to the Bluebonnet campus at the beginning of the next school year.
“Another 250 students would need to be randomly assigned within the parameters needed to maintain ethnic and income diversity,” McBride”s report to the board said.
Under the realignment plan, each of the four elementary schools will be reasonably close in student population, and all will have room for growth.
In another step toward the opening of the new school, the board approved the employment of a principal for the school. Jesus Espinoza, who is currently employed in Del Valle, will take the helm when the campus opens this summer.
The board also voted to ask for bids on the district”s transportation contract.
The current contract with Durham Transportation, has not been re-bid since 1997.
“Effectively, we”ve been seven years in a five-year contract,” McBride said. While the board did not express any dissatisfaction with Durham per se, they indicated that a re-bid on the contract might make transportation pricing more competitive.
During the summer break, several campuses will be upgraded for more energy efficiency.
James Brown, an engineer with ESA Energy Systems Associates evaluated each campus and presented a plan to the board that he assures will save the district upwards of $70,000 each year on energy costs.
Brown”s plan includes replacement of several HVAC units at Plum Creek Elementary and Lockhart High School and an upgrade of several light fixtures at each campus. The estimated cost of the project is $605,000, a portion of which the district already has allocated in the budget.
In brief board news:
Assistant Superintendent James Rabe continues to work with the principals and administrators to develop a performance plan for the district”s TAKS testing. Rabe”s goal is to produce consistency in instruction throughout the district.
Superintendent John Hall suggested that the board look at a “flexible school year” program, which could reward high-performing students with additional days off from school.
The board considered re-opening swimming lessons at the Lockhart State Park during the summer.
They approved and announced an order calling for a general election and a special election on May 7, 2005.
The schools were given permission to sell a variety of surplus furniture an equipment.
The principals asked the board to change the bad-weather make-up day from March 28 to Feb. 21 so that students will be in class the day before Feb. 22 TAKS testing.
The LVN position at the LHS Freshman Campus was upgraded to an RN position.


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