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Lockhart ISD trustee set to step down

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By Wesley Gardner
LPR Editor

Lockhart ISD Trustee Brenda Spillmann announced her resignation from the district’s board of trustees at Monday night’s meeting.
The move will leave a vacant seat for District 2 until the November 2020 elections. 
“I regretfully announce this decision due to some personal matters that need my full attention currently in my life,” said Spillmann, who was first elected to the board in 2008, serving three terms that included stints as vice president from 2012-15 and president from 2015-18.
Prior to volunteering on the school board, Spillmann volunteered in the community for “Little Dribblers,” as well as in her children’s school parent-teacher association. Both of her sons, Ryan and Tyler, attended and graduated from LISD schools. Seeing an opportunity to positively impact even more children, Spillmann ran and was elected to the LISD Board of Trustees. 
The Lockhart school district has grown from 4,500 students the year she was elected to 6,200 in 2020. During her tenure, the district hired its first female superintendent and passed the 2014 bond package that included significant facility expansions to deal with rapid student growth.
Trustees during that time also instituted student learning targets of 1.5 years of growth each year in reading and math. Most recently Spillmann and the rest of the trustees voted unanimously to install wireless internet towers across the district to ensure all students have internet access. 
Board of Trustees President Steve Johnson touted his time spent with Spillmann on the board.
“I am proud to have served alongside Brenda Spillmann on the LISD Board,” said Johnson. “Her leadership came at a critical turning point for the district.
“She really focused on doing what was best for children and making sure the district leadership and staff had the support they needed to be successful in preparing our Lions for success.”  
In other business, trustees approved a employee compensation package for the 2020-21 school year.
While next year’s budget doesn’t include any pay scale increases for teachers, it does provide a one-time payment equal to the amount of one percent of the median pay rate for teachers and one percent of the median pay rate for all other district staff members.
“This budget year is uniquely impacted by the global pandemic,” said Superintendent Estrada. “With the impact of COVID-19 on the economy, the financial impact will be felt significantly in the next biennium.
“At a time when organizations are already planning for decreases in state funding due to the crisis, it was important to the leadership and the Board to provide what support we could to our employees who greatly deserve it while ensuring the decisions we make now do not result in the need to reduce our workforce or institute pay cuts due to the expected financial fallout.” 
District officials noted the one-time payment to staff will equal what would have been a one percent raise without placing strain on the district the following year if the budget could not sustain it.
Also included in the package is a new health insurance opportunity through the Texas Schools Health Benefit Program (TSHBP) that will offer greater savings and increased coverage compared to what’s currently being offered through the Teacher Retirement System (TRS). 
Officials noted the total savings for in-network out-of-pocket maximums would be $3,900 for individuals and $4,800 for families through the TSHBP rather than TRS.
Additionally, the compensation package also adjusts the salaries of specific employees identified by the Texas Association of School Board as being paid less than 95 percent of the market rate.

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