2017-08-11 / Front Page

Lampasas school board renews insurance, software license

BY DEREK MOY
DISPATCH RECORD

The Lampasas Independent School District Board of Trustees met Monday night to approve a large consent agenda and to speak with their attorney in closed session about the petition for detachment/ annexation.

The regular meeting was fairly short, lasting just 14 minutes until the closed session began. In those 14 minutes, board members approved the renewal of property and casualty insurance, a purchase of Chromebooks for Lampasas High School and renewal of the SKYWARD finance and student software license.

In renewing the district’s auto, property and casualty insurance with TASB Risk Management Fund, the district saw an overall increase in premiums of $4,548 from last year’s $153,061. The increase is due largely to current market conditions and an increase in claims statewide, according to information provided to trustees.

The high school will now provide Chromebooks to students in 10th through 12th grades as part of its 1:1 technology initiative. The 750 laptops, which run an operating system by Google, cost $266,137.

To fund the purchase, the state’s instructional materials allotment will cover half, and the district’s general operating fund will cover the remaining half. The laptops are scheduled to be purchased in September, inventoried and then distributed later during the school year.

SKYWARD is the district’s data software system. The renewal fee is $63,149 for one year.

In other matters, trustees set Aug. 28 at 6 p.m. for a public hearing on the budget and proposed tax rate for 2017-18. The proposed rate of $1.43 per $100 property valuation is the same as last year’s tax rate. That $1.43 includes $1.17 for maintenance and operations, and 26 cents for debt service.

Trustees also approved the commitment of unrestricted funds available in the 2016-17 fiscal-year budget. The board dedicated a total of $6 million, with $3.5 million committed to Lampasas Middle School construction projects and $2.5 million for instructional technology.

The amounts do not necessarily mean the district will spend that much, and the amounts can be amended.

Several budget amendments were approved with a net effect of $9,755 to the adopted budget. The expense was offset by revenues received from several LHS activities and the Quarterback Booster Club.

Trustees also OK’d the Lampasas Central Appraisal District budget, which grew 11.89 percent due to salary adjustments and building maintenance.

In other matters, Amy Davis – an interventionist at Taylor Creek Elementary School – submitted her letter of resignation. And Sarah Chavez-Guthrie was hired on a probationary contract to teach at Taylor Creek.

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Kevin Bott told trustees that August has been a period of professional development for LISD staff. Over the course of several days, presentations will be made on a myriad of topics for educators.

Bott also announced that curriculum instructional technologists in the district have been relabeled as “instructional specialists.” At least one will be assigned per campus to help staff incorporate technology into their classrooms, among other duties.

Chief Financial Officer Shane Jones noted turnover was high this year at some campuses, including the high school. He also said it is getting harder to find qualified bus drivers, and that some mechanics have taken up driving.

“Our pay is comparable to some of the districts around in transportation; it’s just getting harder to get the CDL, and the day is [broken] up,” Jones said. “You can be through in the morning at a relatively decent time, but it’s hard to leave any other job and get to the bus barn at 2:30 p.m.

“Getting a CDL anymore is a challenge – the physical requirements, the training requirements,” he added.

The closed session to consult with legal counsel lasted 35 minutes and did not end in any action taken by trustees.

After the meeting, trustees held a budget workshop.

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