Board adjusts staff 'bonus' pay due to COVID

The Longview Independent School District Board of Trustees approved a series of amendments to the Longview Incentive For Teachers (LIFT) program during their regular meeting Monday, Nov. 8th. 

Board adjusts staff 'bonus' pay due to COVID

Mon Nov 8, 2021

The Longview Independent School District Board of Trustees approved a series of amendments to the Longview Incentive For Teachers (LIFT) program during their regular meeting Monday, Nov. 8th.

Dr. James Hockenberry, LISD Assistant Superintendent of District Services, said the purpose of these amendments is to provide a means by which the program can continue for the current school year, despite the complications caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

While the Texas Education Agency did not assign campus ratings or academic distinction designations to schools across the state, Dr. Hockenberry said enough data is available to calculate academic distinction designations using the state model and formulas for the 2020-21 school year.

As a result, the LIFT model calculations will be amended to include a slightly modified academic distinction designation model for the 2020-21 school year, and will add LISD's kindergarten teachers to the LIFT Performance Award Model starting in the current school year. In addition, Dr. Hockenberry said appeals will now be addressed on a case-by-case basis and in a timely manner, not by the formal application of the current guidelines.

Based on current calculations, the amount of LIFT incentive pay could be more than $3 million once award amounts are finalized in December. The district utilizes the LIFT program in addition to the Texas Education Agency’s Teacher Incentive Allotment (TIA) funding sources to make this possible for our hard-working education professionals.

Longview ISD awarded more than $2.6 million in LIFT incentive pay for achieving teachers around this time last year, with a few of the very highest-performing teachers receiving nearly $30,000 in their December 2020 paychecks.

The program is 100 percent funded through local funds from the fund balance, as approved by the LISD Board of Trustees. The amount of incentive pay for Longview ISD teachers has increased dramatically since the $350,000 awarded in 2014-15.

Longview ISD was ahead of the curve in December 2012, when trustees first voted to implement a performance pay system for middle school reading and math teachers. Designed to help close the achievement gap between low socio-economic and middle-income students, today the Longview Incentive for Teachers (LIFT) Pay for Performance Program includes three award models, and has proven instrumental in retaining high-quality educators.

Please click here to download the resolution and related documentation.
 

COVID-19 cases down

11082021-COVID-board-reportTrustees also received an update on current COVID-19 cases in the district from Mr. Dennis Williams, Assistant Superintendent of Administrative and Pupil Services.

As of today there are only 13 active student cases and only 5 active staff cases. That is less than 1 percent of the LISD community. In addition, 78 percent of the teachers and staff of Longview ISD are currently vaccinated

Superintendent Dr. James Wilcox said the administration will continue to monitor cases in the district throughout the holiday season.

"While this latest development is certainly encouraging, we will remain vigilant in making data-based decisions for the children and employees in our care," he added.

All COVID-related protocols are subject to change as directives are provided by governing authorities and/or health officials or as circumstances evolve. We will be sure to keep you informed on our district website, social media, and through all-calls/emails.

Click here to view the report presented by Mr. Dennis Williams.
 

Improvement Plans

The board also approved the 2021-22 District Improvement Plan as well as Campus Improvement Plans for all Longview ISD schools.

Each school year the principal of each campus — with the assistance of a committee — must develop, review, and revise the campus improvement plan.

Dr. Craig Coleman, LISD Chief Innovation Officer, said the purpose of this plan is to align goals, objectives, and strategies in order to improve student performance on the state’s student achievement indicators for all student populations, "as well as improve performance on any other performance measures for special needs populations."

"The plans include setting performance objectives, determining the resources needed to implement the plan, and setting timelines for reaching goals," he said.

Mrs-Latitia-WilsonMrs. Latitia Wilson, LISD Director of Planning & Analysis agreed, adding that the plan "serves as the blueprint for how the district and campuses will actually address the needs identified during the Comprehensive Needs Assessment (CNA)."

"The Texas Education Code also requires that the trustees ensure that the district and all campus plans be developed, evaluated, and revised annually for the purpose of improving the performance of all student groups," she said.

Please click here to download the resolution and related documentation.
 

Custodial Services update

Board members also received a presentation on custodial services from Mr. Dennis Williams, Assistant Superintendent of Administrative and Pupil Services.

Currently, the district contracts with Southeast Services Corporation (SSC) to provide janitorial services to LISD campuses and facilities. SSC employs 93 people and manages six additional employees who are Longview ISD retained employees, for a total of 99.

Mr. Williams provided a breakdown of the various benefits currently provided to custodial employees by SSC.

"If the district chooses to go with in-house services, decisions will need to be made on benefits for these employees," he said. "It is hard to determine what the cost would be, if the current SSC benefits were offered as a district."

STOCK-custodial-servicesThe latest proposed contract extension has a total cost of $2,998,972 and Mr. Williams estimated that initial start-up costs to bring custodial services back in-house would be at least $5 million.

"In addition, there are mitigating factors due to COVID-19 and the current economy," he said. "This includes supply chain disruptions, worker shortages, and additional PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) needed when custodians have to clean areas where an infected person was known to have been."

As this was only an information item, the board took no action at this time.

Click here to view the report presented by Mr. Dennis Williams.
 

Hudson PEP honored

Students, teachers, and families of Hudson PEP Elementary were also recognized for the campus being named a Top 5 elementary school in Texas by the U.S. News & World Report last month.

11082021-board-meeting-PEP

Hudson PEP Elementary is ranked 5th of 4,446 elementary schools in the entire state, and the only Top 10 elementary campus located in a largely economically-disadvantaged community. Not only that, but Hudson PEP was ranked the No. 2 magnet elementary in Texas, second only to the exclusive William B. Travis Vanguard Academy in Dallas ISD.

Mrs. Sue Wilson, Principal of Hudson PEP Elementary, lauded the excellent educators on her campus who help create such a loving and high-achieving culture of excellence.

"It is an honor to work with master teachers that strive to ensure each and every student masters the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills," she said. "The teachers are dedicated, our students are outstanding, and the parents/community work with us as partners in their child's education."

Click here to read the full article.
 

Financial Donations

Board members also approved: a donation of $4,279 from the Lobo Baseball Booster Club for supplies and equipment; donations of $1,500 each from Lightspeed and Huckabee & Associates to sponsor the 87th Post-Legislative Summit; a donation of $1,500 from Raising Cane's of Longview to sponsor the Lobo Live Spanish-language radio show; a donation of $1,000 from the Lobo Soccer Booster Club for supplies and equipment; a donation of $500 from Automotive Electronic Solutions to sponsor the LHS Film Club's participation in the FilmFest film festival in New York City; and a donation of authentic Japanese costumes valued at $350 from Stephen Lorenzo for the LHS Theatre Department.

Please click here to download the related documentation.
 

In other business...

During the course of the meeting, the LISD Board of Trustees also:

  • APPROVED the expenditures of $60,000 for the "Gaggle" software system. The software protects students and ensures their well-being by informing administrators of incidents of cyberbullying, self-harm, threats, or any inappropriate behavior taking place on district-issued devices and student emails. Funding for the software will come from Administrative & Pupil Services budget. 

  • RECEIVED updates from Dr. Craig Coleman, LISD Chief Innovation Officer, on the district's Office of Innovation and charter partners. Trustees were also presented a Quality Seats Analysis and Partner Monitoring Document from Mr. John Wink, Coordinator of Policy and New Schools, for the month of October;
     
  • APPROVED the expenditures of up to $205,000 for Texas COVID Learning Acceleration Supports to Engage 2 Learn. These funds come directly to Longview ISD from TEA who serves as the pass-through entity of funds from the U.S. Department of Education;

  • RECEIVED updates from Superintendent Dr. James Wilcox on recent Senate Bill 1444 concerning Health Care Legislation in the State of Texas as well as how it stands to impact employee benefits and the Teacher Retirement System;

  • APPROVED the allocation of 1,708 votes to be divided between Mr. Vance Freeman (834 votes), Mrs. Julie Woods (834 votes), and Mr. Anthony Tanner (40 votes) for the Gregg Appraisal District Board of Directors;

  • APPROVED the $185,721.64 purchase of Chromebooks and classroom computers for LISD Career and Technology Education. Start-Up Grant funds will be allocated for this purchase;

  • RECEIVED an update on COVID-19 cases, the district Safety Report, and Facilities Update from Mr. Dennis Williams, Assistant Superintendent of Administrative & Pupil Services;

  • APPROVED Minutes and Time Use Tracker for the Oct. 11th Regular Meeting and Minutes for the Oct. 25th joint board meeting;

  • APPROVED a review of Investment Policy and Strategies for 2021-22;

  • APPROVED the 2020-21 4th Quarter Investment Report;

  • RECEIVED the Oct. 2021 Financial Statement; and

  • APPROVED Budget Amendment No. 3.

 

For more info

Trustees usually meet in the boardroom of the LISD Education Support Center (1301 E. Young Street), but often set special-called meetings at various locations around the district. The next regular meeting is tentatively scheduled for 6 p.m. Dec. 13th.

For more information about the Longview ISD Board of Trustees please click here.