STOCK PHOTO - Student on playground

Coming at a cost of up to $76,000 total for all six campuses, funding for the purchase will come from IDEA-B Formula-ARP grant monies.

The Longview ISD Board of Trustees approved the purchase of sensory-friendly playground equipment for Bailey, Bramlette, J.L. Everhart, Johnston-McQueen, Ned E. Williams, and Ware elementary schools, during their regular meeting Monday, January 9th.

Mrs. Cindy Verhalen, LISD Director of Special Programs, said the district's elementary campuses "lack appropriate equipment for students with significant disabilities and those with Autism."

"Sensory play and sensory playground equipment allows for accessibility for children of all ages and abilities," she said. "Specialized equipment fosters the development of real-life skills through interactive play. Sensory playground equipment helps children develop problem-solving skills, express emotion, promotes empathy, and engenders lasting confidence."

Superintendent Dr. James Wilcox said this is part of the district's ongoing priority to "meet our children where they are, in providing the most beneficial educational experience for all the young people in our care."

Please click here to download the resolution and related documentation.

Alum receives national honor

The board and administration also recognized 2021 Longview High School graduate Mr. Cooper Mayes for receiving the American FFA Degree from the national organization for outstanding achievement in agriculture business, production, processing, or service programs.

Mr. Gary Krueger, Executive Director of Longview Educates and Prospers (LEAP), said the American FFA Degree is awarded to members "who have demonstrated the highest level of commitment to FFA and made significant accomplishments in their supervised agricultural experiences." 

"This accomplishment is a testament to this young man and his family's belief in bettering goodwill to man and society, and also his agriculture teachers for promoting Agriculture Education," he said. "Of the 850,000 FFA members last year, less than 1 percent of members attain this level of achievement."

One of the organization’s highest honors, the American FFA Degree is awarded at the National FFA Convention & Expo each year. Eligible members must have earned and productively invested $10,000 through a supervised agricultural experience program in which they start, own, or hold a professional position in an existing agriculture enterprise.

Recipients must also complete 50 hours of community service and demonstrate outstanding leadership abilities and civic involvement.

"Like so many of our programs here at Longview ISD, or Future Farmers of America students continue to perform at the highest levels," said Dr. Wilcox. "Not just during their time here, but as they continue their careers and educational goals. It's certainly no surprise to see Cooper receive this award, and LISD remains proud of his excellent work in the field of Agriculture."

Update on ESSER funds 

Dr. Wayne Guidry, Assistant Superintendent for Finance, told trustees that the Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services (RIPICS) plan was revised in December 2022 and the Use of Funds Plan remains as it was previously presented. It should be noted that the district’s total ESSER III total allocation was $19,666,123.

The purpose of the American Rescue Plan: Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER III) funding is for school districts to address the impact that COVID-19 has had, and continues to have, on elementary and secondary schools.

Dr. Guidry explained to the board that the American Rescue Plan (ARP) statute requires that local education agencies develop and make publicly available their plans for the use of funds after having engaged in meaningful consultation with stakeholders. This plan must be reviewed and revised every six months.

"The district conducted a needs assessment at the campus, in-district charter partners, and district level with input from students, parents, staff, and the community through direct communication, surveys, board meetings, and prior needs assessments to determine how its portion of ESSER III funds should be used," he said.

"Per that assessment, Longview ISD has written a plan and it is posted to our website. Should revisions to the plan become necessary, the plan will be updated and a revised version posted as well."

Click here to download the resolution and related documentation.

Superintendent's Report

During the Superintendent's Report portion of the meeting, Dr. Wilcox honored the LISD Board of Trustees as part of School Board Recognition Month, as Dr. James Hockenberry, Assistant Superintendent of District Services, presented award plaques, gift baskets, and student artwork to LISD board members, explaining that the theme this year is "Forward, Together."

Although showing appreciation should be a year-round process, Dr. Wilcox said taking advantage of the designated month "ensures that these important people receive some of the thanks they deserve."

"Our school board members are volunteers who shoulder critical responsibilities and often make difficult choices for our district, all without pay," he said. "Their goal is always focused on the future success of the children in our district."

Read the full media release here.

Other items in his report included the latest RAPTOR (Rapid Algorithmic Prototyping Tool for Ordered Reasoning) data from the Office of Innovation, as well as departmental reports from the LISD Office of Innovation and Community Relations. 

In addition, Dr. Wilcox discussed the TASB 2022-24 Advocacy Agenda, in addition to receiving updates from public school charter partners: East Texas Advanced Academies (ETAA), Longview Educates And Prospers (LEAP), and the Texas Council for International Studies (TCIS). 

In other business...

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

  • APPROVED a multi-year contract with Comprehensive Training Center to assist with the application of a 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) grant;
  • APPROVED Minutes and Board Time Use Tracker for the Dec. 12 Regular Meeting; and 
  • APPROVED Financial Statements as of November 2022.


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. Feb. 13, 2023.

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