Trustees approve winter weather pay, hiring grant consultant

01162024 snow over Longview

During a special-called meeting Jan. 24, the Longview Independent School District board unanimously approved wage payments to all employees during the district’s Jan. 16-17 emergency closure due to wintry weather.

The resolution authorizes continued pay for all Longview ISD employees — both contractual and non-contractual, salaried and non-salaried — who were instructed not to report to work Jan. 16-17.

Dr. James Hockenberry, Assistant Superintendent of District Services, drafted the measure and explained that continuity of staff pay, "serves the interests of our staff and district community, as well as ensuring continuity of district staffing when schools reopen."

The authority to pay idled employees granted in the resolution is effective only for the Jan. 16-17 closure. Longview ISD closed all its campuses and offices Jan. 16-17 due to icy weather conditions.

Please click here to download the resolution and related documentation.

Consulting contract for federal grant

Later, board members unanimously approve a $80,000 consulting contract with Georgia-based consultant Dr. David K. Lerch to provide external monitoring and evaluation services for the district’s recently awarded federal Magnet Schools Assistance Program grant.

Mr. Scott Fisher, LISD Magnet Grant Director, explained that the contract with Dr. Lerch of Educational Consulting Inc. is "to ensure Longview ISD implements all requirements and activities outlined in the $15 million grant, which will provide funding over five years from 2023-28."

"The federal Magnet School Assistance Program (MSAP) grant, that the district was awarded for years 2023-28, requires the district to hire an outside consultant to serve as the external evaluator for the grant to provide assistance in the preparation of all required progress reports and to help ensure that the district is implementing all of the requirements and activities that were written into the grant," he said. 

Please click here to download the resolution and related documentation.

Clean audit for 2023

Trustees also received the financial audit report for the 2023 fiscal year.

Lufkin-based accounting firm Alexander, Lankford & Hiers explained that the district received "an unmodified opinion, with no significant deficiencies or material weaknesses in internal controls over financial reporting and compliance."

A "clean" audit is the highest possible designation, and it means that Longview ISD's financial statements were prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting standards and that there are no material misstatements.

The clean audit comes on the heels of Longview ISD's A rating from the Texas Education Agency's Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas.

Longview ISD also holds a AAA bond rating from S&P Global and an Aa2 bond rating from Moody's Investment Service Inc. The S&P rating indicates that bonds are of the highest quality and offer the lowest degree of investment risk. Issuers are considered extremely stable and dependable.

You can download the complete Financial Audit Report and the Year-End Financial Report for the 2023 fiscal year.

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. 12, 2024.

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