Trustees expand bus access for student safety


According to state guidelines, students are only eligible to use the bus if they live beyond a two-mile radius of their school. However, Longview ISD is taking a more common-sense approach to safety, granting an exception for students forced to cross dangerous roadways in order to walk to their campus.

'Obviously these restrictions were set with the perspective of students walking to campuses in residential enclaves away from main roads, but that's not always the case,' said LISD Superintendent Dr. James Wilcox. 'What [this resolution] does is to offer a safer alternative to students having to cross high-traffic roadways like Loop 281 or Eastman Road.'

The resolution approved by LISD trustees during their March 21 regular meeting includes Bailey (formerly South Ward), Bramlette, Everhart, Johnston-McQueen, Ware, and Williams elementary campuses, as well as Forest Park, Foster, and Judson middle schools. Longview High School, with its campus surrounded on three sides by major roadways (Loop 281, Hawkins Parkway, and Judson) and the main entrance on high-traffic Airline Road is also included in the resolution.

Wayne-Guidry-headshot-2021Dr. Wayne Guidry, LISD Assistant Superintendent of Finance, explained that Education Code 42.155(d) allows the district to obtain supplemental state funding for transporting regular, otherwise ineligible students who live within two miles of their school but who may be subject to dangerous traffic conditions if they walked to school.

'The TEA handbook on School Transportation Allotments requires the board to adopt language providing the definition of hazardous traffic conditions applicable to the district and identifying the specific hazardous areas for which such funding is requested,' he said.

Dr. Guidry added that more information about this effort would be released to the campuses in the coming weeks. Families that are interested in having their students included can contact LISD Transportation at 903-381-2200.

Please click here to download the resolution and related documentation.

$2,500 early resignation bonus

Trustees later approved a one-time $2,500 early resignation bonus for full-time professional staff who meet the qualifications. Part-time professional employees are eligible for a one-time bonus of $1,250.

Dr. James Hockenberry, Assistant Superintendent of District Services, said this incentive payment is subject to all legally-required deductions.

'The Texas Education Code allows educators employed under a probationary, term, or continuing contract to provide notice of resignation without penalty, at any time up until 45 days before the first day of instruction of the following school year,' he said. 'In order to allow the district additional time to plan staffing for the 2022-2023 school year, LISD is offering a one-time incentive to eligible employees for their early notice of resignation.'

Dr. Hockenberry said this incentive is available to professional staff currently under contract. 'Professional staff' means employees currently on a Chapter 21 (or Non-Chapter 21) written employment contract.

However, the incentive is not available to professional staff members who have already resigned, who resign effective immediately, or who do not work until the last duty day of the 2021-22 school year.

To qualify for this incentive, resigning employees must provide notification in-person of their intent before 4 p.m. April 8, 2022. The notification must be a dated and signed letter of resignation addressed to Superintendent Dr. James Wilcox. The employee's resignation must be voluntary, unconditional, in a form acceptable to the Superintendents of Schools, and must state that it is effective on the employee's last duty day of the 2021-22 school year.

Resignation incentive forms will not be received by email, U.S. Mail, or fax. Employees who make late submissions will not be eligible for the incentive.

For more information about this program please contact Ms. Shalona McCray, LISD Director of Employee Relations, via email or call 903-381-2262.

Please click here to download the resolution and related documentation.

New desegregation plan

Board members also approved a new voluntary desegregation plan for 2022, in accordance with requirements set by the U.S. Department of Education’s Magnet Schools Assistance Program.

After the lifting of a decades-long federal desegregation order in 2018, Longview ISD developed a plan to ensure equitable access to education opportunities. Under the federal desegregation order, the district was required to submit reports and documentation to the Justice Department, and any changes to school attendance zones or campuses required court approval.

Trustees voted to continue the initial voluntary desegregation plan in April 2021, with the goal of developing a new plan for the coming year.

Dr. Craig Coleman, LISD Chief Innovation Officer, said the principal strategy used by Longview ISD is to prevent, eliminate, and/or reduce the isolation of minority students is through the establishment of and continuation of existing magnet and public charter schools.

'Longview ISD seeks to attract students to our district by decreasing minority group isolation and better reflect the make-up of our community,' he added.

According to state demographic data, Longview ISD is the most diverse district in the city, with 40 percent of student Hispanic, 35 percent Black, 19 percent White, and 2.1 percent being other races. According to the 2010 Census, the city of Longview is 56 percent White, 22 percent Black, 18 percent Hispanic, and 7.7 percent other races.

Dr. Coleman said that by bringing together students of different racial, socioeconomic, and family educational backgrounds — as well as making challenging, yet attractive curricular programming available to traditionally under-represented students — the district 'seeks to prevent minority group isolation and any loss of the gains it achieved while under the desegregation order.'

Please click here to download the resolution and related documentation.

Superintendent's Report

During the Superintendent's Report portion of the meeting, Dr. James Wilcox recognized the district's 2021-22 Teachers of the Year, and presented them with plaza bricks from the LISD Education Foundation.

The honorees are Ms. Brandi Patterson (Elementary Teacher of the Year) from Bailey Elementary and Ms. Dawn Moore (Secondary Teacher of the Year) from Foster Middle.

'Both of these teachers were selected by their peers for excellence in the classroom, as well as for their continued professional growth and development as educators,' he said. 'We are so appreciative of them, and the many other education professionals of Longview ISD who show such tremendous dedication to our community on a daily basis.'

Dr. Wilcox also recognized the LISD Community Relations department for receiving 13 state awards last month at the TSPRA conference in Round Rock.

'Winning these honors shows the high quality of professionals we have at Longview ISD, the commitment and excellence they show on a daily basis shines forth in everything they do,' he said. 'Not only do we — here in Longview — recognize it, but communications professionals from across the state.'

Financial Donations

Board members also approved:

  • donations of $500 from Charles Rader Funeral Home, $500 from Mayday Tower, $300 from Karoletha Stone, $25 from Fredna Harris, $25 from Jimmy Robertson, and anonymous cash contributions totaling $245 to sponsor charter bus transportation for the LHS Choir to perform at the Dallas Mavericks game;
  • a donation of $1,000 from First United Methodist Church of Longview to help fund the LISD Backpack Program;
  • anonymous cash contributions totaling $940 to pay for LHS Choir students to perform as 'Singing Valentines' at Bubba's 33 restaurant;
  • donations of $596.90 from Keebaugh & Co. and $150 from Cruz Landscape of Longview to sponsor shirts used by the LHS Welding team in State competition;
  • a donation of $500 from ABC Auto Parts of Longview to cover registration fees for the LHS Auto Tech Club to participate in the annual Skills USA national competition;
  • a donation of $500 from the Lobo Football Booster Club to purchase supplies and equipment for the LHS Track & Field program;
  • a donation of $500 from the Lobo Football Booster Club to the LHS Softball Booster Club for supplies and equipment;
  • a donation of $500 from the Lobo Football Booster Club to the LHS Baseball Booster Club for supplies and equipment; and
  • a donation of $100 from Bubba's 33 of Longview to help fund the LHS Jr. ROTC's annual Military Ball.

In other business...

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

  • APPROVED an amendment to the 2022-23 District Calendar that was approved last month. The amendment adjusts the calendar to include Monday, June 19, 2023, as a Juneteenth holiday for all LISD staff;
  • APPROVED Minutes for the Feb. 14 Regular Meeting and March 1 LISD/ETAA joint Board Meeting;
  • APPROVED certifying LISD Superintendent Dr. James Wilcox the 2022-23 Regional Advisory Committee for Region VII;
  • APPROVED the TASB Risk Management Fund Interlocal Participation Agreement;
  • RECEIVED the financial report for Feb. 2022; and
  • APPROVED Budget Amendment No. 6.

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. April 11, 2022.

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