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Longview ISD Board of Trustees discussed the proposed budget for the coming year, approved an aggressive salary bump for teachers, and passed a strongly-worded resolution against all forms of racism during their regular meeting Monday, Aug. 10th.

Board talks balanced budget, OKs raise for teachers

Mon Aug 10, 2020

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Longview Independent School District is projecting a balanced General Operating budget of $90.2 million for the 2020-21 fiscal year.

During their regular meeting Monday, Aug. 10th the LISD Board of Trustees got their first look at a proposed district budget for the coming year, which calls for property tax cuts and significant state revenue from their public school charter partnerships.

LISD Chief Financial Officer Mr. Joey Jones said if the proposal receives final approval at the Aug. 26th special meeting the total proposed budget revenue is about $90.2 million, which is about an $8.3 million increase from the 2019-20 budget. The total proposed expenses are about $90.2 million.

The revenues are a mix of local, state, and federal funds for operations during the 2020-21 fiscal year.

Jones told board members that "73 percent of the proposed budget is for the district's instructional programs."

"The increase in the budget mostly allows for improved instructional services, not limited to salary increases, classroom technology, campus professional development, and International Baccalaureate certification," he said.

Jones said the budget as currently presented to the board "is a complete picture of next year" and that potential disruptions related to COVID-19 "will be handled as they present themselves".

The proposed maintenance and operations tax rate is $.9664 and the interest and sinking tax rate is .4730 cents for a total tax rate of $1.4394 per $100 valuation. The tax rate is a decrease from the current rate, which is $1.4431 per $100 valuation.

Superintendent Dr. James Wilcox praised Mr. Jones and his team for their excellent work in developing this proposed budget "in the face of unprecedented circumstances."

"Of course, like with so many things at this point, we are working to make the best decisions possible with the information that is available," he said. "Everything is subject to change in accordance with the direction of federal, state, and local authorities."

Click here to download the proposed 2020-21 Longview ISD Budget.
 

Teacher Raises

Board members approved an aggressive pay structure adjustments following the market value recommendations from the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) Pay System Maintenance Review.

Presented to the board by Dr. James Hockenberry, Assistant Superintendent of District Services, the measure calls for an increase of 3 percent of midpoint. The increase amounts to over $1 million total for teachers and staff.

LISD trustees chose from three different models suggested by TASB, of various ranges.

With this measure approved, Dr. Hockenberry said Longview ISD would maintain and likely increase its status as employing the highest-paid teacher scale in the East Texas area. The district average is the highest of any public school system in the region.

"These are extremely challenging times for everyone, and public schools in Texas are asking teachers to go above and beyond during these challenging times with many providing multiple instructional approaches simultaneously," he said. "As a district, we feel it is critically important to show how highly Longview ISD values our teachers and staff."

Dr. Hockenberry said more details about the pay increases would be released by the Human Resources department in the coming days.

Click here to download the resolution and related documentation.
  

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Resolution Against Racism

Board members also approved a resolution regarding racism and injustices from racism. The resolution strongly condemns any and all acts of racism, prejudice, persecution, and the wrongful prosecution of all people.

"Longview ISD board members declare that the lives of Black and Brown students and community members matter and have value, that the Board is committed to continually addressing systemic racism towards ethnically diverse students, and the Board and will continue to prioritize and target the academic achievements of all students," the resolution states.

Citing the district's intentional and proactive approach to ensure access for the best academic programs and offerings for all Longview area students, the resolution unequivocally states that LISD is committed to "relentlessly pursue improvements to policies, programs, and practices in order to eliminate systemic inequities, ensure educational success for every racial, ethnic, and demographically diverse group of students, and enrich the lives of all children in Longview ISD."

Dr. Wilcox thanked LISD Board President Mrs. Ginia Northcutt and all the trustees for their work in developing the resolution.

"It's as simple as our district motto: 'Believe in excellence for ALL,' and that is exactly what we are trying to do here  [...]  provide the absolute best opportunities for every single one of our students," he said.

Click here to download the complete resolution.
 

Elections Agreement

Board members also approved a revised order of election for the LISD Board of Trustees to Districts 2 and 4.

Gregg County and Longview ISD will conduct a joint election on Nov. 3rd. The regular date of May 2nd was postponed following the proclamation issued from Gov. Greg Abbott on March 18th.

Early voting by personal appearance will be from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Oct. 13-30 at the Longview Community Center, Greggton Community Center, Elderville Community Center, Stamper Park Resource Center, and Broughton Recreation Center

Terms for Place 2 trustee Ava Welge and Place 4 trustee Ginia Northcutt are expiring, with both members planning to run for re-election.

Mrs. Northcutt drew no opponent, but local attorney Brett Miller has filed to run against Mrs. Welge in Place 2.

Trustees are elected to serve three-year terms.

Click here to download the revised election order.
 

In other business...

During the course of the meeting, the LISD Board of Trustees also approved a 2020-21 Agreement with SeeSaw Children's Place for after-school care; Property/Casualty Comprehensive Insurance Coverage for 2020-21; Board Time Use Tracker for the July 13th regular meeting; the 2020-21 Longview ISD Employee Handbook; an Interlocal Agreement with the City of Carrollton; official minutes of the July 29th special meeting; T-TESS Appraisers for 2020-21; Budget Amendment No. 12; and Board Policy Update 115.

Board members also received information on the 2020-21 COVID-19 Back-to-School Plan, and the 2019-2020 Exit Report.
 

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. Sept. 14th.

Due to public health protocols currently in place, the public will not be admitted into the trustees' boardroom. The meeting will be streamed online at LISD.org/BoardroomLive.

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