District to consider bond for campus upgrades

The Longview Independent School District Board of Trustees approved looking into the possibility of calling a bond to improve facilities during their regular meeting Monday, Dec. 13th.

District to consider bond for campus upgrades

Mon Dec 13, 2021

The Longview Independent School District Board of Trustees approved looking into the possibility of calling a bond to improve facilities during their regular meeting Monday, Dec. 13th

Superintendent Dr. James Wilcox said the district has finalized a facility needs assessment, and the administration will move forward in planning to address campuses needs through a bond program. 

"Longview ISD is unique in that the majority of the district was built during a three-year period," he said. "This requires the district to monitor facilities and make updates periodically to maintain instructional capacity." 

One example Dr. Wilcox cited is the Longview High School campus, which is 47 years old and in need of updates. 

"Without attention to facilities, within the next ten years all of our facilities will require extensive repair at the same time," he said. "The district also needs a new facility to meet the demands of our early childhood programs." 

Longview ISD board members will meet in a series of workshops starting in January 2022 to look closer at the facility needs, and eventually determine if calling a possible bond election is the best course of action. 

However, Dr. Wilcox said the district would not be considering a bond issue where Longview ISD taxes are increased.

During the months of November and December, the district contracted with Dr. Don W. Hooper, from the Granbury-based Center for Quality Leadership, to complete a facilities assessment and help develop a master plan for potential improvements, repairs, and upgrades needed at Longview ISD. 

Some of the key findings from the Center for Quality Leadership include:

  • An Early Childhood Center is needed for LISD, and site acquisition should be considered to keep the high school from being landlocked as well as to accommodate the facility. This could be named the Mary C. Womack Early Childhood Center as a tribute to the former Longview teacher in whose honor the former Black high school was named prior to desegregation. 

  • The LHS Career Technology Education facilities and Early College High School programs are severely hindered by facility utilization availability.

  • Surveillance needs with security cameras and additional lighting for school safety and security at the Longview High campus.

  • Longview High School classrooms and learning environments need attention.

  • There are drainage issues throughout the district at all facilities.

  • Aging HVAC systems and aging roofs at all buildings.

Dr. Hooper and his staff presented several recommendations to the district, including building an indoor all-weather multipurpose center to accommodate academics, fine arts, and CTE programs, as well as athletics.

SAM-SATTERWHITE-headshotThe facility could be named the Sam Satterwhite Center in honor of the longtime LISD board member and businessman who passed away in 2020.

"Not only could [The Satterwhite Center] accommodate the needed programs for Longview High School, but it can also be a common gathering place for the community during certain functions," said Dr. Hooper, adding that a potential site for such a facility could be the approximately 180-yard practice field area near the stadium.

Dr. Hooper said this facility could "provide an all-weather marching field which can be shared with other sports including soccer, baseball, football, in this same facility."

"Additionally, CTE courses such as culinary arts can be relocated to this center," said Dr. Hooper. "The current Culinary Arts area is cramped and needs to be enlarged, but no space is available. This same new Culinary Arts area at the Satterwhite Center can accommodate community gatherings and banquets as well as school programs. Other CTE course offerings can be in this same facility."

Other recommendations from Dr. Hooper and his team include an expansion of the LHS cafeteria, a five-acre indoor/outdoor golf practice facility for student-athletes on the property across from the current athletic practice field, new dressing rooms at the baseball and soccer fields, and renovations to the Lobo Aquatics Center such as non-slip walking surfaces and an overall remodeling of the facility.

The safety, security, and health of the LISD was another important point brought forward, and Dr. Hooper suggested new camera systems, card readers, and lighting improvements for the LHS parking lot.

Similar upgrades were recommended for inside the campus, with improved directional signage for the high school hallways, extensive updates to the library, and renovations to the Little Theatre and Mickey Melton Center.

Please click here to download the complete report from the Center for Quality Leadership.

12132021-LHS-aerial
 

LISD earns highest financial rating

Once again, Longview ISD has earned the state's highest grade of "superior" in fiscal responsibility, representing over a decade of consecutive years the district has been so honored.

Wayne-Guidry-headshot-2021Dr. Wayne Guidry, Assistant Superintendent for Finance, told trustees that Longview ISD received an "A" on its financial rating with a score of 96, among the highest in the East Texas region.

"We strive to be accountable not only for student learning but to do so with cost-effective measures to make the most of our taxpayers' dollars," he said.

The Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST) was created by the Legislature in 2001 and was designed to encourage public schools to better manage their financial resources to provide the maximum allocation possible for direct instructional purposes.

Since the creation of the program, Longview ISD has received a superior rating almost every single year.

"It's a testament not only to the hard work of the Business Office staff but of the entire district," said Dr. James Wilcox, Superintendent of Schools.

The rating system scores school districts on 15 financial indicators, such as administrative cost expenditures, the accuracy of a district's financial information submitted to the Texas Education Agency, and any financial vulnerabilities or material weaknesses in internal controls as determined by an external auditor.

School districts are given a numeric grade for the indictors. The numeric grades, when totaled, correspond to a letter grade of A, B, C, or F. The letter grades correspond to the ratings "superior," "above standard achievement," "meets standard" or "substandard achievement."

Please click here to download the related documentation.


 

District welcomes transfer students

Board members approved accepting more than 600 non-resident students seeking transfer into the district, a marked increase from 2020.

Of the 603 students accepted into Longview ISD, 483 (or 80 percent) cited the educational opportunities at Longview ISD as their primary reason for transferring.

Superintendent Dr. James Wilcox said the transfers come from "in and around the Longview area," as well as from other East Texas communities like Tyler, Chapel Hill, Henderson, and even as far away as Nacogdoches.

"It's a testament to the quality education being provided by our excellent staff, our exceptional academic offerings, and the reputation of our students' achievements, that these families are choosing to enroll their students in Longview ISD," he said. "These aren't move-ins — though we certainly get quite a few of those each year — but these are residents of other communities, who are willing to drive to Longview for their children to attend our schools. That's a big deal."

Ms. Dolly Soule, Supervisor for the LISD Welcome Center, said attendance and discipline records "have been checked for all students."

"Principals have been given the information and the opportunity to make a recommendation on each student," she said.

Please click here to download the resolution and related documentation.


 

Energy Efficiency for Taxpayers

The board received a report on the district's ongoing Energy Efficiency Program.

meter-readDr. Guidry explained that in May 2021 the Active Revenue Creation project kicked off with a goal of returning $539,288-$613,673 to the district’s budget each year via sustainable energy-saving strategies.

"We're seeing preliminary savings of $77,444 through October, with multiple gas meters yet to report," he said. "From June to October, the district’s electric consumption dropped by 18.9 percent."

Energy consumption at the LISD administration building decreased by 47 percent, resulting in over $10,000 in savings, and Longview High School has seen a 29 percent decrease in consumption, resulting in over $23,000 in energy savings.

A large part of these savings are due to improved practices as well as facility improvements made during the summer months.

Please click here to see the full report.
 

Board OKs new support program

The board approved the expenditure of $50,000 for Texas COVID Learning Acceleration Supports to The Forum for Youth Investment (David Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality).

Dr. Craig, Coleman, LISD Chief Innovation Officer, said these funds "come directly to Longview ISD for the technical assistance allotted in TCLAS Decision 8A which was a grant awarded by the Communities Foundation of Texas through the Wallace Foundation."

"The Forum for Youth Investment — David Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality — will provide technical assistance for design and implementation, academic enrichment, and budget/operations for redesigning a strong summer program," he said. "This is a vetted provider by TEA who serves as the pass-through entity for these grant funds being received from the Communities Foundation of Texas."

Dr. Coleman said the total cost for the support is not to exceed the approved amount of $50,000.

Please click here to download the resolution and related documentation.
 

Color-Coded Alert System

Board members approved adopting a Color-Coded Alert System to help improve communication in response to infectious diseases.

Mr. Dennis Williams, Assistant Superintendent of Administrative & Pupil Services, said "the district has been extremely proactive in the quest to stop, mitigate, and control the spread of COVID-19 as well as other infectious diseases."

"The health and safety of our students and staff are of utmost importance to us, therefore various times will require various measures, protocols, adjustments," he said. "All changes are predicated upon the issues surrounding the Longview community. LISD has and will continue putting the safety of students and staff first in all decisions."

Please click here for more information about this report.

Color-Coded-Alert-System-1 Color-Coded-Alert-System-2 Color-Coded-Alert-System-3
 

SSC Contract Extension

STOCK-custodial-servicesThe board approved remaining with Service Solution Corporation (SSC) through June 2023 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.

Total cost for the contract extension is $2,998,972.

Click here to download the resolution and related documentation.
 

Financial Donations

Board members also approved: a donation of $3,000 from Wellness Pointe to sponsor the Lobo Live Radio Show; a donation of $2,684 from Daniel Feed, Inc. to support the CATE Meat Education Lab, a donation of $1,301 from Dwight and Ann Duncan to support the FFA Livestock Show; a donation of $400 from Randy James Hardware and Hardin Ace Hardware to support the Leroy Romines Memorial Tournament; a donation of $200 from Frith Family Partnership to support the Leroy Romines Memorial Tournament; a donation of $141 from Gregory and Stephanie Payne to sponsor two official FFA jackets; a donation of $100 each from Terry and Julie Cook, James and Sarah Sheppard, and Heartsway Hospice of Northeast Texas to support the Leroy Romines Memorial Tournament.
 

In other business...

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

  • RECEIVED updates from Dr. Craig Coleman, LISD Chief Innovation Officer, on the district's Office of Innovation and charter partners. Trustees were also presented the Partner Monitoring Document and monthly evaluation from Mr. John Wink, Coordinator of Policy and New Schools;

  • APPROVED additional District Appraisers for 2021-22: Ms. Sonya Jones (Foster), Ms. Jacqueline Matthews (Judson), Ms. Donna Clark, Ms. Kimberly Shumaker, Ms. Carla Williams (Longview High), Ms. Faith Newhouse (Ware), Dr. Arthur Brown, Ms. LaKesha Williams (Forest Park), and Mr. Harold Hillis (CATE program);

  • 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 Nov. 8th Regular Meeting;

  • APPROVED extending the lease of district property on 3300 Airline Road;

  • APPROVED an Interlocal Agreement with Region 10;

  • RECEIVED the Nov. 2021 Financial Statement;

  • APPROVED Budget Amendment No. 4; and

  • APPROVED Board Policy Update 118.
     

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. Jan. 10, 2022.

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