School Trustees take oath, waive student transfer fee
By Lauren Jette
The Liberty Hill ISD Board of Trustees welcomed two new members and a returning trustee, and recognized an outgoing trustee during a regular meeting Monday night, before accepting bond election results and waving the student transfer fee for another year.
New trustees Jeff Madison and Scott Lindquist, and returning trustee Shawn Roberts took their oaths of office and took their seats on the dais. All three ran unopposed.
Madison serves as CEO of Little River Healthcare, while his wife Ashley is a licensed occupational therapist. Together, they have four children who attend Liberty Hill schools: J. Paul, a high school sophomore; Henry, a high school freshman; Montgomery, a sixth grader; and Merrill, a 4th grader.
Lundquist operates ASP Clips, a family-owned business that sells fasteners to collision centers and repair shops, and is president of Liberty Hill Community League Basketball. He is married to wife Laura, and they have three children in the Liberty Hill school district: Trent, a sophomore, Kaiah, an eighth grader and Keira, a second grader.
Clay Cole was re-elected by trustees as Board President, while David Nix was selected vice-president and Mike Bowles as secretary.
Cole then took a moment to recognize the service of outgoing trustee Shawn Vickers, with a few words and a plaque.
The new board approved the consent agenda before turning to the bond election results.
Superintendent Dr. Rob Hart said 913 votes were cast, with 618 votes for the $35 million proposition and 295 against, for a 68 percent victory. The bond includes $29 million for a new elementary school in the Rancho Sienna subdivision and updates and upgrades to the agriculture barn on the Junior High campus, Liberty Hill Elementary School and Liberty Hill Intermediate School.
In other business, the Board voted unanimously to waive the student transfer fee for another year.
“We are still recommending to take transfers with no tuition fee,” Dr. Hart said.
He explained that the district gets more money from the state by using the attendance numbers, and Liberty Hill still falls below the threshold of funds that would require a district to give money back to the state.
“We are still well off that mark,” he said.
“As long as it continues to help us and not hurt us, it makes sense” to continue to waive the fee, Bowles added.
Also Monday, Human Resources Director Bobby Mabry presented additional teaching positions the district will need before the next school year.
At Bill Burden Elementary, another third grade teacher is needed.
The junior high has several positions, with two new coaches needed as the junior high athletic district is much closer around Liberty Hill than it has been previously, meaning coaches who were in charge of more than one team will be busier with more events each week during the sports seasons.
Mabry recommended a boys coach with a social studies certification and a girls coach, with flexibility on certification, to even out the coaching load.
Trustees asked if this means there is an increase in athletic participation, and Mabry said yes. There was a probability that junior high could add a third team to the major sports, in addition to the ‘A’ and ‘B’ teams they currently field.
Mabry said there is a need for a full time agriculture teacher at the junior high, in addition to a dance teacher.
“We surveyed students earlier this spring and had 92 young ladies express interest in a dance class,” Mabry told the Board.
This position would also help out with the high school dance team, where they expect to add a junior varsity dance squad next school year, he said.
Needs at the high school include a math teacher, who would also help with math labs and credit recovery and a part-time teacher for a Principals of Law Enforcement class in the Career and Technology Education program. Board members verified that all these positions would have a classroom space before approving the positions as presented.
In light of the bond being passed and construction starting this summer, the Board approved prevailing wage rates, which is the “minimum contractors can pay workers,” Dr. Hart explained.
“We don’t pay this, they work for the contractor,” he said of the list of wages for each job related to construction. The hourly wage list includes 33 different jobs, ranging from $10.28 up to $23.06.
The LEP Summer School schedule was approved by the board for June 6-29 from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday.
Curriculum Director Claudeane Braun presented the district and campus goals and performance objectives. This includes the goals set for each campus in the upcoming school year. Braun pointed out that these goals are loosely based on 2015 results because 2016 results won’t be released until August 8, but they like to present this information to the board before then.
“We’re doing very well,” she said, when asked to sum up the information.
The Board approved the goals, with Madison abstaining from the vote.
Braun also provided a report on two grants from the San Marcos Civic Foundation.
“Growth in the district, opening a new elementary campus, and staff changes result in LHISD needing additional teachers trained in dyslexia and reading interventions,” she said. “San Marcos Civic Foundation has supported the LHISD dyslexia program for many years and, fortunately, are continuing their support.”
A grant in the amount of $2,745 will allow Terri Michener to take Reading Readiness, Basic Language Skills, Metacognitive Skills, and Multisensory Grammar, while a grant for $6,600 will allow for training for Cathy Kieschnick, Crystal Harlow, and Stephen Openshaw in Reading Readiness and Basic Language Skills.
“These courses are the beginning of training to be Certified Academic Language Therapists. The training will take place in Austin at the Rawson-Saunders Institute. This is a rigorous multiple-year program,” Braun said “LHISD is not only thankful for SMCF’s funding, but also for the commitment of time and effort that the teachers are making.”
Trustees recognized participants of the Future Chef competition and the Culinary Throw Down High School team.
After reconvening from executive session, the board approved the following resignations: Lindsey Dodd, math/coach at high school; Deborah Gotcher, fourth grade teacher at Bill Burden; Ruth Hedges, ASL at the high school; Laura Montelongo, second grade teacher at Bill Burden; Galen Munger, social studies and coach at the high school; Joyce Peacock, special education at the high school; Pilar Pinkus, Spanish and coach at the junior high; Amber Richardson, math teacher at the junior high; Patricia Rodriguez, assistant SLP at Bill Burden and Michelle Wright, science teacher at the junior high.
New hires approved included: Jaycee Thompson, Agriculture teacher at the high school; William Reeder, social studies and coach at the junior high; Todd Johnson, social studies and coach at the junior high; Erica Collier, sixth grade teacher at the intermediate; Davina Hendrix, choir teacher at the high school and junior high; Julia Wright, second grade teacher at Bill Burden; Julie Covington, math teacher at the junior high; Gari Lord, math teacher at the high school; Michelle Gilpin, functional LifeSkills at the Intermediate; Mario Bye, high school principal and Deanna Bye, science teacher at the junior high.
The next board of trustees meeting is scheduled for June 20.