During its April 13 meeting, the Leander ISD Board of Trustees agenda included:
- Spotlight on Learning: Faubion ES
- Review of Bond Oversight Committee Process & Membership
- Amended 2023–24 Budget Assumptions & Parameters and Update on Budget Development Process
- Approved Instructional Materials for 4 Courses
- Approved 2023–24 Hazardous Routes Recommendations
Spotlight on Learning: Faubion ES
We kicked off our LISD Board meeting with students and staff from Faubion Elementary during Spotlight On Learning. They brought to light their student ambassadors, the voice and choice in student clubs, as well as their inquiry-based learning in Exploratorium.
It was great to see Panther Pride on display!
Review of Bond Oversight Committee Process & Membership
The Board received a review of process and membership of the Bond Oversight Committee (BOC). In the event the district passes a bond – most recently Prop B in 2021 that included technology, and then before that in 2017 and 2007 – those newly authorized dollars are then subject to oversight by the BOC. This committee reviews the status of capital projects, bond expenditures, project schedules and the timelines of bond projects. The committee also evaluates any proposed changes to the scheduled project scope of work to the voter-approved bond program and communicates with the Board of Trustees as necessary.
One recent example of the re-allocating of authorized bond funds is with Elementary School 30. At the elementary level, the 2017 bond outlined funds for three elementary schools: Larkspur Elementary, Tarvin Elementary and North Elementary – the 27th, 28th and 29th elementary schools, respectively. Because of available bond savings in the 2017 and 2007 bonds – combined with the sustained enrollment growth in the northern part of the district – the BOC brought to the Board in June 2022 the recommendation to use some of that money to build ES30, scheduled to open in Fall 2024 near Devine Lake Park near the intersection of Bagdad Road and San Gabriel Parkway in Leander.
Committee Chair Jon Lux described the level of detail the BOC goes through in order to make prudent choices with taxpayer money, including analyzing how things are priced, how the district decides a supplier or contract, and ensuring the bidding process is done in accordance with the district’s procedures.
“We’re asking all of the same questions you would ask if you were going to buy a car or a house,” Lux said. “‘Are you going through all of the different options? Have you looked at everything?’ We look at it as our own money.”
Before serving as a member of the Board, Trustee Francesca Romans served on the Bond Oversight Committee and shared this unique perspective of having that first-hand experience.
“That committee goes over everything in great detail, looking at charts showing the status of current projects down to the dollar of what was being spent and how long the project was taking. We had access to everything – from the Facilities and the Finance departments – to see what was going on,” Romans said. “And this provided a community voice in the process.”
The committee is made up of residents within the district who are not employed and do not have a contract with the district.
On the topic of bond savings, it’s important to note that these are authorized dollars from previous bond elections, but they are not sold bonds, meaning that they are not incurring interest or fees. The district has a practice of not selling bonds until funds are needed for a particular project.
Amended 2023–24 Budget Assumptions & Parameters and Update on Budget Development Process
Following an in-depth update of the budget development process underway, Trustees approved amended budget assumptions and parameters as the district continues to build the 2023–2024 budget.
- 3% pay increase for staff, up from the original 2% parameter
Each year, the district starts with a 2% pay increase as the baseline assumption. As the budget development process works its way through the spring, the district and the Board look at every opportunity to increase this percentage.
- Maintenance & Operations (M&O) tax rate of $0.9344 and Interest and Sinking (I&S) tax rate of $0.33 for a combined total 2023 tax rate of $1.2644.
Fluctuation to the tax rate estimate is seen in the M&O tax rate based on current estimated property values. A portion of the M&O rate – the Maximum Compressed Rate (MCR) – is reduced each year based on property value growth.
Note: The current 2022 total tax rate is $1.2746 – M&O of $0.9446 and I&S of $0.33.
- Student enrollment of 43,543 based on the moderate growth model in the latest demographic update.
This reflects a 120-student increase because of the opportunity to add four additional PreK-3 classrooms above original projections.
- Budget parameter of 3%, the level of deficit approval.
This is a decrease from the original 4% parameter. As the district has made efforts to close the gap between projected budget costs and the actual realized budget costs, administration felt recommending this decrease was appropriate.
- Recapture estimated to increase to $70+ million
- Property value growth based on 15%. For comparison, 2022 values increased by 27%
- Average daily attendance rate of 94%, reduced from 95% in 2022–23
Legislative changes to how schools are funded coming out of the 88th session could have a direct impact on this work-in-progress budget. For a full list of the amended changes, please see the posted attachment.
In a preview of recruitment and retention efforts being built into the 2023–24 budget – to be presented in full at the May 11 meeting – the district is exploring longevity pay, which would reward employees for years of service with LISD. The district is also considering an employer contribution match program for certain supplemental retirement plans.
“Longevity is a compensation approach each Trustee has talked about a lot,” Board President Trish Bode said. “We’re excited to continue this discussion on how to reward the outstanding staff we have in the district who make the choice each year to stay with LISD.”
Previous Budget Development Updates:
- March 9, 2023 – Approved Special Education Stipend & Supplemental Pay Increases for 2023–24 Budget
- Jan 12, 2023 – Approved Initial Parameters for 2023–24 Budget
Instructional Materials Approved for 4 Courses
The Board approved the recommendations for the purchasing of new instructional materials for the following courses:
- AP Calculus AB & BC
- AP U.S. History
- African-American Studies
- Mexican-American Studies
This came after a months-long process that involved LISD teachers working hand-in-hand with district administrators throughout the research and selection process. Input and feedback was then gathered from staff, parents, students, and community members through virtual and in-person opportunities earlier this spring.
“The number of people the district had look at this – 70 District-wide Educational Improvement Council (DWEIC) members, having it available on the website for a review period with more than 300 views, and 35 members from the Community Curriculum Advisory Committee (CCAC), which included students – shows me that this was a transparent process that truly sought feedback from our community,” Trustee Christine Mauer said. “And all of that was on top of the collaboration between district administrators and the teachers who actually teach these classes to narrow down the selection and bring forward a recommendation.”
Two additional courses – American Sign Language I–IV and Chinese I–IV – are also going through this selection process for 2023–24 and will be brought before the Board at a future meeting.
Visit the Instructional Materials Selection page to learn more about the process the district goes through each year for a rotating set of courses and subjects.
Approved Hazardous Routes for 2023–24
As part of the consent agenda, the Board approved the district recommendations for Hazardous Routes for 2023–24.
After completing its yearly evaluation of bus routes, the recommendations include removing the bus service at the middle school and high school level for one neighborhood code – NBCD 3985 in the Maya Vista subdivision. This neighborhood – within the “Not Eligible for Transportation Zone,” or NETZone, for families living closer than 2 miles to the school – had previously received a bus route due to a “hazardous” designation. In re-evaluating the route this year, the addition of a neighboring subdivision created a new walk path to the campus. As a result, it no longer meets the “hazardous” threshold established in the rating matrix.
Additional information on this topic was included in the March 23 edition of Board Briefs.