The Board of Trustees submitted a 2020–21 attendance zoning scenario for discussion at upcoming public hearings, approved the LISD Education Foundation Plan of Action and considered updates regarding budget and new program development at its April 4 meeting.
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Trustees submit 2020–21 zoning scenario for discussion at public hearings
The process for adjusting attendance zones for schools in the 2020-21 school year hit another milestone with the Board selecting Scenario D to be presented at two community meetings on April 8 and April 10. Feedback collected from these meetings, along with feedback captured online through Let’s Talk, will be presented to the Board at the upcoming April 18 Board meeting.
With Danielson Middle School, located across from Glenn High School, to open in 2020, LISD has been discussing adjustments to the attendance zones since January 2019 with a deadline of late May for announcing the changes.
The latest zoning scenario continues to focus on keeping student groups together from middle to high school, while keeping larger groups of fifth-grade students together as they transition from elementary to middle school. The scenario moving forward to public comment, Scenario D, includes moving all students in the Rutledge Elementary attendance boundary from Stiles to Henry middle schools. This causes HMS to expand to 1,500 students but keeps more students together from elementary to middle and middle to high schools.
“Acting on community priorities continues to be our focus during this process,” Trustee Gloria Gonzales-Dholakia said. “Scenario D addresses many of the topics we’ve been urged to consider, and I look forward to hearing more from our stakeholders at the community forums next week.”
For more information about the Leander ISD attendance zone adjustment process, please visit www.leanderisd.org/msaz.
Board approves plan to unify LEEF, Viper Nation
Trustees approved a community-led plan to name the Leander ISD Educational Excellence Foundation (LEEF) the district’s sole foundation with a move to create academic booster clubs across the district.
Representatives from LEEF and the Viper Nation Education Foundation (VNEF) have been working since Spring 2018 to create a single, districtwide foundation after the Board of Trustees heard concerns regarding equity and legality of two foundations.
“To our volunteers who served through these discussions, thank you for the grace and dignity you handled yourselves through this process,” Board President Aaron Johnson said. “I applaud the conclusion of the work and appreciate everyone who contributed to serving the students, teachers, staff and schools of Leander ISD.”
The LISD administration will work with VNEF and other community members to create equity with multi-campus academic booster clubs across the district. Because current booster club guidelines are specific to individual activities and to single campus organizations, LISD will review and update guidelines for the 2019–20 school year.
New programs, possible budget priorities on the horizon
Trustees discussed a list of community priorities for new programs and possible magnet schools, including the addition of an orchestra program.
The budget development overview and program advisory committee (PAC) report gave Trustees a glimpse of programming options recommended for implementation in upcoming school years, as well as costs to consider in future budgets.
Pending budgetary constraints, the community led PAC recommended the Board consider:
- adding middle school elective options with additional STEM electives for the 2020-21 school year;
- implementing UIL A+ Academics for all elementary and middle schools at a $110,000 annual cost;
- starting an orchestra program;
- expanding athletic offerings at middle school, costing approximately $594,000;
- adding International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (MYP) at schools to align with current offerings at elementary and high schools, costing approximately $180,000; and
- continuing research for magnet schools or academies to expand school choice for families, balance school enrollments, and minimize need for future, large new schools.
These priorities are dependent on implementation plans and funding, both of which would come into focus in the coming months as the Texas Legislature finishes the biennium budget.
“We always pay close attention to budget constraints to ensure efficient use of our funds,” Trustee Pamela Waggoner said. “Nevertheless, it is heartening to see that sound fiscal management and strategic future program planning will continue to provide the very best educational environment for our students.”