During its June 15 meeting, the Leander ISD Board of Trustees agenda included:
- Board Recognitions
- Board Adopts 2023–24 Budget
- Redesign of Reading Intervention to Raise Scores
- Review of School Naming Process
- Board Approves Instructional Materials for World Languages Courses
- Trustees Reorganize Board Officer Positions
We’re closing out end-of-year celebrations with achievements from our Career & Technical Education programs, specifically Journalism, along with medalists in UIL Academics, the Special Olympics Summer Games, Destination Imagination and Math Pentathlon.
Board Adopts 2023–24 Budget
Following months of planning and work to provide the resources necessary to support the #1LISD mission, the Board approved the general operating budget for 2023–2024.
Features of the $496.6 million budget include:
- Support for an estimated 43,500 students
- 88% of operating budget allocated toward payroll, including an across-the-board 4% of midpoint raise for all staff
- Increases to Special Education stipends and supplemental pay increases
- Continuation of a $15-per-hour minimum hourly wage
- Opening costs for Elementary School #30
- $57.9 million sent back to the state in the form of recapture
“We’re in a very solid fiscal position because of the planning by the district’s administrative team and this Board’s decision to not rely on proposed bills while the state legislature was in session this spring,” Board President Trish Bode said. “I know my frustration with the state’s current inaction in addressing changes to public school funding is shared among my fellow Trustees. While LISD remains competitive with the school districts in our surrounding area, our programs and operations will suffer without being fully funded.”
Budgets for the General, Child Nutrition, and Debt Service Funds are included in the official district budget.
2023–24 Tax Rate Proposals
To fund this budget, the tax rate is projected to be $1.2644, a $0.0102 decrease from the previous year. The final tax rate is scheduled to be adopted by the Board in August or September.
The projected tax rate decrease is represented in the state-required compression of the Maintenance & Operations portion of the tax rate. This decrease does not account for potential actions by the state during special legislative sessions.
As promised throughout the spring bond election, the Interest & Sinking (I&S) portion of the tax rate will remain flat at $0.33. The district will use these I&S funds to pay off debt, including using $35.7 million toward defeasance or refunding of issued debt to continue the district’s trend of paying off debt ahead of schedule. In fact, since 2015, LISD has saved more than $625 million by paying off debt early.
Previous 2023–24 Budget Development Updates
- May 25, 2023: Board Approval of the Employee Compensation Package
- April 13, 2023: Amended 2023–24 Budget Assumptions & Parameters and Update on Budget Development Process
- March 9, 2023: Approved Special Education Stipend & Supplemental Pay Increases for 2023–24 Budget
- Jan. 12, 2023: Approved Initial Parameters for 2023–24 Budget
Redesign of Reading Intervention to Raise Scores
Leander ISD plans to use a redesign of reading intervention strategies to optimize student outcomes in reading and minimize the loss of core instructional time. In achieving these goals, this redesign is committed to enhancing and protecting student services that are provided in addition to the standard grade-level curriculum and teaching (known as Tier 1 classroom instruction).
The redesign’s action plan includes boosts to professional learning and resources for staff. It also includes a change to staff structures, where the current titles of Supplemental Reading Program teachers and Dyslexia teachers will be merged into a new, combined Reading Specialist title. This move is intended to build capacity for student support, while maintaining the strong services our families have come to expect.
“By moving these positions under the ‘Reading Specialist’ umbrella, this might give some pause or have them think that we’re taking something away, but that’s not the case,” Trustee Christine Mauer said. “This title change comes with continued cross-training among teachers so more can provide these specialized services.”
Early intervention is key. Rolled out in phases, the first year will place added emphasis on kindergarten and 1st grade. Specifics outlined in this partnership between the Curriculum and Intervention teams for kindergarten and 1st grade include:
- The reading specialists mentioned above
- Targeted small-group instruction in classroom
- Explicit phonics instruction
- Professional Learning for all K–1 teachers
Review of School Naming Process
Elementary School #30 broke ground in May 2023, and with its scheduled opening in August 2024 comes the opportunity for the Board to name the building.
Based on policy CW (Local), the authority for naming schools lies with the Board of Trustees. The administration outlined next steps, which includes bringing forward a charter at a future meeting to further define the process for naming ES30, along with the potential of naming other facilities.
The policy currently outlines five naming criteria:
- Historical or geographical site or community
- Deceased, significant individual
- Local, state, or national historical event or place
- Significant state or national figure
- A person who has made a significant contribution to education in the district
Capturing community voice will remain central to the school naming process, which is projected to conclude toward the end of the fall semester.
“Through the last naming process of Carol Ann North Elementary, this Board prioritized a transparent process that incorporated our community’s input,” Board Secretary Anna Smith said. “The community truly had a voice in the process, and I look forward to continuing in the same fashion for future namings.”
Instructional Materials Selection Process: World Languages Update
The Board approved the recommendations for the purchasing of new instructional materials for two World Languages courses:
- American Sign Language I–IV
- Chinese I–IV
For American Sign Language, the selection includes a fully digital platform alongside an updated version of the current hard-copy version for both teachers and students. And for the Chinese courses, this selection will cover a digital platform, with hard-copy sets available for students as needed.
Earlier this spring, the Board approved four other instructional material recommendations. For these World Languages courses, the vendor Request for Proposal process shifted the timeline from that of the other courses.
As with the other courses involved in this year’s process, these World Languages courses followed the same steps over a series of months 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.
- April 13, 2023: Approved Instructional Materials for 4 Courses
- March 23, 2023: Instructional Materials Selection Process Update
- Jan. 12, 2023: District Seeks Community Input as Part of Instructional Resources Adoption Process
Trustees Reorganize Board Officer Positions
As part of its annual process to review and vote on its leadership positions, the Board named its officers.
- Gloria Gonzales-Dholakia, Ph.D., moves into the role of president. She previously served three years as vice president.
- Anna Smith moves into the role of vice president. She previously served as secretary since December 2022.
- Christine Mauer moves into the role of secretary, her first officer position since being elected to the Board in November 2020.
- Trish Bode remains a Trustee after serving for four years in the role of president.