During its May 25 meeting, the Leander ISD Board of Trustees agenda included:
- Spotlight on Learning: Steiner Ranch Elementary
- Board Recognitions
- Board Approval of the Employee Compensation Package
- Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council Brings Practical Solutions to the Table
- Progress on the District’s Leading Measures
- Legislative Update
- Leander ISD Welcomes New Principals at Akin and Rutledge Elementary
Spotlight on Learning: Steiner Ranch Elementary
Steiner Ranch Elementary showcased how they engage, support and inspire lifelong learning through innovation labs, STEAM carts, a school garden & Hour of Power. Way to go, Stallions!
We’re celebrating the end of the school year with some of the district’s top talent in Athletics and Career & Technical Education, including the achievements in Robotics, JROTC and DECA.
Board Approves 4% Midpoint Raise for All LISD Employees
The Board approved a 2023–24 compensation plan with pay raises of 4 percent of midpoint for every staff member in the budget. This raise would be reflected in employees’ first 2023–24 paycheck.
Note: The approved plan includes language to allow for one-time payment options should certain parameters be met, along with language to allow for a further increase to the base pay should the legislature provide enough funding to do so.
“We’re an organization where 87% of our day-to-day budget goes toward payroll and benefits. And as it should, because the incredible work of the teachers and staff in Leander ISD lays the foundation for our students’ successes,” Board President Trish Bode said. “Should additional education funding come out of this legislative session, Trustees have laid out a clear path – and desire – to take up the compensation topic again and look to direct more money to our staff.”
As part of the Board’s Legislative Priorities, Trustees have been encouraging legislators to increase education funding to cover costs of inflation since the last adjustment to school district funding four years ago.
With this 4-percent increase at midpoint, every teacher would receive an additional $2,385 per year. The starting salary for teachers would rise to $55,655. For non-teacher-scale positions, the increase is calculated in a similar fashion: the raise percentage is applied to the midpoint of a scale, and then everyone in that scale receives the same dollar amount raise.
Continue reading to learn more about the approved compensation plan.
Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council Brings Practical Solutions to the Table
The Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council (SSAC) presented key issues and recommendations resulting from the group’s work this year. Originally formed in 2020–21, SSAC offers students an opportunity to share their voice and give input to help shape the future of Leander ISD.
This year, SSAC expanded to include junior and senior representatives from all 7 LISD high schools. A total of 49 students were invited to attend monthly meetings. These student leaders broke into smaller teams to tackle the problems that they identified related to the student experience in LISD:
- Flex Time Improvements, including launching a mobile app for students – developed and engineered by students.
- Mental Health
- Adulting and Soft Skills
Superintendent Bruce Gearing described the work with SSAC as a testament to trusting in student empowerment.
Each Trustee around the dais praised the students’ efforts to refine and build on their recommendations from a year ago and move things forward in an actionable way.
“You talked about components of ‘adulting,’ and you’ve demonstrated that tonight: you see a problem, and you start working on the solution; you engage stakeholders; your solution is being worked on in an environment that can be implemented,” Trustee Sade Fashokun said. “You’re not just talking about the problems all day long – they’re actually being implemented. Thank you so much for your hard work.”
Progress on the District’s Leading Measures
Building on formative review presentations of past board meetings where district administrators outlined the work happening in each of the five goals laid out in the Strategic Plan, at Thursday’s meeting, Trustees received a leading measures update.
During these quarterly updates, quantitative and qualitative data relating to the district improvement plan and the Superintendent’s Evaluation provides Trustees with a better picture of where LISD is at in a variety of different focus areas.
Trustee Anna Smith described being in her elementary school daughter’s student conference this week and being able to see first-hand how the work Trustees have done at the Board-level has made its way to students.
“She was able to pull her own student website and track the progress since third grade,” Smith said. “Most importantly, she was setting her own goals. Students love to see how well they’re doing and be able to advocate for themselves and where they need help.”
Chief of Staff Sarah Grissom, Ed.D, credited the work of campus leaders and teachers who have embraced the tenants of the Strategic Plan and put them in action at their school.
Members of the Legislative Committee provided an update as the current legislative session nears the finish line. Lawmakers adjourn Monday, May 29, and the governor’s veto period concludes June 18.
As things stand – with anticipation of a high level of activity over the remaining days of the session – the remaining bill to increase education funding has garnered concern as substitutions have changed the original intent of the bill.
In addressing an increase to funding for teachers and staff – a listed priority of this Board – there are different methods the legislature can take to accomplish this. One approach receiving attention is to boost the basic allotment, the amount guaranteed to every school district for each student based on the Average Daily Attendance (ADA). The basic allotment was last adjusted to $6,160 in 2019. Reflecting on the changed economic environment in the four years since, some would like to see this number increased to match inflation.
Trustees and districts across the state will undoubtedly pay close attention to how the dust settles.
LISD Welcomes New Principals at Akin Elementary, Rutledge Elementary
Leander ISD is pleased to welcome two new principals – Amanda Wilson at Akin Elementary and Jessica Shock at Rutledge Elementary – after the Board approved the recommendations at Thursday’s Board meeting.