During its Nov. 30 meeting, the Leander ISD Board of Trustees agenda included:
- Spotlight on Learning: Laura Welch Bush ES
- Board Recognitions
- Approval of Resolution to Create Leander ISD Police Department
- Strategic Plan Formative Review: Impactful Family Engagement
- Vouchers for Private Schools Removed from House Bill During 4th Special Session
- Paying Respects to Former Trustee Don Hisle
Spotlight on Learning: Laura Welch Bush Elementary
“5 Houses & 1 Home.” That’s what Laura Welch Bush Elementary students, parents and staff showcased as part of the school’s housing system. The houses are divided into the following traits – Courage, Perseverance, Integrity, Respect and Friendship – and then students across grade levels rally together to help bring these traits out in each other. Way to shine bright, LWB Stars!
Special thanks to the Tarvin Elementary announcements duo of Adhav and Aubree for helping celebrate stand-out individuals and accomplishments around #1LISD.
The Board recognized the following:
- State Marching Band Finalist
- State Cross Country Medalists
- American Education Week
Board Approves Creation of Leander ISD Police Department
The Board approved a resolution establishing the Leander ISD Police Department. This resolution comes after months of pursuing the safest and most secure option to meet the requirement of placing an armed security officer at each campus, as directed by the passing of House Bill 3 in the 88th Texas Legislature’s regular session.
“The safety and security of our students and staff is the district’s top priority,” said Board President Gloria Gonzales-Dholakia, Ph.D. “This is an area in which LISD already excels, and I’m confident in the vision set forward, one that keeps culture and relationship-building at the forefront while ensuring a safe and innovative learning environment.”
During the Nov. 30 meeting, the Board also approved an amendment to the current 2023–24 budget to provide funding for 10 Single-Role Marshals and administrative positions, including the Chief of Police.
These actions allow the district to take initial steps in immediately bolstering on-campus security presence with the marshals – in addition to the contracted School Resource Officers (SROs) already in place at each high school through partnerships with the Leander and Cedar Park police departments and the Travis County Sheriff’s Office.
It will also allow LISD to be able to work toward the application to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) in the months ahead in order to become an authorized police department.
Once the police department is established, LISD can begin hiring its own School Resource Officers (SROs) and moving forward with the long-term vision laid out in the Aug. 24 meeting.
It’s important to note that armed security is only one aspect of this house bill. LISD will continue to maintain current safety protocols in place, including weekly door audits and standard response protocol drills. Additional security projects are in the works, including force-resistant film for ground-level windows and windowed doors, storage function door latches for interior and portable doors, digital mapping of LISD buildings for emergency responders, additional cameras at all levels, and exterior fencing.
- Nov. 9, 2023: LISD Continues Pursuit of In-House Police Department in Response to HB3
- Sept. 7, 2023: Good cause exception approved for House Bill 3 compliance
- Aug. 24, 2023: Next steps in addressing House Bill 3 Safety & Security Requirements
Strategic Plan Formative Review: Impactful Family Engagement
Throughout the 2023–24 school year’s Board Meeting calendar, LISD will present a formative review of one goal within the five-year Strategic Plan and the District Improvement Plan. In this meeting, district administrators reviewed the Impactful Family Engagement goal, one focused on engaging our diverse community by fostering positive relationships through reciprocal communication and collaboration.
Strategies to strengthen trust, shared responsibility and respect form the roots of these engagement efforts.
“The Long-Range Plan – and the expanded Long-Range Planning Committee – is a great example of listening to the community,” Trustee Trish Bode said. “We’re continuing to be intentional in looking at how we can do this better, and I’m excited to see that work reflected in other district committees and engagement efforts.”
Deepening campus-family connections through increased partnership and committee opportunities has helped align #1LISD with a united purpose and passion.
Vouchers for Private Schools Removed from House Bill During 4th Special Session
Now in the fourth special session of the 88th Texas Legislature, new funding for education remains at a standstill.
Earlier in November, a Texas House of Representatives education funding bill – House Bill 1 – had private school subsidies, also known as vouchers or Education Savings Accounts (ESAs), removed after an amendment successfully stripped them from the bill. This action reflected the LISD Board’s resolution and priorities for the special session. The bill was sent back to committee.
We want to thank the Leander ISD community for their continued advocacy and support of Texas public schools. Contacting your local lawmakers to prioritize public school funding makes a difference.
“We traveled as a group down to the Texas Capitol and had a student, Isaac, share their experience in special education and the ways they were able to use public schools to get what they needed,” Vice President Anna Smith said. “It’s so powerful to hear from a student impacted by their local school system. This brought parents, students, disability groups and trustees together to fight for public education.”
Continued discussion around funding for school safety is expected over the coming days. This special session ends Dec. 7.
- Oct. 26, 2023: Legislative Committee Provides Special Session Update
- Oct. 12, 2023: LISD Superintendent Advocates for Public Schools
- Oct. 5, 2023: Board Approves Updated Legislative Priorities for October Special Session
- Sept. 21, 2023: Legislative Committee Shares Update Ahead of Anticipated Special Session
- May 25, 2023: Legislative Update
- April 27, 2023: Legislative Update
- Feb. 23, 2023: Legislative Update
Paying Respects to Former Trustee Don Hisle
On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the Leander ISD community, we share our condolences to the family of Don Hisle, a former Leander ISD trustee for 23 years, who passed away Nov. 26, 2023. We will remember Hisle for his service to the school district and to the Leander Educational Excellence Foundation (LEEF). During his time in LISD, before retiring as a trustee in 2018, the district grew from 8 schools to 42 schools and from less than 10,000 students to nearly 40,000.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests friends, family, and community members to consider honoring Don Hisle’s memory by donating to the LEEF, where he served over a decade.