At its Nov. 4 meeting, the LISD Board of Trustees approved compensation adjustments for hard-to-fill positions, began a discussion on the 2022–23 academic calendar and amended Board policies regarding internal committee appointments and Citizen Comments at Board meetings. 

The Board also recognized outstanding students and staff and heard from campus leaders at Leander High School as part of the Spotlight on Learning.  

View the agenda here and the video here.  

Board adjusts compensation for hard-to-fill positions  

We’re facing staffing shortages in several crucial areas, which is putting a strain on our campuses (Instructional Assistants, Special Education) and student support services (Custodial, Child Nutrition Services, Transportation). In an effort to help meet these challenges and offer greater support to our current staff members, Trustees approved amendments to the 2021-2022 Compensation Plan with an emphasis on supporting staff retention and enhancing recruitment efforts.

These adjustments will be funded by a transfer of $2.5 million from the workers compensation fund balance and the ability to charge indirect costs to the Child Nutrition fund. We pay into worker’s comp fund balance to pay claims over the course of the year. Because we are understaffed in these positions and are paying out fewer claims, we have a surplus to use for the direct benefit of our staff members.  

Adjustments include:

  • Expand $250 referral stipend to include high needs positions in Custodial, CNS, Instructional Aides (currently offered for Transportation only).
  • Add $250 sign-on stipend for new hires for high-needs positions in Custodial, CNS, Transportation, Instructional Aides.
  • Implement Auxiliary market adjustments identified in Spring 2021 (effective November 1, 2021).
  • Authorize one-time, lump-sum payment (retention stipend) to ALL employees ($600 for all employees with an additional $400 to high-need custodial and Child Nutrition Services positions) to be paid in December 2021.
  • Authorize one-time, lump-sum $1,000 payment (recruiting/retention stipend) for high-need custodial and Child Nutrition Services positions to be paid in last 2021–22 paycheck.

“I think ultimately my biggest concern is making sure that hourly rate is one that is fair to our staff and to our community,” Board Vice President Gloria Gonzalez-Dholakia, Ph.D. said. “Hopefully when these stipends are paid out, we will have done our market assessment and can make salary adjustments (to further support staff) at that time.” 

2022-23 Academic Calendar discussion begins, community and staff surveys on tap   

We need our community’s input as we begin the process of putting together the 2022–23 academic calendar. We’ll be seeking input and feedback from our community over the next month according to this timeline: 

  • Community surveys Nov. 8–29, 
  • Consult with principals Nov. 9, 
  • Holding community listening sessions Nov. 29–Dec. 2,
  • 2022–23 calendar draft presented for Board consideration at the Jan. 13, 2022 meeting, 
  • Potential Board approval at the Jan. 27, 2022, Board meeting.

“I get it… we say Winter Break and Spring Break, and those are all great and we want to have breaks,” Board President Trish Bode said. “But also how are we supporting the teachers, how are we supporting students? How are we helping parents as they’re managing schedules and how do we make all that work together?”  

According to the state of Texas, a school calendar:

  • Requires teachers to work a minimum of 187 days,
  • Requires school districts to provide at least 75,600 minutes of instruction,
  • Allows districts to create a plan for flexibility with school start date, and
  • No school on Memorial Day.

Trustees adopt revised Board Operating Procedures regarding Citizen Comments, advisory committee appointments 

The Board adopted updated language related to internal committees that serve the Board in an advisory capacity and also approved an updated process for the three-minute allotment for Citizen Comments at regular Board meetings.  

The new procedures include:

  • When more than 30 speakers are signed up to speak, the individual time allotment is reduced to 1.5 minutes;
  • The sign-up sheets for Citizen Comments will be available at the LISD administration building and online from noon the day before the meeting until noon the day of the meeting;
  • After the sign-up deadline, speakers will be notified via email of their speaking order and the amount of time they will have to address the Board; and
  • Current LISD students will be placed at the top of the speaking order during Citizen Comments.

COVID-19 numbers continue to improve, vaccine clinic for ages 5-11 set for Saturday at LEO    

We’re continuing to get good news on COVID-19 cases across the district. Our daily case rate is below six, down from a high of more than 50 per day in September. At the Board’s request, the administration studied additional mitigation and resources to address ventilation and filtration systems and is recommending the district maintains its current filtration systems through the rest of the year.

In addition, the district will host a free vaccination clinic for ages 5-11 on Saturday, Nov. 6 at the LEO Center.  No appointment is necessary and all are welcome.

Counseling Services continues to support students, staff     

Our counseling staff works every day to support our students and our campuses, especially over the challenging circumstances of the last two years. The whole child approach to student mental health means focusing on ways to directly connect students to mental health resources, including: 

  • Increase access to free/low-cost mental health support for students and families,
  • Increase proactive and preventative behavioral and emotional support services for early identified students,
  • Mental Health Minute video series,
  • Second Step in PreK through fifth grade,
  • A Google site with staff resources,
  • Community partnerships with Bluebonnet Trails (Williamson County) and Integral Care (Travis County) for case management service,
  • Partnerships with Mobile Outreach Team (Williamson County) and Mobile Crisis Outreach Team (Travis County) if a student is experiencing a mental health crisis, and
  • Texas Child Health Access Through Telemedicine partnership that works with hospitals to provide telehealth and tele-psych services.