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Parents reveal bussing woes, LISD approves several expenditures

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By Leopold Knopp

In its first meeting of the calendar year Jan. 14, the Lewisville ISD Board of Trustees approved several expenditures and maximum prices for bond projects.

Before board action was discussed, the meeting began with several speakers, including four who expressed extreme displeasure with LISD’s bus service. Parents told stories of their kids needing to spend hours on the bus, buses coming late and resulting in tardy and absent marks and conflicting messages as to which busses students were supposed to be on in the first place. As bussing was not on the agenda, the board could not deliberate on the topic.

Over action items and the consent agenda, the board approved guaranteed maximum prices of $45.9 million for the new career center included in the 2017 bond package and just over $1 million for exterior lighting improvements, also included in the bond package. The board also approved a $50 incentive program for referrals to the child nutrition department, with Amarak, the district’s food service provider, citing difficulty filling 30 currently vacant positions.

The board approved its consent agenda, which included approving $73,000 in expenditures for a continued dual credit partnership with the North Central Texas College system and an $85,000 fee to accounting firm Whitley Penn, LLP, to perform an audit for fiscal year 2019.

However, one item that was pulled from the consent agenda merited significant discussion at the end of the meeting – a proposal for financial depository services. Board members Jenny Proznik and Tracy Scott Miller both requested the item be pulled for discussion. The services would have been provided by Wells Fargo, which Miller expressed concern about given the consumer scandals the bank has been involved in since 2015. Proznik asked about the vetting process and whether or not another bank could provide the service.

Miller requested to postpone the project indefinitely, but it did pass.

With the 86th Texas Legislature underway, Proznik delivered an update on the board’s legislative agenda and priorities. LISD trustees and officials have publicly expressed frustration with the state’s education funding model several times over the past few years, and Proznik said the board would be giving regular public updates on how it felt the legislature was going at every meeting during this legislature and potentially into the future.

“It is important to be aware of what they do down in Austin, because you think it doesn’t affect you but I can guarantee you that it does, because nothing affects you more than public education,” she said. “Your child is your greatest emotional investment, and your home is your greatest financial investment, and they are tied to the public school area in which you reside.”

Proznik said she was encouraged that newly elected house speaker Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton) listed education funding reform as his top priority. The Texas House proposed a budget that includes a $7 billion increase in school funding just a few hours before the board met Monday evening.

The board also received annual updates on its gifted and talented program and Lewisville ISD Education Foundation’s activities. LEF awarded $423,350 in 2018, including $212,750 in scholarships, according to executive director Connie Pelphrey.

The LISD Board of Trustees meets every month, most often on the second Monday, at 6 p.m. in the Lewisville ISD Administrative Center in Lewisville, with open session usually beginning at 7 p.m. The board also has several informational meetings throughout a given month. These meetings are open to the public.

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