LISD approves academic calendar

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By Leopold Knopp , Contributing Writer

In its last meeting of the year on Monday, the Lewisville ISD Board of Trustees took care of yearly business, hearing several annual updates and approving two of its most important annual items – the academic calendar and the comprehensive annual financial report. Board vice president Tracy Scott Miller and member Kronda Thimesch were not in attendance.

The board approved the second of three options for the 2020-21 academic calendar. The school year will run Aug. 12, 2020 through May 26, 2021, both Wednesdays, with Spring Break 2021 running the week of March 15-19. This calendar option is notable for having the longest Winter Break of the three options, with students returning to school Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. The other calendars had students returning on the 5th or 6th.

Assistant superintendent for employee services Buddy Bonner said that after sending out all three options to district parents for voting, option 2 received 4,079 votes, exactly 500 more than the second-place finisher. The district received more than 10,000 votes total.

The board also approved its comprehensive annual financial report for fiscal year 2019, which ended for the district Aug. 31. The report shows the district spent $9.8 million less than its initial budget and $14.1 million less than its adjusted budget and took in $9.1 million more in revenue than was initially budgeted. These results are in line with the district’s last several fiscal years, almost all of which saw them spend much less than they’d budgeted.

Celina Cereceras, the Whitley Penn partner in charge of auditing LISD’s budgets, broke down the district’s revenue and expenditures by category for the board. Her presentation noted that 81% of the district’s revenue, almost $400 million, came from local property taxes, but 6% of that, about $30 million, went straight through the district to the state for recapture payments. Salary for instructors and school leadership made up about two thirds of the district’s expenditures.

Before voting to approve the audit, board member Kristi Hassett said that anyone interested in being more involved with the school district should take time out to read the audit, as it enumerates the board’s responsibilities, operations and legal concerns in great detail. The district’s budgets and annual comprehensive financial reports going back almost 10 years are available online on its financial transparency page, and the most recent one will be uploaded within a few days.

In expenditures approved at the meeting, the board approved a proposal for 285 new 48-passenger school buses and 10 SUVs for small group transportation. The district did not publicly disclose the financials involved.

During the consent agenda, the board approved a guaranteed maximum price of $35.1 million for a new elementary school on Josey Lane, which is provided for in the 2017 bond package. This is $4 million under the proposed budget for the project. The board also approved a maximum price of $8.3 million for storm damage repairs to Marcus High School, which was hit with severe wind and hail in March 2017. This is the second phase of repair work for damage stemming from this storm.

The LISD board meets monthly. Meetings are usually on the second Monday of the month at 6 p.m. with public session starting at 7 p.m. in the Lewisville ISD Administrative Center in Lewisville. The meetings are open to the public. 

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