School board passes legislative priorities

Marcus High School's Texas Association of Future Educators Program brought home the person-sized grand championship at the 2018 National Future Educator Competition. (Photo by Leopold Knopp)

After some language changes, the Lewisville ISD Board of Trustees passed its legislative priorities last night and approved a handful of other items.

The legislative priorities were passed after minor changes to some of the language. The final document lists four things the board wants to see from the legislature — an amended curriculum that would allow teachers to cover fewer subjects in-depth, reforms in school finance to make things simpler and more transparent, accountability for charter schools and allowing for more control from locally elected officials.

The board hammered out its priorities at length during last week’s informational meeting. Board members consistently referred to the current approach to state curricula as having a “mile wide, inch deep” mentality, with students required to learn too little about too broad a variety of topics. The curricula are also based heavily around a college readiness standard, which clashes with LISD’s goals to offer a broader variety of vocational courses.

The legislative priorities also request a reduction in unfunded mandates, or state-level laws that increase district costs without increasing their funding.

The board passed several items on its consent agenda, including the final membership of the community budget advisory committee. Superintendent Kevin Rogers first suggested the committee be formed in April to help give community input to prioritize LISD’s services, in case some need to be curtailed due to budget cuts. The final membership can be found in the agenda backup material. The 40-person committee includes nine area bankers, 10 area financial executives, eight LISD teachers and principals, seven other board nominees, three legislative staff members and three LISD staff members.

The board also passed its annual district improvement plan, approved $62,300 in expenditures related to the Texas Virtual School Network, extended the district’s agreement with Texas A&M AgriLife County extension agents to act as adjunct LISD faculty members for certain events for the third year and awarded an $8,160 contract to Jo Bob Aanenson to serve as professional service provider for Central Elementary and Durham Middle Schools. State law requires that campuses classified as “improvement required” due to STAAR scores must have a TEA professional services provider on staff. Aanenson has been working with LISD since 2014.

The Board also heard updates on the Lewisville Education Foundation, the district’s career and technical education efforts and graduation requirements for physical education. LEF president Michelle Cree welcomed new board members Erin Carney and Damion Robertson.

Career and technical education director Adrian Moreno said they’ve added a new firefighting program, bringing the total number of programs to 34, as well as adding courses to its video game design program. He said that enrollment and certifications continue to increase on an annual basis.

He said the district has been worked with Park Place car dealerships to place interns, and has had seven students go on to work with them full time.

“I was talking with a parent the other day, and she was explaining to me how her son said when he goes to the career center, he feels like he’s going to work,” Moreno said “He’s not going to school, because the way we conduct the courses there, the instruction that they’re receiving, we run it like the industry.”

The LISD board holds its regular meeting once a month, with one or two informational sessions in between. These meetings are open to the public.