Board approves lunch price increase, $125 million bond issuance

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Board members Allison Lassahn and Kronda Thimesch swear in for their first and second terms, respectively, before the May 14 LISD board meeting. (Photo by Leopold Knopp)

After swearing in newly elected board member Allison Lassahn and Kronda Thimesch to her second term, the Lewisville ISD Board of Trustees raised full-priced lunches for next year by five cents and approved a 10-classroom expansion of Vickery Elementary.

The board voted to increase the cost of full-price lunches next by five cents to $2.60 and $2.85 per lunch in primary and secondary schools, respectively. The board had discussed this price increase at both previous meetings in March and April, but did not approve it since the increase was meant to be in step with the USDA’s Paid Lunch Equity Tool, which had not been released yet for next school year. The Paid Lunch Equity Tool calculates the minimum prices for paid lunches to ensure that reimbursements from National School Lunch programs, which LISD participates in, are enough for the federal government to run free lunch programs.

District CFO Mike Ball said that instead of receiving the tool, LISD eventually received word that they would be exempt for the next year. However, Ball recommended that the district move forward with the price increase they had calculated.

“Our thinking there is that we don’t want to put the district in a position where, in the following year when the exemption is no longer in place, there could be a spot where there’s a significant increase that had to be done,” he said.

The background material notes that revenue from the price increase has already been incorporated into the budget. A five cent increase will still keep LISD lunches below average for area school districts.

The board made progress on several items related to the 2017 bond, perhaps most notably by authorizing the issuance of $125 million worth of 2018 bonds. The background material details a 20-year amortization plan.

Though he voted with fellow trustees — all decisions of the evening were unanimous — board member Tracy Scott Miller wanted to note publicly that he expected a strategy session on bond issuances in the near future.

“While I get the timing issue of getting this done before the next tax rate vote, I just remain uncomfortable from a cash-management perspective that we’re using the tax calendar as a reason to drive our bond sales,” he said. “I just am uncomfortable that we’re using calendar to drive our decisions instead of an overall strategy.”

The board approved a 10-classroom expansion to Vickery Elementary School, which will help make up for the closure of Hedrick Elementary School next year. In the 2017 bond package, it was determined that Hedrick Elementary would be closed in order to expand the connected Hedrick Middle School. A 10-classroom addition to Vickery, which is located a block west of the Hedrick complex, was provided for in the package. The project was most recently listed at $4.7 million when it was approved along with other year two bond items at the April 16 meeting.

The board also approved a guaranteed maximum price of $31.5 million for the new elementary school on Mill Street and a $3.7 million purchase of computer hardware upgrades, both of which are provided for in the bond package.

Before business truly got underway, the board elected officers for the next year. Unanimously, it was determined that Angie Cox would remain the board’s president, Thimesch would serve as vice president and Katherine Sells as secretary for the second consecutive year.

The LISD board of trustees meets monthly on Monday evenings at the Lewisville ISD Administrative Center, 1565 W. Main St. in Lewisville. It also has frequent informational sessions between meetings. The next meeting is scheduled for June 4.

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