School calendar approval, budget updates and a new director of purchasing: 5 highlights from Tuesday’s Lake Travis ISD board meeting

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Lake Travis ISD board of trustees met Jan. 23, approving the 2018-19 school calendar, calling a May election, receiving an update on school finances and celebrating School Board Recognition Month.

1. 2018-19 calendar approved

Trustees approved the 2018-19 instructional calendar, which was discussed in detail at a meeting Dec. 19. The board selected the first of two options, which means district students will begin the school year Aug. 15, 2018 and school will end May 24, 2019.

Similar to the 2017-18 calendar, the upcoming school year will have the district’s bad weather makeup day on Good Friday, which falls on April 19. This is a day that will act as a holiday unless the district cancels a day of school for weather events, such as snow or a hurricane.

Unlike a number of other districts in the area, which do not have to make up bad weather days because of excess instructional time built in the schedule throughout the year, Superintendent Brad Lancaster said Lake Travis ISD has the shortest school day in the area.

“There are some districts around us that have two days of padding built into their calendar and they can make up that snow day just with the [normal instructional] minutes,” he said. “We can add five minutes to our school day and generate two extra days of padding for bad weather days.”

The board asked district staff to explore extending the school day for next year and to present findings at a future board meeting. Regardless of potential future board action regarding school hours, the calendar approved Tuesday will be accurate.

2. Fiscal year 2018-19 budget projections

Johnny Hill, assistant superintendent for business, financial and auxiliary services, gave the board a preliminary look at the district’s fiscal year 2018-19 budget. In its first draft, the budget is projected to run at a deficit of a little under $400,000, but Hill said he anticipates it will be balanced by the time the final budget is presented to the board for approval in the fall.

“We’re under the premise that for the second year in a row, out of the last dozen years or so, we’ll have a balanced budget,” he said. “I think that’s really, really good news.”

Hill said the district is also projected to have an enrollment of around 11,000 for the start 2018-19 school year. He said he anticipates enrollment will top 11,000 students during the 2018-19 school year.

3. May election called

The board took action to call a May 5 general election for Place One and Place Two seats, currently held by trustees Guy Clayton and Lisa Johnson, respectively. Trustees in Lake Travis ISD serve three-year terms.

The election is budgeted to cost the district $52,000, according to board documents.

4. School Board Recognition Month

dsJanuary marks School Board Recognition Month, and trustees were given small gift bags with a district sweater and phone chargers to show the district’s appreciation.

“The board is of differing minds but one heart,” Lancaster said. “We have differing opinions, differing ideas and lots of conversations, but what I appreciate about this group is that you all come together with one heart and one focus for our children.”

5. Angie Marsh joins the district

New Director of Purchasing Angie Marsh, who started with the district  Jan. 10, was introduced to the board at the meeting.

“[The job] is a great opportunity,” Marsh said. “I did work for Round Rock [ISD] for 15 years and worked for the state Department of Human Services for 12. I’m hoping I can bring a lot to Lake Travis.”

Marsh replaces longtime administrator Ed Wooten, who moved to Dallas ISD in September after serving Lake Travis ISD for nine years.

Hill said Marsh “hit the ground running” to help the district progress on several projects scheduled to be completed by the end of the summer.

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