New policy could prohibit parents from using 'listen-in' technology on campus, other items from the March 27 Lake Travis ISD board meeting

The Lake Travis ISD board of trustees considered an item March 27 regarding making changes to a cell tower access site.

The Lake Travis ISD board of trustees considered an item March 27 regarding making changes to a cell tower access site.

Lake Travis ISD staff is recommending a new policy that would require parents to obtain approval from the district before operating a student-tracking safety device containing a recording or listen-in feature, as well as an agreement that the feature would be disabled while the device is on campus or at a school-sponsored event.

The item was brought before the board of trustees for consideration at the March 27 meeting. Action will be requested April 17.

According to staff, the monitoring devices, which have become popular nationally and in LTISD over the past few years, can be placed in a pocket to track students for safety purposes. They are often marketed to students with special needs, staff said. The more popular version of the device has a listen-in feature allowing parents to turn on the device and listen in remotely.

“To address student privacy and confidentiality, district administration recommends adding language to this local policy [student conduct: personal telecommunications/electronic devices] to address the unauthorized use of audio and video recordings of students,” staff documents said.

Election cancelled
The May 4 board of trustee election for places 3, 4 and 5 was officially cancelled at the meeting. Unopposed trustees Jessica Putonti, John Aoueille and Kim Flasch will be declared the official winners. The oath of office and statement of elected official will be administered at the May 15 board meeting.

2019-2020 instructional calendar updated

The Texas Education Agency has allowed for 2,100 instructional minutes to be waived for professional development through an expedited waiver for the 2019-2020 school year.

The waiver was not available when the board approved its instructional calendar in January, so it approved a new version March 27.

The revised calendar mirrors the current 2018-2019 instructional calendar with professional development days. Two days worth of instruction would be banked to be used as “bad weather” days for students.

Cell tower access point on district property could move

District staff are currently in negotiations with Verizon Wireless to establish a safer, more efficient route to access a cell tower.

In 1997, LTISD and Verizon entered into a ground lease agreement for a cell tower site at the top of the hill on Cavalier Drive in front of the maintenance facility. The agreement is set to expire June 25, staff documents said.

As part of the agreement, the district granted Verizon Wireless a nonexclusive easement to access the leased site—seven days a week, 24 hours a day—to install, remove, replace and maintain utility cables, conduits and pipes from the leased site.

The easement runs along Cavalier Drive up to the cell tower. Verizon Wireless is in the process of replacing their infrastructure to this site and will be exercising its right to use this easement, the documents said. LTISD’s administration is recommending replacing the existing easement with a different access easement that provides a safer, more efficient route.

Action will be requested at the April 17 meeting.

By Sally Grace Holtgrieve

Sally Grace Holtgrieve solidified her passion for news during her time as Editor-in-Chief of Christopher Newport University's student newspaper, The Captain's Log. She started her professional career at The Virginia Gazette and moved to Texas in 2015 to cover government and politics at The Temple Daily Telegram. She started working at Community Impact Newspaper in February 2018 as the Lake Travis-Westlake reporter and moved into the role of Georgetown editor in June 2019.


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