The latest news from LISD.
February 17, 2023
As always, I want to express my thanks for your service to our community and especially the families and 49,000 students of Lewisville ISD. In this newsletter you will find additional information for consideration related to the topics of school funding, accountability changes, and considerations for some of the bills filed.
At the time of writing this letter, 520 bills have been filed related to public education. I know you face an overwhelming amount of priorities to address and I want to continue to reiterate we are here to support and provide information you need throughout the legislative session. We are studying bills filed and are at your service to provide any information you need on how LISD will be impacted by pending legislation.
At the end of this newsletter, you will find good news stories from LISD and as always you can see all of the great things happening in our district by following my social media channels.
As I shared with you last month, every $100 increase to the basic allotment will decrease our recapture payment by approximately $6 million, current estimates show. Additionally, when adjusted for inflation, per student funding has declined in Texas over the past eight years. Below are a few facts and figures for you to consider:
LISD’s $54 million recapture payment means that 10% of property taxes paid by LISD taxpayers in Denton County are going towards recapture. At this time, there is not a way to track that recapture dollars are going to other school districts in Texas.
The graphic below shows how our 2021 recapture payment in LISD compares with that of other surrounding DFW school districts:
LISD loses $1,028 per student to recapture.
Funding for school districts is not at an all-time high - when adjusted for inflation, per-student funding has declined in Texas over the past 8 years.
A 3% of the midpoint raise for LISD staff will cost the district $11.7 million.
Public education for LISD families has not been fully funded, with unfunded mandates and recapture exceeding revenue- just a few examples are below
LISD’s spending for special education exceeds state and federal allocations by more than $4 million, current estimates show. ESSER funds have helped us in meeting the demands of the growth of our Special Education population, but with these funds set to expire we are facing a crisis with Special Education funding.
Providing student devices in grades 4-12 costs approximately $3M per year
Infrastructure for online STAAR testing is estimated at $10M per year
Transportation costs were $17.8M with only $3.2M in state funding received
Safety and security upgrades of $30M were paid for by the voters with 2017 bond funds compared to $2.4M received for safety from the state since 2017.
As one of the largest employers in Denton County, the amount of jobs that LISD provides is critical to the economy of our county. Our ability to adequately staff and provide jobs is dependent upon being fully funded. In fact, school districts in the state of Texas are vital to providing jobs for the Texas economy.
LISD plans and budgets based on the number of students enrolled. Every student must be assigned a campus, classroom, teacher and space. We must be prepared to educate every child every school day, even when a child is absent for the day. We do not save money if a student is absent. In fact, chronic absenteeism brings additional costs as students who are absent need support to catch up. Texas is currently one of six states that utilize an attendance based funding model. Funding based on enrollment would provide a stable funding source based on the students that our district serves.
I have significant concerns about the proposed Commissioner rules that will drastically impact how our high schools are rated in the Accountability system.
I want to make you aware of the comments to these Commissioner's rules we have provided and would appreciate your help in talking with Commissioner Morath reiterating the following:
Altering CCMR Formulas: TEA’s proposed accountability framework makes significant changes to High School College, Career Readiness and Graduation requirements by utilizing new scaling formulas. TEA cited the high CCMR rate in 2022 as reasons for altering the formula. Many high schools were getting A’s in this area, so TEA is creating a higher standard to limit the number of A’s at this time. This is very similar to norming. While TEA does not follow a normalized curve, they recalibrate to ensure that scores are not too high across the state, creating a never ending cycle where districts work to achieve a target, achieve the target, and then are told the standard has to change.
CCMR Indicators: Additionally, we would like to see the list of acceptable CCMR indicators expand to include additional measures such as GPA, JROTC participation, ASVAB, completion of any 1 dual credit course, expansion of certifications, and innovative course completion (Incubator), etc.
The constant change of expectations as well as the limited measures make it impossible for districts to maintain and improve performance.
The changes to graduation rate targets in the current proposal would take a 94.9% graduation rate and change it to a 70% thus resulting in contributing to lowering ratings for high schools. The national graduation rate for the Class of 2019 was 86%, the TEA proposal would rate our excellent graduation rates (90%+) in LISD with C’s with these changes. Why would we let the accountability system cause Texas public schools to not advertise the high graduation rates we have compared to the other 50 states?
I have provided insight below on several bills that have been filed so far this session that impact public schools.
HB 1416: While we appreciate the recognition that significant changes are needed to HB 4545 from the last session, there still does not seem to be funding considerations for accelerated instruction. Increasing the teacher to student ratio from 1:3 to 1:4 would need to be funded, and there needs to be differentiation for students who miss only 1-10 questions versus 10-20, versus 20 or more. We support the parent opt-out and limiting this legislation to reading and math. This bill is quite confusing between the expectations of accelerated versus supplemental instruction. I would continue to emphasize that in a statewide teacher shortage, bills like this have a significant impact on the time teachers need to plan for instruction and teach the TEKS.
SB 176 and other bills related to school choice: These bills need to include expectations that the same rules will be required of any educational organization, parent or guardian who accepts tax payer dollars. At this time, there is not an equitable study that indicates how students in private or homeschool perform on STAAR tests that public schools are required to give and are graded on. Additionally, with the property values of taxpayers within LISD rising, any further enrollment declines in our district will only increase the recapture payment further sending more of LISD taxpayer dollars back to the state. Schools that are provided taxpayer dollars should be required to follow state education laws: state curriculum standards (TEKS), open meetings act, grievance procedures, teacher certifications, transportation, bilingual programs, English as a Second Language programs, and serve at-risk students - essentially all statutes that have been passed by the legislature in the Texas Education Code. The alternative to this is to allow public schools more freedom that would be equal to the institutions that a voucher consisting of taxpayer dollars could be provided to. Ensure that tracking of funds used to fund any school choice indicates if recapture dollars from local communities are being used to pay for this system.
HB 977: Establishing an interim commission to study accountability would be a welcome approach, and major changes to the accountability system should be paused while the system is being studied.
New Anonymous Reporting System
Safety and security continues to be a top priority for our district. LISD has had anonymous reporting procedures in place for years, and the district is now making it even easier for students and the community to make an anonymous tip. The LISD community now has access to STOPit, an anonymous reporting system that allows individuals to submit concerns at any time, from anywhere. This program is accessible online and via a mobile app. Read more at LISD.net/Tipline
Learn about the great things happening among our 49,000 students and 6,500 staff members.
12th Annual Chin Festival Welcomes Community, Honors Culture
Since its inception in 2011, Lewisville ISD’s annual Chin Festival has provided the LISD community with an opportunity to be immersed in a unique cultural experience. This year’s student-led event was no different, treating the audience to selections of traditional Chin dance, song, fashion and food. Attendees included members of the LISD Board of Trustees, district administration, municipal government officials and hundreds more members of the community. Teachers and pastors from local Chin churches were recognized for their efforts in ensuring that the LISD Chin community continues to thrive. The event, now in its 12th iteration, is designed to honor the Chin students and families that call Lewisville and LISD home. In the early 2000s, the area became a haven for members of Chin State, a region of western Burma (Myanmar), seeking refuge from religious and racial persecution. READ MORE
TCHS Hosts MVP Pitch for Incubator Program
The Colony High School’s entrepreneurial students in the INCubatoredu program recently made their MVP Pitch to local business leaders and investors with a chance of receiving funding. The business-minded INCubatoredu program is a course in its second year at TCHS that’s designed to get students excited about becoming true entrepreneurs. Students had the opportunity to create and fully develop their own product or service and make their MVP (minimal viable product) pitch in hopes of being funded by a panel of business leaders in the community who served as guest judges. READ MORE
From the beginning, Lewisville Independent School District has committed to ensuring all students have the resources they need and want to ultimately thrive in a future they create. Visit Best Schools in Texas for more information about joining the LISD family. Need this update in a different language? Visit LISD.net/translate.