Louise ISD trustees’ Feb. 23 meeting focused on the aftereffects of mid-February’s freezing storm, as well as purchasing new school buses and the early stages of a bond discussion.
LISD closed for four days, from Feb. 16 through 19, due to the recent winter storm’s extreme weather conditions. Roads iced over, power and water was lost from many homes, and the school board was forced to reschedule their meeting, which was originally planned for Feb. 15.
The school board approved requesting a waiver from the Texas Education Agency for the missed days so they do not have to be made up later in the year. A resolution to pay LISD employees for the missed days was also passed.
Trustees reviewed the process of purchasing two school buses for the district, but no action was taken. The district typically purchases school buses in alternating years, with the 2021-2022 school year being the planned year for a bus purchase.
The process of ordering a school bus can take around six to nine months before the bus is delivered, so the district broached the bus discussion this month to expedite the process.
“We’re trying to decide if we’re going to go for a lease purchase,” Superintendent Garth Oliver said.
The estimated cost for one 11-row school bus is about $95,900.
Trustees talked about facilities renovation plans, but major decisions would depend on whether the district opts to go for a bond in the next year or so. The district is still in early stages of the bond discussion, and Oliver estimated the absolute earliest a bond would make it to election would be in November or next May.
“I just shared information with the board regarding if we were to go for a bond, how it would be paid for and what cost analysis would look like; ‘here’s some recursory information.’” Oliver said. “Because we have a few new board members.”
Remodeling the district’s bus barn has been a periodic discussion for the last few years. With a bond being considered, the project’s future is up in the air.
“That’s part of the difficulty; whether we’re going to try for a bond or whether we’re going to try to pay for it out of fund balance,” Oliver said.
Superintendent Garth Oliver gave a report on the district’s COVID-19 case numbers and on Louise High School’s seven-day closure at the end of January.
The campus closed after seeing 20 percent of its students test positive for COVID-19. LHS reopened on Feb. 1 and has since remained open. The other LISD campuses did not close during that time.
LISD currently has one active student and one active staff COVID-19 case, according to the district’s website. Student and staff COVID-19 recoveries total 72 for the district.