LISD recognizes PTA award winners and new principals, establishes new deals

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Heritage Elementary student Dylan James Shaw grins and brandishes the award he received from the national PTA for his original blues composition, "My Joy Song." (Photo by Leopold Knopp.)

Lewisville ISD kicked off their 2017/18 school year by recognizing a student’s national achievement, appointing four new principals and approving the continuation of several administrative deals.

At the start of the meeting, the district named Angela Cortez, Valerie Parsons, Steffanie Webb and Chad Russell as new principals for Camey and Parkway elementary schools and Creek Valley and Lamar middle schools respectively. Most of the appointments were already made official in mid-July. District spokesperson Amanda Brim said it was normal for the district to have this number of new principals entering a school year.

Then the district recognized Heritage Elementary’s Dylan James Shaw for winning Texas and national PTA awards for his original blues composition, “My Joy Song.” Shaw received a trophy from the national PTA in Las Vegas over the summer and was asked to perform for the U.S. Department of Education. Shaw called it the best experience of his life.

The board also recognized Donald Elementary Principal Michelle Wooten, who was named the Texas PTA’s elementary principal of the year.

The board then approved the continuations for several administrative policies, including a tax collection partnership with Denton County and last year’s bus routes. Among them, the board approved a handful of new items, including the approval of hiring architect firms to begin construction on the first 2017 bond items.

Donald Elementary teachers and staff celebrate with Principal Michelle Wooten, who was named the Texas PTA’s elementary principal of the year. (Photo by Leopold Knopp)

Board member Tracy Miller asked what the process would be if it was determined that some of the projects would not need an architect, but district CFO Mike Ball said that analysis had already been performed and that all projects need architects. Ball said that they might be able to save on architect costs by using the same architects for multiple projects, but only if they were using the same designs.

The newest item was the approval of a fiber-optic cable lease agreement with The Colony. Chief technology officer Byron Kolbeck said the district has unused fiber infrastructure in The Colony and has worked out a deal to lease it to the city, which was looking to expand its own network. The agreement is for $14,550 and one year, with each party having the option to terminate it.

The district also approved switching investment advisors from Patterson to the Austin-based TCG Advisors. The firm charges $100,000 per year, but Ball said he expects increased investment activity to bring in more than enough to offset that cost. Board vice president Kronda Thimesch and secretary Katherine Sells praised TCG’s preparation and said the district has a large profit potential for handling its money more actively. According to the 2017/18 proposed budget, the district will have a fund balance of $149.7 million as of Aug. 31 and projects to bring in $1.6 million from interest earnings over the next year.

“When we have the amount of money that we have sitting in the bank, we want somebody to take that portfolio and to distribute it in the most aggressive manner possible without putting the district at risk,” Sells said. “There is a lot more that our money could be working for us instead of just kind of sitting there snoozing.”

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