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The Lewisville ISD Board of Trustees on Monday approved a salary increase and a competitive pay adjustment for all eligible employees for the 2016-17 school year.

The salary increase is for 3 percent above the employees' pay grade midpoint. That's expected to cost the district $10.5 million.

In addition, the competitive pay adjustment will bring all pay grades to 101 percent of the market. Buddy Bonner, assistant superintendent of human resources and employee engagement, said this will particularly help bilingual aides and child nutrition staff members.

“What we heard was that there were certain job scales that were too low,” Bonner said. “So this brings the pay scales up and makes them more equitable.”

Bonner said another group whose pay scale was deemed too low was special education aides. He said that was solved by moving the group to a higher scale.

The competitive pay adjustment is expected to cost benefit 4,500 employees, and it will cost LISD $2.3 million.

Last week, Mike Ball, assistant superintendent of finance, said the changes would give LISD an operating budget deficit of $5.5 million. But Ball said that's a conservative number. He added that more often than not, the district ends up putting money back into the fund balance despite having a projected deficit.

Board Vice President Tracy Scott Miller said he wants the district to communicate the system clearly to its employees.

“There always seems to be some confusion of 3 percent of the mid-range,” Miller said. “I think when you do your workshops and a teacher comes up and asks, 'What does this mean to me,' then there's a model so you can say, 'This is exactly what it means to you.'” And just help them understand the parameters of the pay grade that they're in. And then a longer term view of their compensation as well.”

Bonner said the district is planning on rolling out an instructional video to help explain the system.

Technology expenditure

The board voted 4-3 to spend $585,000 on various technology items, but some board members were hesitant since it hadn't been discussed in a previous meeting first.

Ball said the $585,000 is in the general fund and has been earmarked for leasing already-budgeted technology items.

He said the reason the district is asking to spend it on purchasing items outright instead is because it is less expensive to buy them now than to pay the interest on leasing them. He also said there is a sense of urgency to buy the equipment now.

“This addresses some needs that we feel are critical in terms of replacing some equipment that are beginning to fail,” Ball said.

Those items include overhead projectors, which are breaking down at a rate of 25 per month. There are also computers and phone systems that are reaching the end of their life, and some security cameras are not functioning.

Board President Trisha Sheffield and board members Katherine Sells, Kristi Hassett and Kronda Thimesch voted for the item.

Miller and board members Angie Cox and Jenny Proznik voted against the item.

“I was not aware there was a need to spend this money without foreknowledge,” Miller said. “The first time I'm hearing about the need to spend this money on equipment was tonight, outside of the technology plan that we put forward.”

Bond planning consultant

The board approved a contract for a bond planning consultant in anticipation of possibly calling a bond election next year.

The contract was awarded to Rebecca Cowan of Caelen Communications in the amount of $43,000.

Cowan will use her experience to guide various processes associated with a bond election. Miller reminded everyone that this service is different from what the district will get from the bond committee facilitator it hired in April.

“(This) is a strategy component of how do you build alignment with the community and have success when you take that to the voters,” Miller said.

Miller said hiring the experts is one part of the process. He said another part is establishing guidelines for education operational specifications so that there is a set of standards when designing the new facilities.

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