Lovelady ISD Plans New Budget,  Updates Progress on Track

By Greg Ritchie

Messenger Reporter

LOVELADY –  The Lovelady Independent School District (LISD) held a board meeting Monday, June 19 to discuss summer activities such as school maintenance, football practice and work on the track as the board also worked on budgeting for the new school year. 

LISD School Board President Bruce Monk led the meeting which began with the presentation of the new Elementary School Principal Kelli Robinson, who told the board she was grateful for the opportunity and happy to be a part of the Lovelady family. She is already working on getting ready for the new school year and announced she was bringing a new Assistant Principal from Trinity who is bilingual and will add a lot to the campus. 

Then came an update from Transportation and Maintenance Director Cody Robinson, who updated the board on the work he and his team are doing during the summer before the new school year begins. Robinson announced the district has been working on the buses, including a couple of new buses to be added to the fleet. He said half of the fleet had received new brakes, some new tires and noted his team has so far been able to keep up with the bi-yearly maintenance in-house. 

The office and some of the halls in the elementary school have gotten some new paint, ceilings and flooring work done. Robinson noted shortly before the beginning of school, the floors will be redone as they like to “make them shine” for the arrival of students each year. Some of the classrooms at the junior high had carpet on the walls – which has been replaced – along with some improvements to the junior high locker rooms and gym. 

Robinson bemoaned the fact that some of the walls remain green, saying, “…they’re ugly but they hold up well,” and promising to find another more palatable color sometime in the future. 

With state mandates on schools’ security still a top issue, Robinson reported film was installed on the windows facing the street and upgrades to the fencing is underway to make them taller and “anti-scalable.” Work is being done on the air conditioning units in the high school and new equipment for the elementary playground had arrived and will be installed soon. 

The ever-passionate LISD Athletic Director Will Kirchhoff (Coach K) presented the board with a multi-page, color-coded update on the kids’ athletic progress saying, “I am passionate about data.”

Coach K told the board the kids are now in phase two, meaning all of the incoming high school athletes have been in his program since he came to the school and are committed to the program – which involves progress reports, a green and red-colored grading system of different aspects of their progress and a lot of time spent not only in training, but in planning the strategies behind that training. 

“We grade their total athletic potential, which is different from their talent,” Coach K said. “They must be fearless, selfless, work for the team and we get these kids to do more than they think they can.”

LISD Athletic Director Will Kirchhoff shares the progress of the incoming student-athletes as they work hard over the summer to be ready to play this fall.

Coach K said the student-athletes understand the system now, with even injuries or “red lights” on the grading scale not stopping them, since they understand and buy into the system. Normal indices like weight gain or loss are understood now by the players, who try to achieve bigger, overall goals part of the long-term strategy of the department. 

“When you see red lights for one of our athletes, it’s not necessarily a bad thing,” Coach K explained. “Weight gain, for example. One-hundred pounds of marble is better than 80 pounds of sand. They don’t get discouraged by some of the red lights along the way because they get the big picture.”

The coach wants the team to improve a ton – literally, by adding up the increases they have been lifting in bench press, squats – and has accomplished that goal of reaching a 2,000 pound increase. Next, the coach has his eyes set on improving two two tons. 

Monk told Coach K, “You are all doing a great job and the kids follow your leadership.”

LISD Superintendent Wendy Tullos presented the board with a proposed budget for the next year, warning them it was based on existing laws from the state, but this could change. Tullos noted the budget puts high emphasis on keeping teacher salaries competitive with other schools in the area. 

Lovelady ISD school board members hear about progress in both the sports department and maintenance of school facilities. Even while the kids enjoy the summer, local schools take this time to work on many projects before the bells ring again this fall.

School budgets are based in large part on attendance and LISD budgeted for an average daily attendance last year of 470, achieving 510 by the end of the year. The district is building their budget this year based on 505, although there is no way for the district to control this, which can vary by not only attendance, but families moving in or out of the district. 

Tullos mentioned the renovations going on at the running track, used by many in the community. The track is being repaired and is closed for the time being. Tullos said the district will install signs and asked the community to take care of the track, which can be so expensive to maintain. No strollers, bicycles or anything with wheels will be allowed on the track and dogs will be prohibited to use the track since they can damage the surface. 

“We need the community to help us keep up with this so the kids can use it,” Tullos said. “The track is for walking or running only.”

Greg Ritchie can be reached at [email protected] 

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