Now is the time for proven leadership on the board. I believe that the next 3 to 5 years in LISD will be pivotal. The state legislature is currently in session and we will be waiting to see what types of changes are in store for school districts and how this will affect funding. The district will also need to hold a new bond election within this time frame to keep up with 20 year updates on campuses and to replace aging technology.
In addition, we are waiting to see what the ramifications will be from the COVID-19 pandemic. We expect to see education gaps from all students, potentially greater gaps among students who are already at risk. There will also be possible gaps in funding due to the pandemic. An experienced school board member will be needed to help close these gaps.
Lewisville ISD is heading into a new decade, with many challenges ahead. From local issues like ensuring each of LISD’s 50,000 students is equipped to thrive in a future they create, to state issues like rising property taxes and shrinking state funding, Texas public education has never been more complicated. It is more important than ever for local school boards to be involved and engaged at the local and state level, with experienced leadership and collaboration. Allison Lassahn is the obvious choice for LISD Place 2.
As a school board member, I have made it my mission to ensure that all students have access to the same resources, facilities, and materials across the district. Through our facilities plan, the district makes sure that all of our buildings are maintained on a rolling 20-year basis. Where there are gaps in opportunities and support at home, the district partners with community organizations such as churches, Communities in Schools of North Texas and Lovepacs (to name a few) to provide food, clothing and other support to our most needy students. We have an incredibly diverse student population in LISD, from the special education to the gifted student and the student in the “magic middle”, I am proud to represent each and every one of them.
Over the past year, it has become clear that mental health is a very crucial issue. LISD has one of the best counseling programs in the state, but we are always pushing to improve. During my term in office, the district has added social workers and student assistance counselors to expand services to students and their families. As a school board member, it is my goal to make sure that our staff has all of the tools they need to provide excellent care to our students and other staff members.
As a property owner in LISD, the largest part of the tax bill is to the school district. Unlike many of our neighboring districts, we have managed to not have a TRE (Tax Ratification Election). While we do have a large debt service, the district easily repays our debt on a 20 year cycle as opposed to a 30 year repayment. We have also structured our debt repayment for technology on a shorter, 5 Year cycle to keep pace with the life of the devices. It takes experience to keep taxes low, while at the same time keeping facilities in working order, keeping up with technology and recruiting and keeping high quality staff.
We’ve been blessed to have an exceptional superintendent in Dr. Kevin Rogers for the last 6 years. We know he is nearing retirement, and naming a new superintendent is the single most important decision a Board of Trustees makes. Our district and our community need an experienced, collaborative board leading that search process. I am well-prepared to be a strong voice for finding the best possible leader for our district when Dr. Rogers steps aside.
It is also important to me to represent our staff well. I look at all decisions through the lens of a teacher. My mother was a public school teacher for many years and I know what that is like for them. The success of our district is directly tied to having excellent teachers for our kids. As a board member, it is my job to make sure that LISD is an excellent place to work and that means having competitive salaries and benefits, excellent facilities and technology and a supportive work environment.