The Lufkin ISD board of trustees at a work session Tuesday morning discussed how the district's COVID-19 numbers after just one month of school are approaching the total for the entire previous school year.

Since the district started the school year on Aug. 12, it has had 432 students and 86 staff members test positive for COVID-19, superintendent Lynn Torres said. This brings the district to a total of 518 cases, as opposed to the 623 cases they had for the 2020-21 school year, she said.

“We are inching up to completely take over where we were for an entire year last year, so that can explain some of our concern about the spread of the disease and some of the measures that we’ve taken to take care of that,” she said.

The district’s interim statement of revenue and expenditures for the prior month was presented by chief financial officer Charlotte Bynum. The district has a total investment portfolio of $62,121,165 and is well positioned at its percent of tax collections at 98.16%, she said.

The board also was given updates on the new Lufkin Middle School construction project.

In the area where all classrooms and administrative spaces will be located, the lights and air conditioning are online. Also in this area, the ceramic tile wall protection has been completed, the storefront doors have been placed on the first and second floors and the masonry exterior is being placed. Water heaters have been installed in the areas where the gym and locker rooms will be and floors are currently being installed in various areas.

Torres thanked the Berry & Clay Construction representative for his crew’s work on the district’s multipurpose facility, as it was given the September 2021 Beautification Award from Angelina Beautiful/Clean.

“The compliments on the multipurpose center from our constituents, our taxpayers but also the people that have come over here — we’ve made a lot of Tyler Legacy people quite jealous,” board president Hall Henderson joked. “I can’t tell you how many came and were asking for tours.”

The board also discussed the campus and district improvement plans for the upcoming school year, which are to be approved annually by the board, said Shelly Slaton, assistant superintendent of education services and accountability. Under provisions of the Texas education code, every school district is required to develop a district plan to improve student performance with respect to academic excellence indicators and other appropriate performance measures, she said.

“Lufkin ISD utilizes a collaborative planning process including community and staff input to develop the district’s education plan and each campus’s education plan,” she said. “Lufkin ISD’s annual development of a district improvement plan helps maintain the direction of the district as we empower learners and leaders to positively impact the world.”

While the district must create one overall plan for LISD, each campus has its own campus improvement plan, Slaton said. These plans focus on:

* the academic achievements of all students

* setting the campus performance objectives

* identifying how campus goals will be met

* determining the resources

* identifying the staff needed to implement the plan

* setting timelines for reaching the goals

* measuring progress

* providing for a program to encourage parental involvement

* including goals and methods for violence prevention and intervention on campus.

In other news, Herty Primary School has been selected to participate in a Fresh Fruits & Vegetables program for the upcoming school year, assistant superintendent of administrative services Daniel Spikes said. The program gives the school funding to provide the students with fruits and vegetables throughout the day outside of their regular meal times, he said.

Kayley Fraze's email address is kayley.fraze@lufkindailynews.com.