Brock ISD board of trustees approved a resolution to delegate certain authorities related to the COVID-19 pandemic during Monday’s board meeting held via Zoom.
The resolution includes 12 items for the superintendent or their designee to have the authority to do if necessary. They are:
— all decisions related to payment of employees, compensation and premium payments to certain employees.
— to change the school calendar related to the school closure.
— to make guidelines or determinations regarding the absences, leave time, leave days and compensation for employees who are quarantining or have tested positive for COVID-19.
— to seek Texas Education Agency waivers regarding missed instructional days, low attendance or other matters related to the closure, or to seek waivers from other state and national agencies and authorities.
— to temporarily suspend the Texas Public Information Act.
— to hire contractual personnel.
— to negotiate and execute interlocal agreements in relation to COVID-19.
— to accept gifts, donations and emergency assistance.
— to act outside local requirements and timelines regarding employee evaluations.
— to act outside policies regarding grading, report cards and other traditional instructional parameters.
BISD staff also gave updates in regards to the district’s approach to the pandemic. Superintendent Cade Smith addressed graduation and the plans for resuming traditional schooling.
“May 4, are we coming back? That’s a question that I’ve been asked I don’t know how many times, but right now the answer is yes,” Smith said. “We have every intention to come back on May 4. I think I would be remiss to say that we are still preparing for the end of the year, that we don’t come back, and I think that is the prudent thing to do in this time so that if there is an extension from the governor or some sort of emergency management order that comes out and pushes us, that we’re prepared and it doesn’t sneak up on us.”
Smith said district administrators are considering a graduation date in maybe June or July and will discuss a date with the community.
Chief Financial Officer Mike McSwain said the district is serving 50-60 meals per day on average to families who need them and is delivering about 18 per day for students who can’t pick up food. Meal services have been scaled back to 9-10 a.m. for pick-up.
“The kids that we’re delivering to are truly in need of those meals,” McSwain said. “There are kids that are home while their parents are working, so I mean I feel like we’re doing what we need to be doing in that regard.”
Assistant Superintendent Dee Ann Mills said she is working on establishing a grading policy this week.
“We’re starting to align some of our curriculum processes now,” Mills said. “The state is requiring that we have some continuity across the district on how we’re lesson planning and how we’re collecting our information when we’re contacting students and parents and how we’re delivering the educational planning, and so we’re working on rolling that out this week and introduce it to teachers and slowly but surely introducing grading, probably the week after next.”
During the last two weeks, Mills said the district has been getting devices and hotspots to students who need them for distance learning, which is expected to continue into next week.
Unrelated to COVID-19, installation of safety film for exterior windows and vestibules inside started at the elementary school and will be completed throughout the district, McSwain said. This job is costing about $36,000, which is paid for mostly by grants, including an about $25,000 state grant, and from the district’s general fund.
“None of that is coming out of the bond funds like we initially thought it would be, so we’ve saved that money at this point,” McSwain said. “As far as the overall district budget, I think we’re going to be OK on that. We’re obviously not incurring any costs related to subs. We’ve scaled back our utilities to an unoccupied mode as far as electricity and water and things like that. We’ve spent a little money as far as Chromebooks and the hotspots and things like that. Overall, our budget is going to be fine because overall, we’re saving money in other areas.”
Also in the meeting, the board approved using Snow, Garrett, Williams as the auditing firm for the fiscal year ending on June 30, and they approved teacher contracts.