Millsap ISD board of trustees spent time in their monthly meeting on Monday to address issues arising from the COVID-19 outbreak.
The board approved a resolution to pay employees during the school closure. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott mandated that schools be closed through April 3.
The resolution authorizes pay for both contractual and non-contractual employees who are either working from home, in a job different than their job description and/or in less hours than usual during the pandemic. The district is not closed and employees are working, so time and a half pay will not be given.
The resolution also allows Superintendent Deann Lee to make decisions on compensation and payment for unforeseen circumstances caused by the pandemic during the next five weeks.
“We don’t want folks to incur personal expenses if they have a certain amount of data, and they’re using that data quickly because they’re working remotely,” Lee said to the board. “We’re discussing the possibility of some type of either stipend in some way or reimbursement, and so if you would be agreeable, we would like for the superintendent to have the authority to further look at that with [Business Manager Kim] Alexander and to make a determination on what we might be able to feasibly handle.”
Lee also said administrators are looking into what can be done for the district’s longtime substitutes who have committed to the district for the year.
Board Secretary Jerry Walker said this resolution is about the district taking care of its people and standing by its commitment.
“We’re the type of community that wants to stand by our commitments,” Walker said. “This is not their fault, and what kind of family would we be, what kind of community would we be, if we kicked people out of no fault of their own.”
The board also approved postponing the May 2 trustee election for the Nov. 3 election date, which Abbott has allowed local officials to do because of the coronavirus outbreak. Board Vice President Mike Burton, who did not file for re-election, agreed for his term to be extended to November, Lee said.
Incumbents Morgan Williams and Allen Williams have filed for re-election. Newcomers Andrea Schrick and Bobbye Brogdon also filed for one of the three available spots on the board, and Chad Edwards filed as a write-in candidate.
Lee said having the election in November would be half price of the current election costs. She also said even though the MISD board election would show up at the bottom of the ballot, more voters may turn out in November than May.
“Even if we’re back in school, we’d have such a low turnout, we’re talking just a few voters,” Lee said. “The other thing would be, I certainly would hate to be a new board member in the coming weeks with the decisions that are going to have to be made by the board.”
Walker supported the move for the health of Millsap’s residents.
“I would hate to think that a citizen, particularly one that’s medically vulnerable, would have to make the decision between putting themselves in a health risk or voting,” Walker said.
The board also heard information about missed school day waivers from the Texas Education Agency, which are due on July 1.
“The commissioner [of education] has said that we will continue to be funded as long as we are providing instruction, so that’s one of the other reasons why it was so important for us to work all through last week, or Spring Break, to get instruction started as quickly as we could this week so we could receive funding,” Lee said.
Other decisions trustees made were:
• Purchasing a 77-passenger bus not to exceed $100,000 and a 14-passenger special needs bus not to exceed $70,000.
• Adding $1,000 to batting cage coverings contract with Martco Manufacturing for the nets to be retracted via a pulley system without needing a ladder to unhook and rehook the netting.
• Approving a course in advanced floral design for the 2020-21 school year.