In an effort to keep and recruit high quality applicants, Weatherford ISD trustees Monday approved auxiliary salary adjustments for employees in child nutrition, custodial services and busing.
"The goal is to try to increase and thus attract quality applicants and retain the great people we have in those four areas," WISD Superintendent Beau Rees said.
Under the recommendation to the board, the child nutrition position would go from $10.20 an hour to $11; custodial from $10.20 to $12.20; bus drivers from $16.40 to $19; and bus monitors from $11.75 to $12.
The recommendation was met with concern from one board member, who questioned whether "throwing money at it" was going to solve the problem.
Other board members maintained that the salary adjustment was a necessary tool for helping those departments succeed.
"For a district the size of Weatherford, and if we're wanting to be elite, I don't look at it as throwing money away," board member Wally Wallace said. "I look at it as taking care of what we've got and attracting quality people."
The adjustments were unanimously passed.
In another staff item, trustees also approved a staff development minutes waiver and amended the 2020-21 district calendar to give teachers additional time for planning.
"Teachers need additional time because they're teaching face to face, then they're teaching online and they're also dealing with students who are quarantined," Rees said. "We're asking to take the three staff development days we have left and count those as student attendance days, which gives us enough minutes to provide four early release days."
The early release days would allow teachers those afternoons for work and planning, and Rees said the district would be working with Kids Unite to provide after school care at each campus on those days.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Weatherford ISD and other local districts in Parker County may be reimbursed by the county for costs associated with personal protective equipment and other safety items.
Parker County Emergency Management Coordinator Sean Hughes told commissioners earlier this week that his office was going through those requests, which would be funded through Coronavirus Relief Funds.
"Right now, we've submitted a request for $744,000 for reimbursement," WISD Assistant Superintendent of Business and Finance Lori Boswell said, "and we're really hoping they'll take favor on us and reimburse us."
Trustees unanimously approved the interlocal agreement with the county. Weatherford ISD is also exploring the option of requesting funds from the city of Hudson Oaks.
"We'll be bringing a [Memorandum of Understanding] to you next month to allow us to apply for those funds," Rees told the board. "We're excited about getting some of those return costs because those were huge."
The district has a list of requirements, including maintaining documentation on all expenses and not reallocating any of the CARES funding, and must return a statement of compliance to the county by February.
In other business, the board:
• Approved the purchase of laptops for teachers at an amount of roughly $126,700, which was included in the 2020-21 adopted budget.
• Approved the purchase of two trucks — a gasoline Chevrolet from the Jerry Durant Auto Group for $35,600 and a Dodge diesel from Charlie Gilchrist Southwest Ford for $42,999 — for use by the career and technical education department.
• Approved new innovative course offerings at the middle and high school career and tech programs through Project Lead the Way.