Mask wearing will remain in effect through the end of the school year at ECISD schools.
In his media call Wednesday, Superintendent Scott Muri said Gov. Greg Abbott’s order regarding masks as it relates to school districts takes effect June 4, which is after ECISD is out for the year.
After that, “we will transition to that environment,” Muri said.
“We still have cases almost every day in ECISD,” he added. “We continue to have students and staff members that are testing positive for COVID-19, so maintaining the safety of all of our students is critically important.”
“In addition to that, we would like to announce that we are partnering with our local community and healthcare providers to provide vaccinations for our 12-year-old students and up. More information is forthcoming about those dates, times and locations, but we’re excited to be able to provide that opportunity …,” Muri said.
Muri added that plans are not to continue using GermBlast next year. The firm disinfected the district every three months during the year.
“We are still studying that to see what safety procedures we’ll need to put in place next year for our students,” he said.
On other items, Muri said the ECISD Board of Trustees approved a “pretty dynamic compensation plan” for the district’s 4,200 employees.
Some of the components of the plan include a 3% across-the-board raise for all salaried contracted employees; (and) a 4% raise for hourly employees.
“We have raised the starting salary for a first-year teacher in ECISD to $57,000 and we’ve raised the minimum wage in ECISD to $12 an hour. In addition to that, the board approved a one-time payment to all employees that are working on the first day of school in 2021. We’ll provide $750 to every employee that is working with us on the first day of school of next year,” Muri said.
Muri said this will demonstrate the district’s appreciation for the people that worked hard all this year during the pandemic and welcome new employees.
“We have deep gratitude to the board of trustees for investing in the employees of ECISD, and again, are very grateful for the unanimous decision that our board of trustees made (Tuesday) night. It is quite an investment in the 4,200 employees of ECISD,” Muri said.
The board also approved the early payoff of a lease agreement for school buses.
“Several years ago, the board of trustees leased 30 school buses and we’ve created a lease-purchase agreement opportunity. That lease was structured to end several years from now. However, due to our current financial situation, we were able to pay off that $3 million lease a little bit early. This will save our taxpayers a little over $160,000 in payments and also will free up some maintenance operations funding for our school board to use over the next several years. … It’s really the good stewardship of our trustees that has allowed us to make that type of decision …,” Muri said.
He mentioned that the ECISD Live episode Thursday night featured the producers of The Daily, a podcast from the New York Times. The episodes focused on Odessa High School, and along with the podcast producers, the ECISD Live featured teachers and students who participated.
This coming weekend, ECISD will graduate the classes of 2020 from each of the five high schools.
Next weekend, the district will be graduating the Class of 2021.