• August 8, 2020

Board talks sensitivity training - Odessa American: Education

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Board talks sensitivity training

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Posted: Wednesday, June 17, 2020 2:38 pm

The Ector County ISD Board of Trustees took up several items including compensation, the budget, accepting the resignation of trustee Doyle Woodall and hearing from state Rep. Brooks Landgraf, R-Odessa, about legislative funding challenges in the 2021 legislative session.

Trustee Nelson Minyard was absent.

The board also voted 5-0 to approve a contract services agreement with the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the Center for Education Policy Research.

Woodall had come under fire for Facebook posts that were offensive to some.

Options trustees will most likely take are leaving the position vacant or appointing someone. Board member Steve Brown asked if a survey could be conducted in Position 4, which Woodall served, to see what option constituents would want.

Trustee Carol Gregg said the public has asked the district to undergo sensitivity training. She added that the district needs to reestablish trust with a significant part of the community and she thinks it is important to take steps to do that.

Board member Donna Smith said she agreed with Gregg 100 percent and would like to schedule training.

District administrators also were asked to set up equity training, the board recap said.

Gregg said she wants to discuss and decide on an option during the first meeting in July.

The board also voted 5-0 to approve the 2020-2021 compensation plan. The board recap states the highlights are:

Employees will receive a 2 percent of midpoint cost of living adjustment plus equity adjustments where applicable to bring employees to 90 percent of market pay as identified by a Texas Association of School Board salary study.

Teachers librarians, and nurses (RN) will receive a $1,200 cost of living adjustment. The starting teacher salary will be adjusted to $54,250, up $2,250 from the 2019-20 salary schedule. Teachers at Steps 1-12 will receive additional adjustments to create equity with the starting pay.

Adjustments for this group of employees constitutes approximately 51 percent of all salary adjustments.

The board had asked the administration to prioritize additional adjustments to hourly employees. Employees on these salary schedules will receive an adjustment above the 2 percent (ranging from 4 percent to 5 percent). Starting salaries will increase and adjustments will be made to current employees based on that adjustment. Adjustments for this group of employees constitutes approximately 31 percent of all salary adjustments.

In additional to salary and the noted salary adjustments, employees will receive an additional $4,560 per year in medical insurance benefits. There will be no increases to insurance premiums.

Deputy Superintendent Stephanie Howard said when the pay raises take effect will depend on the employee’s contracts.

The agreement with Harvard is for two years through the Strategic Data Partnership grant. The arrangement, which required ECISD to apply and be selected, matches the district with one Harvard Data Fellow, who is also supported by a team at Harvard. The recap says the Fellow will bring high quality research methods, conduct high quality analysis of data and its impact on ECISD’s success, facilitate strategic use of data, and provide analytic support regarding district priorities and pressing issues, the recap said.

On a separate item, Associate Superintendent of Curriculum and instruction Lilia Nanez discussed the academic calendar for next year.

School will start Aug. 12 and 11 instructional days will be added. Nanez said it does not affect the teacher calendar.

Nanez said research has shown that the pandemic and school closures have had an adverse effect on children, particularly in math.

Nanez said there will be 180 instructional days and the district will qualify for state funding for an additional 30 days of instruction for elementary students at the end of the year. Those days will be optional for students and staff.

After a public hearing, the board approved a $307 million general fund.

The board discussed equity funding for schools. Gregg said it looked like the schools that were rated D and F under state standards were getting less money this year.

Superintendent Scott Muri said the funding was tied to the students of poverty, special education students and English learners wherever they happened to be.

The discrepancy was due to amounts presented last year, but officials said the schools in need were getting more funding.

Julia Willett-Weekly, executive director of federal and state programs, said federal funding is coming.

The planning amount for Title I is $6,500,000; for title 1 A little more than $5 million is expected from the CARES Act; $750,000 to $800,000 for Title 2; Title 3, about $600,000; Title 4, close to $500,000.

The board also approved hiring Jaime Miller as executive director of curriculum and instruction; executive director of special services Leslie Wilson; executive director of student and school support Robin Garcia; and Paula Dannheim as principal of Hays STEAM Academy. She was the assistant principal.

The board also approved a $424,193 bid from Onyx General Contractors to build a restroom at the Permian High School baseball field.

Porta Potties were bought to the field for games. Officials said the cost is being driven by utilities. Plans also are to provide water to the concession stand.

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