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Seen and Heard at the June 2021 School Board Meeting

Posted Date: 07/01/2021

Seen and Heard at the June 2021 School Board Meeting

June 21, 2021 – At the June 21 Board meeting, trustees adopted a budget for the upcoming school year of $330,568,597, up from $329,211,122 last year.  AISD Deputy Superintendent Pati Buchenau said budget highlights include a 3.5 percent raise for all staff, a retention incentive of $400 for custodians, child nutrition workers, and grounds crews, funds for additional pre-kindergarten teachers, pre-k assistants, and teachers to staff the new AmTech Career Academy opening in August, increases in computer software costs, and increases in premiums for property insurance and utilities.   

In other budget news, the Board heard a report from Superintendent Doug Loomis regarding the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund and its impact on Amarillo ISD.  Through ESSER and other funds, the federal government is providing financial support for U.S. school districts to address the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Mr. Loomis said AISD is expecting to receive approximately $72.7 million in ESSER funds, and he described the process currently underway to ask for input and ideas from teachers, administrators, parents, students, business leaders and community members about how this money can best be used over the next three years to address learning loss in students.  Districts are limited in how they can use the money; by July 27, AISD is required to submit a proposal for expenditures that will have to be approved by the Texas Education Agency. 

Trustees approved a request from three elementary schools - Hamlet, Mesa Verde and Eastridge – to participate in a new reading and language arts curriculum pilot in conjunction with the Texas Education Agency.  The Board also approved a one-time stipend for teachers and professional support staff who will be involved in the pilot at these three schools.      

Trustees voted to again give a $125 stipend to each teacher, counselor, nurse and librarian to help purchase student supplies for the beginning of the new school year.  The Board also approved Corgan Architects for a project to design the remodel of North Heights Alternative School into an early childhood campus.  Mr. Loomis said this is part of an AISD birth-to-5 initiative aimed at preparing young children to be ready for school.  With the opening of AmTech Career Academy in August this year, the Amarillo Area Center for Advanced Learning (AACAL) will move to AmTech.  North Heights Alternative School will then move to the AACAL building, and the North Heights building on N. Hughes will be remodeled into an early childhood center, with an anticipated opening date of August 2023.

In other business, the Board appointed Trustee Dick Ford to the Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) #1 Board of Directors for Downtown Amarillo and they appointed Trustee Kimberly Anderson to the East Gateway TIRZ #2 Board of Directors for 2021-2022.