Posted Date: 09/01/2021
August 16, 2021 -- At the August 16 Board meeting, trustees heard two public comments on the importance of wearing masks in schools and they heard one public comment on the District’s plan to use ESSER II (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) funds from the federal government. Superintendent Doug Loomis said, in addition to the $72 million in ESSER III funds, AISD also expects to receive another $30 million in ESSER II funds. Deputy Superintendent Kevin Phillips said 95 percent of this COVID relief money is allocated to five top priorities identified by AISD stakeholders – student learning loss, mental health interventions and support, staff retention incentives, professional development, and technology. He said at least half of the money will go directly to AISD schools to address student learning loss, and at least 20 percent is going directly into staff pockets in the form of additional stipends, hourly pay increases and retention incentives.
The Board approved a COVID leave policy providing for up to 10 business days of paid leave for non-temporary, benefit-eligible employees who are personally diagnosed with COVID-19, or whose school-aged or younger child is diagnosed with COVID. To try to address a substantial decrease in the pool of substitute teachers, trustees also approved a $50 increase to the daily rate for subs. The money for these increases will come from ESSER funds. In recent meetings, the Board has approved retention incentives for teachers, instructional assistants and substitutes, custodians, cafeteria and grounds workers, as well as an increase in the hourly rate for tutors.
In other business, the Board approved a pilot program with Amarillo College to offer, at no cost to District students, technical dual credit for certain career and technical education (CTE) courses. Technical dual credit allows students taking certain college-level CTE classes in high school to get a head start toward specialized training, college degrees and high demand jobs in technical careers.
The Board heard an update on AISD’s involvement in the City’s Tri-State Fairgrounds Complex project from Deputy Superintendent Pati Buchenau. The City has hired a consultant to develop a master plan for the project to revitalize the Tri-State Fairgrounds and surrounding area, which includes Dick Bivins Stadium and parking lot.
Board members thanked those who gave donations to AISD and its schools this month. A total of $1,464 worth of gifts was given from Dr. Oluwatoyin Thomas, All State Security (Randall Renfroe) and Mercy Church.