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School starting date pushed back to Aug. 31

The Silsbee ISD Board of Trustees approved to push the start of school from a mid-August date to Aug. 31 at its’monthly meeting on July 21 at the SISD Administration Building.

The entire board and all administrators were present at the meeting.

For the first 30 minutes of the meeting, the board heard from several people during the public comments. The public emailed their

The public emailed their comments to the superintendent’s office and trustees took turns reading the comments.

Most of the comments were around students who chose remote instruction can not participate in University Interscholastic League (UIL) activities.

There were also comments about the start of school, social distancing and wearing face masks.

One comment, about returning to school, was addressed by Superintendent Dr. Gregg Weiss.

Weiss said the plan, “Strong Start 2020” calls for each school day to be extended by 20 minutes each day (10 in the morning and 10 in the afternoon). It allows the school year to conclude on May 27, which would not interfere with the district’s 187-day contract.

School board members appeared in favor of the return-to-school plan.

“Kids need face to face instruction,” said Trustee Derrell Ferguson. “I have four and we give instructions at home, but I know kids need face-to-face instruction.”

Jeff Burnthorn, executive director of Secondary and Student Services, presented a new Teacher Incentive Allotment plan in which educators can qualify for incentives as “Recognized, Exemplary or Master.”

House Bill 3, passed by the 86th Texas Legislature in June 2019, established an optional Teacher Incentive Allotment with a stated goal of a six-figure salary for teachers who prioritize teaching in high needs areas and rural district campuses.

Under the plan, a “Recognized teacher” would earn $4,908 for the district, and “Exemplary teacher” would earn $9,816 and a “Master teacher” $18,360.

A majority of the money would go to the teacher earning the qualifications, but a small portion would go to teachers participating in the program, hoping to earn the qualifications.

Weiss also reported the SISD requested a waiver from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) because the district did not report to the parents the results of the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) test last year because no tests were administered because of COVID-19 crisis.

Also, trustees approved an open request for proposal (RFP) for instructional materials, equipment, supplies and related items. They have been doing this each month, so new bidders can participate in the process.

The board approved a $383,160 bid from Dell for Chromebooks.

The district has received 1,000 new Chromebooks and should receive more. These new Chromebooks are more heavy-duty than Chrome books previously purchases. SISD officials estimated only 30 percent of the Chromebooks purchased two years ago is in use.

Trustees approved to change the district’s Workers Compensation Plan with Claims Administrative Services. SISD paid the penalty to be released from the previous plan.

The new plan is expected to save the district $60,000 for the first year and $30,000 for the second.

The board approved a $225,218.21 to purchase welding shop equipment for Silsbee High School from Coastal Welding.

The district had a $281,000 grant which required a 5-percent match ($11,000) for the equipment.

Trustees approved Weiss’ recommendation for $97,465 for an additional janitor at each campus to provide cleaning and disinfectants during the pandemic.

In other action, the board:

• Approved to raise meal prices by 10 cents for lunch.

• Approved Board Policy Update 115.

• Approved renewal of Student Athletic Insurance with Texas Kids First, effective Aug. 1.

• Approved the school calendar with the changes recommended by the superintendent. • Approved changing Bank

• Approved changing Bank signature cards at Wells Fargo due to a change in board officers.

• Approved the second extension of the Pest Control Service with Clark Pest Control.

• Approved the second extension with Munro’s Uniform Services for industrial laundry goods and services .

• Approved the first extension with Southern Lawn and Landscapes for contracted lawn and grounds services.

• Approved an agreement with Live Oak Public Finance LLC for financial advisory services. (The district will save $588,000 on the elementary school bond.)

Board President Sam Ed Harrell gave a strong recommendation for the services provided.

After the board came out of executive session, they announced the following personnel changes:

• Retired: Tammy Griffin

• Resignations: Jamie Hagler, Lisa Cockrum, Kristen Torrez, Kimberly Fuller and Cody Swafford (professional positions); Olivia Chapman and Jennifer Spell (paraprofessional or support staff positions).

• New employees: Peggy Burnthorn, Joshua Ortega, Raeleigh Freeman, Kara Baker, Kathryn Bardell, Courtney Potter, Dominque West, Burgandi Mason, Paula Tacker, Richard McAnally, James Parsley, Brittany Tawater, Nicole Few and Carla Fikes (professionals); Jade Carter, Christopher Russell, Ashley Culver, Krystin Moulder, Erin White and Missy Sundgren (support staff/paraprofessionals).

Trustee Janis Holt was named a delegate to the Texas Association of School Boards Delegate Assembly. Ferguson was chosen as an alternate.

The Silsbee Bee

P.O. Box 547
Silsbee, TX 77656
Phone: 409-385-5278
Fax: 409-385-5270