Leander ISD considers $800 employee stipends; district looks to fill substitute vacancies

lisd
The district and board of trustees discussed the move at the Nov. 5 board meeting. (Community Impact file photo)

The district and board of trustees discussed the move at the Nov. 5 board meeting. (Community Impact file photo)

Leander ISD employees may get an $800 stipend in December to cover personal protective equipment expenses related to the pandemic.

The district and board of trustees discussed the amended compensation plan at the Nov. 5 meeting. Approval is pending a board vote Nov. 19.

This is an alternative to the 2% one-time payment suggested in May, which was in lieu of a permanent raise in the 2020-21 budget. The 2% payment was dependent on the school district reaching student enrollment criteria. Enrollment was about 1,000 students short of the 43,100 criteria on Oct. 30.

The district would provide full-time employees with an $800 stipend, and 0.5 full-time equivalent employees would receive $400. Payments would be given in December, according to the district.

The plan also includes the hiring of a third-party vendor to provide substitutes at a 100% fill rate. The district said listening sessions showed a need for additional substitutes, said Karie Lynn McSpadden, the district’s chief human resources officer.


Board Member Elexis Grimes said the stipends are a small gesture of kindness to teachers. She said many teachers have spent their own money this school year on computers, audio equipment and other items.

The district set aside $5.4 million for the now unfulfilled one-time payments, which would cover the approved stipends and vendor hiring. The amended plan will not require a budget amendment.

Board member Aaron Johnson raised concerns about the district’s current budget deficit, and he questioned how the stipends would affect the district’s existing fund balance.

In response, Board Member Gloria Gonzales-Dholakia said a global pandemic is an example of a time to use the fund balance. She said the district’s choice to give stipends is important for educators’ morale.

Superintendent Bruce Gearing said the conversation should be focused on the opportunity to support teachers in a difficult time.

“I think we have an opportunity now to do something to help support our teachers," he said. "And not just our teachers but all of our staff."
By Taylor Girtman
After interning with Community Impact Newspaper in 2019, Taylor Girtman became a reporter for the Cedar Park and Leander edition in February 2020.


MOST RECENT

Courtney Manuel (center), I Live Here I Give Here executive director, and and board chair Kathy Smith-Willman (right) stand with Edward B. Burger, St. David's Foundation executive director, during Amplify Austin Day 2020. (Courtesy Trent Lee Photography)
Here's how to support Central Texas nonprofits during ninth annual Amplify Austin Day on March 4-5

The annual 24-hour giving campaign will begin at 6 p.m. on March 4.

People wait in line to receive a vaccine at an Austin Public Health vaccination site. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Texas offers COVID-19 vaccinations to school, child care workers

Educators, school staff and child care professionals are qualified to receive coronavirus vaccines effective immediately.

In response to Gov. Greg Abbott's March 2 announcement that Texas' statewide mask mandate and COVID-19-related business restrictions will be lifted as of March 10, the Texas Education Agency released updated public health guidance March 3. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Updated Texas Education Agency guidance allows individual school boards to determine mask policies

"Under this updated guidance, a public school system's current practices on masks may continue unchanged. Local school boards have full authority to determine their local mask policy," the release reads.

H-E-B will continue to require employees to wear face masks until further notice. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
H-E-B to require employees, ask customers to be masked despite upcoming expiration of governor's mandate

H-E-B officials announced their employees and vendors would still be required to be masked while on the job, and customers would be encouraged to wear masks while in stores.

Photo from inside a movie theater
Alamo Drafthouse files for bankruptcy, closes theaters in downtown Austin and New Braunfels

Most theaters will remain open under an asset purchase agreement to the company's senior lending partners.

Williamson County will follow Gov. Greg Abbott mask mandate changes. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)
Williamson County to follow governor's mask mandate changes

The change will go into effect March 10.

See how COVID-19 impacted Williamson County in February. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
See how COVID-19 impacted Williamson County in February

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases decreased significantly month-over-month in Williamson County.

reveal resource center car line
LIST: 22 Cedar Park, Leander nonprofits to donate to on Amplify Austin Day

The 24-hour annual giving event begins at 6 p.m. March 4.

Austin ISD and other districts in Central Texas are waiting for further TEA guidance on mask requirements. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
UPDATE: Most Central Texas school district say they will continue requiring students, staff to wear masks; updated TEA guidelines expected later this week

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced March 2 that mask mandates and business capacity restrictions will be lifted in Texas.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced March 2 that mask mandates and business capacity restrictions will be lifted in Texas. (Courtesy Office of the Texas Governor)
Gov. Greg Abbott lifts statewide mask mandate, business restrictions in Texas

With vaccine distribution increasing, Gov. Greg Abbott said "people and businesses don't need the state telling them how to operate." Some local officials are pushing back, saying the relaxed restrictions are coming too early.