Eanes ISD board votes to uphold superintendent's authority to make necessary decisions during COVID-19 pandemic

Trustees met virtually April 28 for a regular monthly board meeting. (Courtesy Eanes ISD)
Trustees met virtually April 28 for a regular monthly board meeting. (Courtesy Eanes ISD)

Trustees met virtually April 28 for a regular monthly board meeting. (Courtesy Eanes ISD)

The Eanes ISD board of trustees met virtually April 28 for a regular meeting, ending with an agenda item related to the coronavirus pandemic.

The item would have effectively revoked a delegation of authority to Superintendent Tom Leonard, which was passed by trustees during an emergency called meeting March 14.

The resolution allows Leonard to take mitigative actions when necessary during the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, a move Leonard said provides the district with the ability to stay agile.

Trustee John Havenstrite expressed immediate hesitation in the potential revocation. According to Havenstrite, as the pandemic continues he would like to see the district remain flexible in its decision-making process.

Trustee Jason Paull agreed, saying he also opposed the agenda item.

“[Leonard] is really active in our interests,” Paull said. “Like John, I think there’s still a ton of uncertainty.”

According to Leonard, the delegated authority has been utilized on one occasion since March 14. A decision was made to provide premium pay to a number of the district’s essential staff such as cleaning crews and food and nutrition employees in light of the pandemic. These employees are those required to physically work on campus.

Trustee James Spradley disagreed with fellow board members arguing the board should not delay this decision any further.

When the board initially passed the resolution, there was uncertainty related to how the board could legally meet on a virtual platform while staying in compliance with the Texas Open Meetings Act. According to Spradley, the state has since modified regulations allowing the board to meet through videoconference.

“I think we owe it to [Leonard] to be a team of eight,” Spradley said. “We don’t need to continue to put this off.”

Leonard noted he was comfortable with the board's decision either way, saying many decisions that have been made since March have been administration decisions and therefore would not have required the delegation of authority.

Following a discussion, the board opposed the agenda item 6-1 with Spradley voting in favor.

As stated in the resolution, Leonard has the authority to make a number of decisions for the benefit of students and staff, including those on employee compensation, state waivers and more.

By Amy Rae Dadamo
Amy Rae Dadamo is the reporter for Lake Travis-Westlake, where her work focuses on city government and education. Originally from New Jersey, Amy Rae relocated to Austin after graduating from Ramapo College of New Jersey in May 2019.


A pilot Austin Police Department cadet class is now set to commence in June under an updated training regimen and with additional city and community oversight on the APD academy's culture and curriculum. (John Cox/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin City Council votes to restart APD cadet training in June, with framework for ongoing reviews of pilot academy

The Austin Police Department's 144th cadet class will now kick off training next month, with continued oversight of APD's instruction and culture throughout the 34-week academy process.

A sign advertises a property for rent in Austin on May 6. Local eviction orders remain in place through August 1 protecting most tenants from eviction. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Local eviction moratoriums remain in effect despite federal judge’s decision

The May 5 ruling from a U.S. District Court judge striking down a federal moratorium does not affect orders in place in Austin or Travis County.

Juneau was adopted at Austin Animal Center in November 2019. (Amy Rae Dadamo/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin Animal Center reaches critical capacity, opens doors to all adopters for first time since May 2020

Austin and Travis County’s animal shelter, Austin Animal Center, reached negative kennel space May 4, meaning there are more dogs than available kennels, according to a release from the city of Austin.

Residential appraisal valuations have been sent to Travis County property owners. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Travis Central Appraisal Districts says hot housing market is reflected in 2021 appraisals

Property owners have until May 17 to file a protest of their home's appraisal.

The Austin City Council is set to meet May 6 to go over a 70-item agenda. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin City Hall notebook: Votes on revamped APD cadet academy, possible shift in homeless strategy on tap May 6

Council may look to the possibility of establishing designated campgrounds for the Austin's homeless this spring, with a citywide public camping ban set to go into effect May 11.

The Wayback offers outdoor live music. (Courtesy Heather Thompson Photography)
Lake Travis mermaids, live music and more. Here's 13 things to do in the Lake Travis-Westlake region this spring

Here's a list of things to do in the Lake Travis-Westlake region from May to early June.

Heidi Sloan will assume the position of head of school on July 1. (Courtesy St. Michael's Catholic Academy)
St. Michael’s Catholic Academy announces new head of school

As director of academics, Sloan spearheaded the school’s Winter Term program—a global travel internship program currently in its sixth year.

Austin City Council will vote on whether to reboot the police department's training academy May 6. (Courtesy Austin Police Department)
Benchmarks for 'reimagined' APD cadet academy on track ahead of City Council commencement vote

Training of the Austin Police Department's 144th cadet class could get underway next month following an overhaul of the academy's instructional process and curriculum.

Photo of a gloved hand holding a vaccine vial with the words "vaccine news" superimposed
Austin-area health officials prep for vaccines to open to kids 12 and up

Austin-Travis County interim Health Authority Mark Escott said he expects the FDA to authorize Pfizer's vaccine for kids 12 and up within a week.

Catch up on election results from the Lake Travis-Westlake area. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
ROUNDUP: Election results, reactions from the Lake Travis-Westlake region

Lake Travis-Westlake residents took to the polls May 1 to cast their ballot in several location elections. Following the final results, the region will see a new mayor, a new school board member and changes to city charters.

Reunión 19 is serving tacos, burritos and more at The Waypoint Food Truck. (Courtesy Reunión 19)
East Austin taqueria opens location in Lake Travis food truck park

Reunión 19, an East Austin-based taqueria, opened a new food truck in April at The Waypoint Food Trailer Park in the Hudson Bend area.