Substitutes in short supply at Dripping Springs ISD school campuses

Students walk through the Walnut Springs Elementary School campus on the first day of on-campus learning at Dripping Springs ISD on Sept. 14. (Courtesy Dripping Springs ISD)
Students walk through the Walnut Springs Elementary School campus on the first day of on-campus learning at Dripping Springs ISD on Sept. 14. (Courtesy Dripping Springs ISD)

Students walk through the Walnut Springs Elementary School campus on the first day of on-campus learning at Dripping Springs ISD on Sept. 14. (Courtesy Dripping Springs ISD)

Approximately 60% of Dripping Springs ISD students have been attending classes on campus for nearly three weeks, and according to administrators, all seven schools in the district have a need for additional substitute teachers.

DSISD Superintendent Todd Washburn said at the Sept. 28 board of trustees meeting that in the first few weeks of on-campus learning, schools have relied on support staff to fill in when needed as substitutes.

"The substitute issue is a big challenge for us. It really is. We welcome anyone who would sign up and be a substitute for us," he said.

According to DSISD data, 4,357 students are learning on campus out of the total enrollment of 7,257. As of Sept. 29, three students—two in elementary school and one in middle school—have tested positive for the virus. None of the district's 1,005 employees have tested positive, according to DSISD's dashboard.

Washburn said the safety protocols in place at the schools, from mandatory mask-wearing to adjusting bus routes, have helped keep those numbers low, and with substitutes needed, it will be important for the schools to continue with those precautions.


"We're really trying to make sure we put every safety protocol in place so we can continue to provide instructional support and provide classes in person," he said.

The window is currently open for DSISD parents to choose whether to have their child learn on-campus or virtually. Until 11:59 p.m. Oct. 2, parents can choose to stick with the initial decision they made at the beginning of the school year or to make a change.

DSISD officially adopts tax rate

The DSISD board of trustees passed its budget in June but had to wait until property tax rolls were officially certified to adopt its tax rate, which it approved Sept. 28.

The tax rate is $1.332 per $100 of valuation for fiscal year 2020-21, down from $1.4183 in FY 2019-20. That reduction is a result of House Bill 3, a law the Texas Legislature passed in 2019 that changed the funding formula for public schools across Texas.

The assessed value of the median home in Dripping Springs rose from $354,889 in 2019 to $376,600 in 2020, according to the Hays County Central Appraisal District. That means the owner of a median-value home will pay $5,016 in property taxes to the school district this year, down $17 from $5,033 last year.
By Jack Flagler
Jack is the editor of Community Impact Newspaper's Central Austin and Southwest Austin editions. He began his career as a sports reporter in Massachusetts and North Carolina before moving to Austin in 2018. He grew up in Maine and graduated from Boston University, but prefers tacos al pastor to lobster rolls. You can get in touch at jflagler@communityimpact.com


MOST RECENT

Photo of Holly Morris-Kuentz and communiity members
Dripping Springs ISD officially hires Holly Morris-Kuentz as superintendent

The hire comes after Morris-Kuentz was named lone finalist for the position in April.

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.

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.

building
WellMed clears next hurdle, gaining permit for proposed South Austin clinic and senior center

Sunset Valley will still have to approve a future building permit for the project later this 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.

The ACC Pinnacle campus has been closed since the spring of 2018 due to required maintenance of the out-dated facility. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin Community College to negotiate lease of Pinnacle campus, prohibiting concrete batch plant use

Trustees revised a previous action to negotiate a lease agreement with the contractors of the Oak Hill Parkway project in Southwest Austin.

New penalties for camping and several other activities will be enforced after the May 1 election is certified and Proposition B's homeless ordinances are in effect. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
With Proposition B's passage, Austin City Council looks to solidify homelessness summit goals, may consider designated campgrounds

The city may look to the concept of temporary designated campsites to house individuals experiencing homelessness after a new camping ban enacted through Proposition B goes into effect.

Photo of hands in purple gloves prepared a vaccine vial
As Travis County receives fewer vaccines this week, state asks for 'one more big push' in distribution

The Texas Department of State Health Services is shifting its distribution model for vaccines moving forward.