Lewisville ISD board of trustees unanimously approved a resolution allowing schools districtwide to accept chaplains as volunteers.

Under the resolution, LISD campuses may permit chaplains to volunteer if the individual meets the district’s volunteer program requirements. To volunteer in LISD candidates must create a VOLY account, the district’s volunteer management system, and undergo a background check, according to documents.

In accordance with policy, volunteers shall not be used to replace the position or functions of salaried professional or paraprofessional employees.

The background

In May, the 88th Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 763, which amended sections of the Texas Education Code to allow school districts to use safety funds to employ chaplains as counselors without requiring certification by the State Board for Educator Certification. Under these changes, the board of trustees can assign chaplains to provide support, services and programs for students at its discretion, according to Texas Education Code section 23.001.

The bill also mandates districts take a record vote between Sept. 1, 2023-March 1, 2024, either adopting or rejecting the policy. This requirement prompted the LISD board into action.

Also of note

In LISD, volunteers provide services through various district and school-based programs, including Parent Teacher Associations, Campus Advisory Councils, and other campus and school-based opportunities.

While the district permits any qualified person to volunteer for these roles regardless of chaplain status, it declined to expand its current support, services or programs under section 23 of the Texas Education Code, according to district documents.

Other school districts have discussed the issue.