Frisco ISD board approves adding superintendent authority during COVID-19, offers updates

The board convened via video conference April 1. (Courtesy Frisco ISD)
The board convened via video conference April 1. (Courtesy Frisco ISD)

The board convened via video conference April 1. (Courtesy Frisco ISD)

Frisco ISD Superintendent Mike Waldrip now has added authority to make decisions during the COVID-19 emergency following a unanimous vote by the board of trustees at an April 1 video conference meeting.

The board also approved postponing its May election for two board seats to November.

These approvals followed status updates by district departments regarding instruction, campus operations and seniors.

Superintendent authority

FISD schools and offices remain closed through May 4 following an executive order by Gov. Greg Abbott.

To prepare the district to respond to national, state and local emergency declarations related to coronavirus, Superintendent Waldrip can now make the following delegations, according to FISD documents:

  • Act in place of the board and make all decisions regarding the payment of employees during an emergency closure;

  • Make decisions regarding compensation of exempt and nonexempt employees during emergency closure;

  • Alter FISD’s 2019-20 school calendar by changing or adding instructional hours and work or schools days as needed by emergency closure or related concerns;

  • Create guidelines and make determinations for absences, leave time, leave days and compensation of any employee who is quarantined as a result of coronavirus;

  • Seek necessary and available waivers from the Texas Education Agency; and

  • Submit other waivers with guidance from national, state or local authorities.

Testing and dual credit

As FISD enters its third week of digital instruction, Chief Academic Officer Wes Cunningham said the district is working with the College Board to respond as to where SAT and Advanced Placement exams stand for students.

“We’re still waiting on additional information from them coming in the next few days,” he said during the meeting.

FISD is also in talks with administrators across the district and state to respond to the changes in the Texas Student Success Initiative, State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness and End-of-Course assessments, Cunningham said.

The district is working with Collin College and the University of North Texas to get all dual credit programs online for students, Cunningham said.

So far, FISD has expanded dual credit with Collin College to be entirely online, he said.

“We’re working with UNT to continue our North Texas Now! program,” Cunningham said.

Campus projects and cleanings

During closures, district operations have had a “great opportunity” to move forward with projects already underway and begin others earlier, FISD Executive Director of Operations Scott Warstler said.

Construction for Emerson High School, FISD’s 11th high school, is going forward as planned, he said.

“If you drive by, you now see it going vertical,” Warstler said at the meeting.

Elementary playground resurfacing is also ongoing, Warstler said. So far, 29 elementary campuses have been completed, five are under construction and seven have not started, he said.

Twenty-year refresh projects for Anderson and Christie elementary schools, which normally occur in the summer, have started early with students being out, Warstler said. Construction began March 23 on both schools' gymnasiums, he said.

All FISD facilities were disinfected and given a deep cleaning after the parent of a Tadlock Elementary School student tested positive for coronavirus in early March, Executive Director of Support Services Clarence Williams said.

“While we were out for spring break, all of our campuses were disinfected at least twice,” he said at the meeting, "with some of our campuses going through it three times.”

Updates for FISD seniors

Plans are in the works to address graduation and related activities for FISD seniors, Chief Student Services Officer Erin Miller said.

“Obviously, the big thing on our mind is graduation and thinking through what that could be,” Miller said at the meeting.

The district is looking into a new process to deliver caps and gowns to seniors, she said, as well as to provide community service hours for seniors looking to get community service cords.

“It’s a lot of collaboration and thinking through, ‘What if?’” Miller said.
By Elizabeth Ucles
Elizabeth is the reporter for Community Impact Newspaper's Frisco edition. She graduated from St. Edward's University with a degree in Writing and Rhetoric with a journalism concentration and a minor in Spanish in May 2019. Elizabeth covers public and higher education, development and transportation.


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