Richardson ISD saw winter storm damage at 45 of its campuses

RISD administration building.
Richardson ISD offered in-person instruction at all but three of its campuses Feb. 22. (Community Impact staff)

Richardson ISD offered in-person instruction at all but three of its campuses Feb. 22. (Community Impact staff)

Image description
Richardson ISD is dealing with the aftermath of last week's severe winter storms. (William C. Wadsack/Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
The Richardson ISD board of trustees delegated authority to Superintendent Jeannie Stone to make decisions needed to continue operations and student instruction in the aftermath of the winter storm. (Screenshot courtesy Richardson ISD)
More than 80% of Richardson ISD’s campuses saw some type of damage from last week’s winter storm, but the district was able to hold in-person classes at all but three of its schools Feb. 22.

Of the three schools that did only virtual instruction Monday, Hamilton Park Pacesetter Magnet and Math Science Technology Magnet will return to offering in-person learning Feb. 23, Assistant Superintendent Sandra Hayes said during a Feb. 22 RISD board of trustees meeting. A date for when Richardson High School, which was the other school that offered only virtual instruction Feb. 22, would reopen has not yet been determined, Hayes said.

“We are in a good place tonight,” Hayes said. “All of our buildings are operational with the exception of Richardson High School. After doing our assessment, 45 of the 55 [campuses in RISD] had some type of damage from the winter storm.”

The district had emergency crews out at campuses Feb. 15-17 as needed, said Hayes, who oversees district operations. District staff then worked Feb. 18-21 to get campuses prepared for classes, she said.

Superintendent Jeannie Stone said the district’s ability to have water and heat in its buildings was an important component in the decision to have school Feb. 22, as was RISD’s ability to feed its students.


Hayes explained Richardson High saw a water pipe in the kitchen area that had previously been patched break again, and a separate pipe in its fire sprinkler system also needs to be repaired.

“They made a lot of progress today, and we'll continue to make that progress tomorrow and let Dr. Stone decide what needs to be done after that,” Hayes said.

She said the district does not yet have a financial estimate on the amount of damage the storm caused at district campuses. RISD Chief Financial Officer David Pate said the district’s insurance deductible for its buildings is $100,000 and its total coverage limit is $250 million.

“I don't expect at all that we would reach anywhere near our total coverage limit,” Pate said. “Then on the mechanical equipment, our deductible on that is $10,000. We certainly have the funding between [the] general fund’s fund balance and local capital projects to be able to fund these repairs and then get our recovery [payments] from our insurance companies.”

In addition to the update on district operations, the board also unanimously approved a resolution delegating Stone the authority to make decisions on behalf of the district so it can continue operations and student instruction in the aftermath of the storm.

“As we move into the next week or two where we're needing to make repairs and make some decisions, I need to have the authority to be able to take some action that may normally require board action,” Stone said to the board. “At each subsequent meeting, I'll give you an update on any action that was taken.”

That resolution also gives Stone authority to decide how the district will allow employees to be paid for missed work days.

“The bottom line here in terms of pay is that we do not want any of our employees to be docked pay on account of the unexpected days off last week,” Stone said.

While not all district personnel were able to return to schools on Feb. 22 because of issues with their own homes, Stone said student attendance was above 93% for the day.

Deputy Superintendent Tabitha Branum said the district is eligible for a waiver for the missed instructional minutes from the Texas Education Agency that should keep RISD from having to make any changes to its school calendar.

“As a result of that [waiver], we will not have to use our banked minutes, nor will we have to use our April or May snow days,” Branum said. “We're very fortunate. We feel like we are set up, pending any other future weather events, [so] we will not have to make a change to the calendar. That still leaves us with available banked minutes for any other kind of situation that may develop [during the last] 11 weeks left of the school year.”
By William C. Wadsack
William C. Wadsack is the senior reporter for the Plano and Richardson editions of Community Impact Newspaper. He previously served as managing editor of several daily and weekly publications in North Texas and his native state of Louisiana before joining Community Impact Newspaper in 2019.


MOST RECENT

digital rendering of virus
Collin County Judge Chris Hill rescinds COVID-19 disaster declaration

Collin County’s declaration of local disaster in response to COVID-19 was rescinded Feb. 26 by Judge Chris Hill.

See how COVID-19 impacted Dallas County over the last week. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Tracking COVID-19: New cases drop after power outages, testing site closures in Dallas County

After a recent decline in new coronavirus cases in Dallas County, officials expect the case counts to rise again in the coming days as testing facilities have reopened following winter storm closures from being without power last week.

Hooks family.
Richardson institution Hooks Vacuums offers vacuum sales, repairs

Hooks Vacuums has long been a familiar sight for those driving down Main Street in Richardson.

Two hundred rail pieces were delivered east of Shiloh Road in Plano in late 2020, according to a Dec. 18 DART release. (Courtesy Dallas Area Rapid Transit)
DART to save millions on Silver Line project following approval of refinanced loan from U.S. Department of Transportation

The $908 million loan was approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Build America Bureau in 2018, according to a Feb. 25 news release.

At its peak of power loss, the city had roughly 50,000 homes with interrupted power, many of which had prolonged outages, Plano City Manager Mark Israelson said. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Plano faces long-term impacts from storm; Collin County vaccine hubs resume service and more DFW-area news

Read the top business and community news from this week from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Snow covers I-45 in Houston during a winter storm that hit Texas the night of Feb. 14. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)
Legislators probe energy officials over power failures, lack of preparation heading into winter storm

The Texas Legislature held hearings Feb. 25 with energy companies including Oncor Electric Delivery and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas in response to last week’s historic winter storm, which left millions of Texans without electricity for days.

In the northeast quadrant of DART's coverage area—which includes Plano, Richardson, northeast Dallas, Rowlett and Garland—current plans show new and expanded GoLink zones, with current bus routes being replaced by shuttle service. (Courtesy DART)
Draft for DART network redesign shows increase in shuttle service, access in areas of Plano, Richardson

In the northeast quadrant of DART's coverage area—which includes Plano, Richardson, northeast Dallas, Rowlett and Garland—current plans show new and expanded GoLink zones, with current bus routes being replaced by shuttle service.

The North Texas Municipal Water District has lifted its request for its member cities to reduce water use. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Collin County water supplier lifts water conservation request

With water demands returning to normal levels, the North Texas Municipal Water District has lifted its request to reduce nonessential water use within its service area, which includes the cities of Frisco, McKinney, Plano and Richardson.

Texas Health Resources nurse Karen Schmidt administers a Pfizer vaccination Plano resident Connie Cordova's arm Feb. 5. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
City of Richardson partners with counties to vaccinate, inform residents

The city of Richardson has prioritized informing its residents and helping counties run COVID-19 vaccine hubs as doses of the shot remain limited, officials shared.

The coffee and wine bar offers signature drinks, such as the Honey Bear Latte, made with honey and cinnamon, as well as food options, such as breakfast tacos, charcuterie boards, baked goods and snack boxes. (Courtesy Golden Boy Coffee Co.)
Golden Boy Coffee Co. opens in Plano; Black Rock Coffee Bar coming to Southlake and more DFW-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Texadelphia food.
Texadelphia relocates to Richardson Restaurant Park

The restaurant offers a variety of original Texas cheesesteaks, salads, burgers and sandwiches.

As many as 31 stores across nine states will be shuttered as Fry's Electronics shuts down due to market changes and the pandemic. (Courtesy Qygen, Wikimedia Commons)
Fry's Electronics calls it quits after nearly 36 years in business

As many as 31 stores across nine states will be shuttered as Fry's Electronics shuts down due to market changes and the pandemic.