Clear Creek ISD to postpone May school board elections due to coronavirus

Clear Creek ISD will close all facilities through at least April 10. (Jake Magee/Community Impact Newspaper)
Clear Creek ISD will close all facilities through at least April 10. (Jake Magee/Community Impact Newspaper)

Clear Creek ISD will close all facilities through at least April 10. (Jake Magee/Community Impact Newspaper)

The elections for two seats in Clear Creek ISD districts 2 and 3, respectively, will be postponed until the general election on Nov. 3 after board of trustees members voted at the March 23 regular board meeting to delay the elections from their initial May 2 date.

This is a one-time action, and the cycle will return to May elections in 2021, according to the agenda item information form presented at the meeting. Win Weber and Arturo Sanchez—who represent districts 2 and 3, respectively—are both up for re-election and will continue to serve until the results of the November election.

Gov. Greg Abbott on March 13 declared a state of disaster for all counties in Texas and, in response to the upcoming May elections, later signed a proclamation allowing political subdivisions with May 2 elections to move their elections to the general election date.

Michelle Davis, who will vie for the District 2 seat, provided community input at the board meeting—which was held virtually—to call for an election postponement. Nonincumbents are losing face-to-face time with their constituents, she said.


Candidates are not able to block walk due to the coronavirus and would be at a distinct disadvantage to incumbents if [the election date is] not changed,” she wrote.



Paul McLarty, deputy superintendent of business and support services, said at the meeting that elderly election polling place workers are some of the most at-risk members of the community in terms of susceptibility to COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Turnout would also likely be low, therefore not allowing for a good cross-section of either district, he added.

The effects of the coronavirus came up in another agenda item when the board voted to approve a resolution that would allow for extra pay for
hourly employees. Hourly, nonexempt employees are not being asked to work unless there is an absolute necessity, McLarty said, but some will be needed to keep the district operating smoothly during the period of distance learning. The district will remain closed until April 10.

Salaried workers will see no changes in pay, but hourly workers will be compensated for additional work, whether they complete it at home or at CCISD facilities, McLarty said.

“We have enough savings, I think, in some of our other areas of the budget, where we’re not going to be negatively impacted,” McLarty said at the meeting.

Leila Sarmecanic, the general counsel for the district, said similar measures were taken during the state of emergency caused by Hurricane Harvey, and that the resolution is written so that the board would have the authority to approve the resolution as opposed to only Superintendent Greg Smith.

The agenda information item sheet said Smith authorized the payment of employees during the emergency closure of the district due to the imminent threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, beginning March 16 through at least March 20. The resolution’s approval ensures continued wage payments to employees for the entire duration of the emergency closure.

Trustee Win Weber said measures such as this could help the district with retention of its hourly employees. Smith said 5,000 people are employed by the district in total.

“I see this as only fair,” at-large trustee Scott Bowen said. “[Employees are] working as hard as ever.”

Smith echoed McLarty’s sentiment that the district is fiscally strong, adding that the Texas Education Agency is continuing to provide funding to districts as if they were physically open. He and board President Laura DuPont encouraged students and parents to continue communicating with teachers, since the current setting and pace of virtual academics may be too fast for some students or too slow for others.

“I think we’ll come out of this with people realizing the value of public education,” DuPont said.




By Colleen Ferguson
A native central New Yorker, Colleen Ferguson worked as an editorial intern with the Cy-Fair and Lake Houston | Humble | Kingwood editions of Community Impact before joining the Bay Area team in 2020. Colleen graduated from Syracuse University in 2019, where she worked for the campus's independent student newspaper The Daily Orange, with a degree in Newspaper and Online Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and a degree in Spanish language and culture. Colleen previously interned with The Journal News/lohud, where she covered the commute in the greater New York City area.

<

MOST RECENT

Another 1,372 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Harris County over the Sept. 19-20 weekend along with 48 deaths caused by the virus. (Community Impact staff)
Harris County coronavirus count: Texas Medical Center positivity rate under 5% for two straight weeks

A low positivity rate is one of three metrics medical center officials are tracking that they say may indicate a declining spread of the virus.

The Kemah-based nonprofit has provided urban farm experiences to local youth since 2013. (Courtesy Gardenkids of Kemah)
Gardenkids of Kemah aims to help local youth 'protect, plant and play'

The nonprofit will participate in Eco Fest at Hometown Heroes Park in League City on Sept. 19.

Free COVID-19 testing will be available to festival staff, participants and patrons every weekend of the festival this fall. (Courtesy Steven David Photography)
Free COVID-19 testing at Texas Renaissance Festival and more Houston-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Houston area.

Free COVID-19 testing will be available to festival staff, participants and patrons every weekend of the festival this fall. (Courtesy Steven David Photography)
Texas Renaissance Festival to offer free COVID-19 rapid testing throughout season

Additionally, a free drive-thru testing site will be set up in Todd Mission on Sept. 19.

According to a Texas Supreme Court order, all eviction notices in the state must be accompanied with the CDC eviction order's declaration form. (Courtesy Pexel)
Texas Supreme Court issues order strengthening CDC eviction moratorium

The action aims to strengthen a federal order that renters' advocates say has been falling short in eviction court.

Here is a roundup of local business news in Clear Lake and League City. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
IMPACTS ROUNDUP: Pizza Lounge new location coming soon and more

Here is a roundup of local business news in Clear Lake and League City.

Here are the latest coronavirus data updates for Galveston County. (Community Impact staff)
Galveston County removes many of Sept. 8 reported deaths; total now 139

The percentage of active COVID-19 cases has also dropped below 20% for the first time in September.

Dr. Sam Rolon is a physician for Baylor St. Luke's Medical Group Creekside Family Medicine in The Woodlands. (Courtesy St. Luke's Health)
Q&A: St. Luke's physician shares advice on flu season, vaccine and prevention

The influenza vaccine is recommended for nearly all patients of all ages ahead of this year's flu season, Dr. Sam Rolon said.

student in mask
TEA launches statewide COVID-19 dashboard for public schools

The Texas Education Agency, in collaboration with the Texas Department of State Health Services, has launched its latest COVID-19 dashboard for positive cases in Texas public schools.

Houston Police Department is joining Harris County's cite-and-release program. (Courtesy HTV)
Houston Police Department to join Harris County cite-and-release program

Houston Police Department is joining Harris County's cite-and-release program.

Clear Creek ISD has more than 42,000 total students, about 65% of whom returned to in-person learning at the start of the 2020-21 school year. (Jake Magee/Community Impact Newspaper)
Clear Creek ISD superintendent search continues with board discussion of targets

The CCISD board of trustees have defined the 2020-21 superintendent targets that will be be used in the annual review process this spring during campus planning.

The Houston Food Bank is looking for more volunteers as it handles increased food distribution during COVID-19. (Courtesy Houston Food Bank)
Houston Food Bank: COVID-19 pandemic amplifies already-high food insecurity rates across region

Before COVID-19, the Houston Food Bank distributed about 400,000 pounds of food daily. That number has since increased to about 1 million pounds a day.