Clear Creek ISD board of trustees approves addition of more than 30 full-time employees for 2020-21

Clear Creek ISD's board of trustees has met via videoconferencing software for the last several weeks in light of the coronavirus pandemic. (Screenshot via Clear Creek ISD)
Clear Creek ISD's board of trustees has met via videoconferencing software for the last several weeks in light of the coronavirus pandemic. (Screenshot via Clear Creek ISD)

Clear Creek ISD's board of trustees has met via videoconferencing software for the last several weeks in light of the coronavirus pandemic. (Screenshot via Clear Creek ISD)

At its April 27 regular meeting, the Clear Creek ISD board of trustees approved additional units for growth in the 2020-21 budget, gave updates about coronavirus-related matters and approved the use of more than $30 million in 2017 bond funds for district facility improvements.

Budget growth includes hiring additional full-time employees

District officials presented information about CCISD’s current staff and highlighted areas for potential growth during the meeting. The board should consider adding resources for special education, English language learner and economically disadvantaged or at-risk students, among other populations, and should also strive for an increase in staffing to meet specific pupil-teacher ratios, district officials said.

The district has approved an addition of at least 30 new full-time employees in each of the three previous academic years, officials said. Based on their analysis, 43 full-time employees and one part-time employee would be needed to fill existing gaps for the 2020-21 school year. Seven current full-time employees could, however, have their job roles redefined to meet the district’s needs, based on the analysis.

The human resources department therefore requested room be made in the budget for 36 full-time employees and one part-time employee. The board’s approval means another $2.26 million will be added to the CCISD budget for the 2020-21 academic year.

Coronavirus-related updates

The district’s decision to switch to a pass-fail grading system for the spring semester in light of the coronavirus pandemic sparked pushback from parents, students and community members. President Laura DuPont said at the start of the April 27 meeting that the board has asked the district to develop a one-page supplement letter meant to provide college admissions officials with context behind a student’s spring 2020 grades.

The letter, which would be signed by DuPont and Superintendent Greg Smith, would be provided to students upon request and would include more detailed data about the student’s grades during the third nine weeks of the year. The absence of any letter grades for the third nine weeks in report cards was a point of contention for parents and students at the April 20 special meeting.

announced April 24 that its graduation ceremonies will be held the weekend of July 25, with five high schools celebrating commencement at NRG Stadium. Smith said at the board meeting that a schedule of the weekend’s ceremonies can be expected within the next week.

A resolution that was passed on March 23 to provide employees with emergency pay during the district’s closure was amended at the April 27 meeting. The March resolution stated that nonexempt employees who were asked to work during the pandemic would receive double pay.

Leila Sarmecanic, the district’s general counsel, said at the April 27 meeting that not all necessary nonexempt employees were being asked to work in an attempt to minimize the budgetary effect. The resolution was therefore amended so nonexempt employees will receive their normal pay when working, the same as exempt employees.

Other business

The board also approved the use of approximately $32.5 million in bond funds from 2017 for various construction projects. The rebuilding of Clear View High School—which will begin in May and be “substantially complete” by August 2022, according to the agenda item information sheet—will cost about $32.3 million, with the remainder going toward projects at Greene Elementary School and Westbrook Intermediate School.

Three additional projects were approved by the board: the replacement of the Clear Springs High School synthetic track, the replacement of the synthetic turf at the Challenger Columbia Stadium and Clear Falls High School, and the replacement of the Clear Brook High School natural turf. Each of the campuses receiving money was damaged by Hurricane Harvey. The replacements are funded through capital projects and grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s public assistance grant. In total, around $2 million was awarded for these projects.

By Colleen Ferguson

Reporter, Bay Area

A native central New Yorker, Colleen worked as an editorial intern with the Cy-Fair and Lake Houston | Humble | Kingwood editions of Community Impact Newspaper before joining the Bay Area team in 2020. She covers public education, higher education, business and development news in southeast Houston. Colleen graduated in 2019 from Syracuse University and the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, where she worked for the university's independent student newspaper The Daily Orange. Her degrees are in journalism and Spanish language and culture. When not chasing a story, Colleen can be found petting cats and dogs, listening to podcasts, swimming or watching true crime documentaries.