Clear Creek ISD extends COVID-19-related sick leave for employees through end of 2021-22 school year, plus other updates

Trustees and district leaders approved a number of items at the Nov. 15 board meeting, including an extension of pandemic-related sick leave benefits and modified language in a school boundary attendance policy. (Jake Magee/Community Impact Newspaper)
Trustees and district leaders approved a number of items at the Nov. 15 board meeting, including an extension of pandemic-related sick leave benefits and modified language in a school boundary attendance policy. (Jake Magee/Community Impact Newspaper)

Trustees and district leaders approved a number of items at the Nov. 15 board meeting, including an extension of pandemic-related sick leave benefits and modified language in a school boundary attendance policy. (Jake Magee/Community Impact Newspaper)

Clear Creek ISD trustees and district leaders approved a number of items at the Nov. 15 board meeting, including an extension of pandemic-related sick leave benefits and modified language in a school boundary attendance policy.

Staff members will be able to use 80 paid hours of sick leave if they fall ill with COVID-19 through June 2022, provided they present a positive test from a laboratory, after the board approved the extension of the benefit. The sick leave can also apply if a family member in the home of the staff member falls ill with COVID-19, said Casey O’Pry, assistant superintendent of human resources, during the meeting.

The board in December 2020 allowed for the continuation of the provisions outlined in the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act as they relate to sick leave, O’Pry said. This fall, a version of the provisions were approved; the resolution approved Nov. 15 extended the fall 2021 provisions.

Not all employees understood the protocols this fall, and 18 were not permitted to use this additional bank of sick leave because they did not submit a lab-confirmed test, O’Pry said. Those employees will have their sick leave hours returned to them, and the district will communicate with staff about which specific tests are acceptable.

The district’s retention rate is better now than it has been in the last six years, O’Pry said, and measures like this are meant to boost staff morale and ensure all employees feel supported. It will cost CCISD between $65,000 and $75,000 to provide the additional paid hours.


“We just don't know what the usage will look like,” O’Pry said, regarding the wide financial range.

School boundary policy revision

Trustees approved revisions to a school attendance zone policy after the policy committee made further revisions based on October board meeting feedback.

Initial policy changes recommended by administration were to increase the maximum number of public hearings from four to five in the "Boundary Change" section. This revision was reviewed at the September policy committee meeting and came before the board for final approval on its second reading Oct. 26. At that time, trustee Scott Bowen expressed concerns about the section that outlines factors considered in attendance zone changes.

Language was added to the policy to explicitly indicate that the district will not consider perceived or actual demographics when redrawing boundaries. This was in addition to the language increasing the number of public hearings.

“The committee shall not consider actual or perceived demographic characteristics when assigning students to attendance zones,” the policy now reads, based on language Bowen proposed. “These include but are not limited to: race/ethnicity, language, income, socioeconomic status, and historical or anticipated academic performance.”

This language sets forth the district intentions to keep neighborhoods contiguous, keep families together, and make decisions based on numbers and maps as opposed to characteristics of community members, Bowen said Nov. 15.

“It doesn’t matter which students show up at our doorstep the first day of kindergarten, it’s our job to educate them,” he added. “Students should be choosing our schools, not our schools choosing our students."

Trustees Arturo Sanchez and Laura DuPont, along with district staff, indicated they did not see a need for the change in language, since CCISD has never assigned boundaries based on actual or perceived demographic characteristics. The policy as amended, however, passed unanimously.

“The focus of boundary revisions is to optimize school facility usage and to accommodate growth patterns residing in those zones,” Sanchez said. “It’s important for the community to know that this is not our practice, and simply because we are adding this language does not mean we are correcting something.”

Other business:

  • Community members can provide feedback on the 2022-23 school year calendar until Nov. 28, Williams said during the meeting. Three draft calendars are available to view online, and a final calendar recommendation will come before the board at its next meeting.

  • Trustees approved the use of $110,000 in Victory Lakes tax increment reinvestment zone funds to replace the inoperable and obsolete stage lighting at Victory Lakes Intermediate School.

  • Construction will begin immediately on replacement of heating and cooling coils on outside air units at multiple campuses. Construction is set to be complete by the end of January. The units, which were damaged during the February freeze, were repaired temporarily earlier this year, and an insurance adjuster approved the replacement of these repaired coils with new coils, per board meeting documents. Repairs will cost $420,000 in total; capital and contingency reserve funds will cover the $50,000 deductible and insurance proceeds will cover remaining costs for all freeze damages.

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.


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