Clear Creek ISD approves buying instructional materials and school buses, creating behavior-related position

The Clear Creek ISD board of trustees March 25 approved millions of dollars worth of agenda items, including spending $4 million on instructional materials, over $2 million on new school buses and a recurring cost of nearly $80,000 for a new behavior-related position.

District officials said subcommittees of teachers and parents came up with recommendations for materials and resources, mainly textbooks, for classes including English language arts and reading, Spanish language arts and reading, spelling, handwriting and English learners language arts. The list of recommended instructional materials, which the board approved, totals $4 million.

With board approval, district officials will now begin negotiating with vendors for the materials, according to the documents.

The board also approved buying 19 new 71-passenger school buses for $2.36 million and 5 new 47-passenger school buses for $540,000. Bonds, not the district’s operating budget, will fund the purchases.

Senate Bill 693, which was signed into law in 2017, requires all school buses built in 2018 and later to be equipped with seat belts. Superintendent Greg Smith called the mandate nonsensical.

“[School buses] are the most regulated vehicle on the roadway and safe as they are,” trustee Chris Reed said.

School districts can opt out of the unfunded mandate if a school board decides the district cannot afford buses with seat belts. The CCISD board voted 6-1 to opt out, saving the district an extra $119,600, which equates to an entire school bus. Trustee Arturo Sanchez was the lone dissenting vote.

Five of the buses will include seat belts by default because they are made for special-needs students.

The board also approved spending $3.47 million of 2017 bond funds for repairs and renovations at Bauerschlag, Falcon Pass, Gilmore, Goforth, Robinson and Weber elementary schools. Construction will begin this month and finish in July.

Finally, the board also approved creating a coordinator of student behavior support position at a recurring cost of $79,129.

Parents of special education students have made complaints about teachers’ response to students’ behavior, claiming they are restrained and put in timeout too often. An audit of the district’s special education program shows the district has an overreliance of using restraint.

The district recommended creating the new position to help address some of these concerns. The position will allow an additional 10-15 schools next year to receive behavior-related support.
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