1. 2017-18 calendar is awaiting board approval
District staff presented a calendar for the 2017-18 school year with 174 days and 76,035 minutes of classroom instruction time after using waivers from the Texas Education Agency. The calendar would start school Aug. 22 and end May 31, with high school graduations to take place June 1 and 2.
Deputy Superintendent Christie Whitbeck said the district purposely delayed finalizing the calendar because of the need to accommodate the state’s requirement for at least 75,600 instructional minutes per year. She also said the district wanted to see what state mandate exemptions the local District of Innovation committee recommended FBISD pursue.
"It has truly been very much of a team effort,” Whitbeck said of the DOI committee and district calendar committee's collaboration on the final proposal.
One such exemption recommended was starting the school year before the normally required Aug. 28 date. Whitbeck also said the calendar gives students time to attend the Fort Bend County Fair and a full week of Thanksgiving vacation.
2. Innovation committee presents recommendations
As part of its plan to become a District of Innovation, FBISD trustees heard from the district’s innovation committee Monday for a list of recommended exemptions from state education mandates. Districts of Innovation have the flexibility to exempt themselves from certain requirements relating to instruction and staffing.
Committee members recommended exempting FBISD from Texas’ education code sections related to the start and end dates for the academic calendar, the length of a school day, teacher certifications for hard-to-fill positions, and the 90 percent attendance requirement for students.
If approved by the board, committee members said FBISD would have more flexibility to make its spring and fall semesters even in size, and to hire teachers for career and technical education classes who are not certified educators but possess highly specialized technical or language skills. Members also wanted to reach the 90-percent attendance requirement for the benefit of students who miss school under extraneous circumstances.
3. 4 percent raise proposed for staff
As a way to stay competitive when it comes to hiring, FBISD staff recommended the board approve a 4 percent general raise for non-teaching staff for about $4 million total. Recommendations also included adjusting the number of staff duty days from 226 to 238 for a cost of roughly $2 million, and making certain position salaries equitable with the market for about $2 million.
“In terms of our market and equity review this year we had a high focus on our auxiliary positions and as well as our technology positions,” FBISD Human Resources Director Gwyn Touchet said. “What we found is that by offering the 4 percent pay increase it would help close the gap that we found in our auxiliary group.”
She also asked the board to approve increased stipends for fine arts and student leadership positions, for a total of $978,950, and the reclassification of 10 employee positions for $174,187.