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Pay Raise for Teachers Discussed at Special Session

Pay Raise for Teachers Discussed at Special Session

Budgeting has begun at campus and district levels

 

 

 

A WFISD teacher can expect a pay raise in the fall, but the full amount of it won’t be clear for awhile yet.

 

For now, a WFISD proposal will give the District’s teachers, librarians and nurses (who share a salary pay scale) a $500 pay increase along with the annual step increase, plus an extra $1,152 for employees who are insured by the Employee Only TRS ActiveCare to offset a proposed $96/monthly insurance premium hike by TRS.

 

TRS votes on its employee healthcare increase on June 2.

 

As the budgeting process continues, board members will eventually consider a 1 percent, 2 percent or 3 percent pay raise for the rest of WFISD employees.

 

The budget update came during the WFISD Special Session at the Education Center at noon May 9.

 

New teachers’ starting pay

With the proposed $500 increase to teacher salaries, the starting pay for new teachers will rise to $43,500.

 

The next budget draft will be brought to board members during a work session June 13.

 

Career Education Center update

Progress on the Career Education Center continues at a fast pace, with more than 100 workers at the site seven days a week. The CEC is scheduled to open for a ribbon-cutting Aug. 8.

 

Associate Superintendent Peter Griffiths reported that ceiling grids were installed this week, along with bath tile and electrical drops. Air conditioning is now on in the building. Science lab cabinetry is being installed, and accent walls are being painted throughout the building. The building’s east parking lot is also being paved.

 

Board members will walk through the building May 15.

 

The building is now mostly weather independent. Rain will complicate access to the building and prevent deliveries, but workers will simply shift to indoor projects.

 

Hatton Road will be paved between June 4 and July 4, said Mr. Kuhrt. Curbs will be installed on the District’s side of the road, though the City will not curb the rest. “We hope to have the road temporarily closed” for the paving project, said Mr. Kuhrt.

 

The City’s plans are to repave Hatton Road from Highway 281 to the bridge where the District picks it up. The City is also repaving Midwestern Parkway to Brewster Street.

 

Barwise Middle School track renovation

WFISD administration advised board members to accept its recommendation to award the Barwise Middle School track renovation to Hellas Construction. The Austin, Texas, firm has previously completed five turf fields, three tracks and 10 tennis courts for WFISD within the last two years.

 

The prior three tracks were located at Hirschi High School, Rider High School, and Wichita Falls High School.

 

The original budget for the Barwise track was $650,000; the current proposed price came in more than $20,000 lower, at $628,440.

 

“We think we’ve been fairly accurate on the prices with the tracks we’ve put in using Hellas,” said WFISD Superintendent Mike Kuhrt. The track will be changed from an 8-lane track to a 6-lane track.

 

The key component now is timing. “If we start now, we can get finished by the time school starts,” Athletic Director Scot Hafley told board members.

 

Board member Elizabeth Yeager asked if resurfacing the Barwise track would fix the flooding problem on the tennis courts.

 

Those are two separate issues, said Mr. Hafley. The track construction is not expected to address the tennis court problem, he said.

 

The District will attempt to revive its turf once the track is complete, said Mr. Hafley. The plan is to team up with Perm-O-Green and, at a cost of $15,000 to $20,000, use up to six inches of sand, water and seed to bring it back to life.

 

The track has a 60-day completion timeline, said Mr. Hafley.

 

Budget amendment approved

In a 7-0 vote, board members approved the Budget Amendment report submitted by WFISD Chief Financial Officer Tim Sherrod. There was no increase to General Operating expenditures, and there were no proposed amendments to the Food Service or Debt Service budgets.

 

Depository services

Nine local banks requested proposals for the details of providing depository services to the District. The deadline for questions was May 5; the deadline to answer all questions was May 9.

 

E-Rate eligible services

In a 7-0 vote, board members approved the administration’s requests to award three E-rate eligible services to specific vendors for 36-month contracts.

 

Services routinely qualifying for e-rate reimbursement are local phone service for 177 or more lines, local phone service for two or more SIP trunks, and long distance service for 300 or more lines.

 

The e-rate substantially reduces costs to the district for its phone services, which also connect to the school fire alarms and elevators. The technology allows phone calls to travel over the Internet; meanwhile, the District is not charged for campus-to-campus calls.

 

Chief Technology Officer Shad McGaha and Instructional Technology Director Frank Murray both recommended awarding the contracts to AT&T, which proposed a monthly cost of $5,409.12 for local phone service, a .026 per minute cost for long distance, and a $1524.41 cost for two SIP trunks.

 

Textbook adoption

This year, the District will seek approval of new textbooks in two subject areas: Languages Other Than English (LOTE) and Career and Technical Education (CTE).

 

The numbers of books requested per classroom vary, since some teachers prefer a classroom set and others prefer just a few. Class sizes also vary, which affects planning numbers.

 

So far, $230,000 has been budgeted for CTE textbooks; $200,000 for LOTE textbooks.

 

A committee for each textbook adoption (consisting of faculty, parents and curriculum representatives) formed in November, conferred in December and January and met with publishers at Region 9 on January 20. Each committee made its selections in February and presented its final recommendation to WFISD board members in April. The project now awaits a board vote, after which the book orders will be placed.

 

The CTE adoption includes books with topics ranging from business English and medical microbiology to global business, pharmacology and principles of architecture.

 

The LOTE adoption includes books on speaking Spanish and French at a range of proficiency levels from introductory to honors.

 

Policy Update 107

Debby Patterson, executive director of school administration, presented Policy Update 107 to board members. “It was extensive,” she said. It recommended policy changes on topics including gifts, fundraising, solicitations, employee and contractor misconduct, employee suspension and expense reimbursements, and student compulsory attendance and wellness policies.

 

Board member Elizabeth Yeager asked if its guidelines about raffles applied to booster clubs and how such rules were being disseminated to club leaders.

 

She asked that the District make a special effort to comply with guidelines that require fundraisers to notify school principals first – even for online ventures.

 

Policy update 107

Update 107 reviewed policies not contained in other updates, said Ms. Patterson. It updated two local policies – DH and DNA – to include references to the new Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System (T-TESS), which supports teachers with feedback in their professional growth.

 

Board members discussed the wisdom of giving a three-year reprieve in full annual reviews to a teacher who earns a doctorate degree. A teacher who earns a doctorate degree doesn’t necessarily make a good classroom teacher, which is the key thing a school district needs.

 

“I’d rather see more oversight for newer teachers,” said Ms. Yeager.

 

The doctorate should also directly relate to the classroom material being taught.

 

“Just having a doctorate shouldn’t exempt you from three years of evaluation by the district,” agreed Mr. Kuhrt.

 

The Policy Update 107 also struck the use of the word “waivers” to T-TESS evaluations, since T-TESS doesn’t use the “waiver” terminology. T-TESS distinguishes between an annual review, when a teacher fills out her yearly goals and then reports on whether she met them, versus a full evaluation.

 

 

Personnel report

Cyndy Kohl, director of Human Resources, reported that the District had accepted three letters of professional retirements and seven for support staff. The District had also accepted 28 resignations of professional staff and 20 resignations of support staff.

 

Board member Bob Payton inquired if the large number of resignations was typical. “Is this more than usual?” he asked.

 

Ms. Kohl said she would research his question.

 

In a 7-0 vote, board members accepted the applicant pool of 22 applicants and two contract changes. The pool reflects 148 years of teaching experience.