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Trustees approve series of policies, hear virus response update

The Ector County ISD Board of Trustees held a workshop by audio conference on the evening of April 14. A recap of the agenda is below. Most of the time, items on a workshop agenda are discussion only, however, in this meeting Trustees did approve a series of items pertaining to the COVID-19 response.


  1. Roll Call. Delma Abalos was absent.


  1. Verification of Compliance with Open Meeting Law.


  1. Superintendent Dr. Scott Muri opened the meeting with brief remarks about this being the school district’s first virtual board meeting. It is audio only this week with intentions to add the video component in future virtual meetings.  


  1. There was no public comment.


  1. Action items

A. Trustees voted 6-0 to approve a modification of Board Policy DEA(Local) Compensation and Benefits: Compensation Plan. This update addresses work from home and premium pay.   

B. Trustees voted 6-0 to modify Board Policy DEC(Local) Compensation and Benefits: Leaves and Absences. This policy update specifies the way employees who are retiring or resigning are compensated for leave time accrued while working in ECISD. The current policy related to leave and pay upon separation remains in effect through June 30, 2020; the new policy becomes effective on July 1, 2020.   

C. Trustees voted 6-0 to adopt a resolution regarding wage payments during extended disruption of normal district operations. This resolution extends, for an additional five weeks, the original one approved by the Trustees in March.  

D. Trustees voted 6-0 to approve a waiver from the educator appraisal requirements due to COVID-19. While all employees will still be required to have a formal evaluation, this action may waive elements of an appraisal that cannot be completed due to the COVID-19 closure. Human Resources and Leadership will be providing additional guidance when the waiver is approved by the Texas Education Agency.


  1. Report/discussion items

A. Trustees discussed revisions to Board Policy DHE(Local) Employee Standards of Conduct: Searches and Alcohol/Drug Testing. Administration will bring a revision for approval on April 21 that will continue pre-employment drug testing; however, the policy revision will allow the District to offer a contract to the employee pending results of drug testing. This is the first reading of this policy. It will be on the agenda next week for a second reading and a vote.

B. Muri gave Trustees an update on the District’s response to the COVID-19 situation. He said our community is in week number four of Remote Learning, allowing students to access curriculum and resources in digital format from our website while many are also using packets of materials that they pick up at their campus. Dr. Muri complimented the curriculum team, principals and teachers who are improving the Remote Learning every day. He mentioned our District has partnered with Basin PBS, which is now broadcasting a full day of educational programming for students of all grade levels and we are creating resources for kids that support the PBS programs. PBS began doing this on April 6. Starting April 20, local affiliate KOSA is giving our District one hour of time each day to produce our own educational lessons for students and families. School Nutrition has now served 500,000 meals, offering breakfast and lunch at one pickup time Monday through Friday and serving meals for the weekend on Friday. Our counselors are staffing a Family Support Line available Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. at 456-HELP. ECISD Police Officers have done nearly 450 welfare checks on students we have been unable to contact, and they have finished installing Bearacade security devices on classroom doors and office doors throughout the District. Our technology team is extremely busy, too, having set up a Technology Help Desk to support the tech needs of families and staff. That Help Desk number is 456-0013 Monday through Friday. Dr. Muri added District leaders are working with the governor’s office to establish parameters for a child care center for hospital personnel responding to this crisis. He thank our school nurses who have volunteered to help process patients for the Ector County Health Department and Emergency Management Team. When asked by Trustees about grading, Dr. Muri said teachers are taking and recording grades on the work they assign. Specifically regarding promotion and retention, he said the District is developing guidelines that start with the philosophy of “do no harm” to students’ overall grades. For example, if a student had a B in a class before the start of remote learning then that student can do no worse than a B in that class. Of course, the student can improve that grade with the work they are doing now. He said we cannot accurately gauge the home situation for a student or know what kind of support they are receiving so the soon-to-be completed guidelines will start from that perspective of not harming kids.         


  1. There was no closed session.


  1. There we no closing remarks.


The meeting adjourned at 6:53 p.m.