June 2021- BoardBits
This e-newsletter highlights important news from the June 28 (rescheduled from June 22) meeting of the STISD Board of Directors, and other happenings from throughout the district.
Board and administration recognize retirees who dedicated 25 years or more to the district
During the June 28 board meeting, the STISD Board of Directors and administration recognized retirees from the 2020-2021 school year who dedicated 25 years or more to the district. Congratulations to the following retirees:
Angel Anguiano - 39 years - MEP (mechanical, electrical and plumbing) Technician for the district
Tomas Cisneros - 32 years - Classroom Aide at the Science Academy
Minerva Cortez - 29 years - Receptionist/Secretary to the Assistant Principal at the Science Academy
Bonnie Sauceda - 26 years - Receptionist/Secretary for the Office of the Superintendent
Yolanda Solis - 27 years - Library Aide at Mercedes Complex
Marcos Tirado - 30 years - Welding Teacher at the Science Academy
Thank you for your many years of dedicated service to STISD. We appreciate you, and we wish you the best in this next chapter of your life.
Board approves opening of seventh STISD campus, South Texas ISD Virtual Academy, in Fall 2021
STISD is excited to announce the launch of its seventh campus, a stand-alone virtual school opening in the fall of 2021, following approval from the STISD board of directors during the June 28 board meeting.
Like the six existing STISD schools, South Texas ISD Virtual Academy will serve students from Cameron, Hidalgo and Willacy Counties. It will eventually serve students in grades 6-12; however, it will open in the fall with only grades 6 and 9 and will phase in additional grades as these cohorts progress through the school years and new ones enroll. This will be the district’s first time serving 6th-graders, as historically, the district has served grades 7-12.
The school's design will give students who thrive in virtual learning the opportunity to do so in future years. Teachers will teach from a centralized location, while students will participate in their courses 100 percent virtually from home.
Enrollment for the STISD Virtual Academy will open at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, July 1, through the district’s SchoolMint enrollment system. As is the process for all other campuses, STISD will enroll students for the Virtual Academy on a first-come, first-served basis.
Read full article here. Click here to visit the STISD Virtual Academy website.
Board approves employee compensation plan and benefits
The STISD Board of Directors approved the 2021-2022 employee compensation plan and benefits and travel during the June 28, 2021 board meeting. With the board’s approval, all eligible STISD employees will receive a 4 percent pay increase from the midpoint of the employee’s pay scale for the upcoming year.
The Human Resources Department will send each employee a letter by early August to let the employees know of their salary for the upcoming year (starting in the Sept. 2021 pay period).
In appreciation of hard work during the pandemic and in anticipation of the work still to come in the next school year, employees will also receive a $2,000 COVID stipend, half of which will be disbursed in December 2021 and the other half in May 2022.
To assist employees with rising costs of health insurance, the board also approved a $35 increase in the health insurance allotment, bringing the total paid by the district per each employee to $525/employee/month. Further, the board approved a $3.94 increase in the dental insurance allotment, bringing the total up to $19.70/employee/month. All other benefits and travel reimbursement rates will remain the same.
Board receives report on public and board notice of ESSER II and ESSER III and approves Resolution: Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief III (ESSER III) Fund
Marla R. Knaub, Assistant Superintendent for Finance & Operations, reported to the board during the June 28 meeting on the Public & Board Notice of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief II & III (ESSER II & ESSER III or ARP ESSER) fund. The board also approved a resolution needed to move forward with the process of applying for ESSER III funds.
The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSA), was signed into law on December 27, 2020, and provides an additional $54.3 billion for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER II Fund). ESSER II funds are a one-time grant opportunity to assist districts with responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
General grant specifics are as follows:
• Grant timeframe: Grant expires September 30, 2022. If needed, districts can carry over unused
funds and be allowed to continue spending until September 30, 2023.
• Districts will be required to follow all federal, state, and local regulations and requirements for
federal grant administration and fiscal spending of funds.
• STISD has been allocated $4,687,337 - to be expended over a 2-year period.
The American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act of 2021, Public Law 117-2, was enacted on March 11, 2021. The ARP Act provides additional funding for school districts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The education portion of ARP is known as the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER III or ARP ESSER) Fund. The ESSER III Fund is a one-time grant opportunity for districts.
General grant specifics are as follows:
• Grant timeframe: Grant expires September 30, 2023. If needed, districts can carry over unused funds and be allowed to continue spending until September 30, 2024.
• Districts will be required to follow all federal, state, and local regulations and requirements for federal grant administration and fiscal spending of funds.
• STISD has been allocated $10,527,093 - to be expended over a 3-year period.
One of the requirements for the ESSER III Fund is to have a board resolution approved by the Board of Directors in order to proceed with the application and awarding of funds.
Additional information is available within the ESSER page on the district website: ESSER pagE
Response needed by July 16: STISD Emergency Connectivity Fund Parent Survey
During the COVID-19 pandemic, it became clear that all students should have access to the internet and a device to support their learning. Under the federal American Rescue Plan, the Emergency Connectivity Fund was established to help connect students to the internet with a device. Through this program, STISD will be able to purchase internet service and/or laptops for off-campus use by students. There will be no cost to students or their families.
STISD is conducting a survey to identify which specific students need a device and/or internet access. Only students/families that complete this survey by July 16, 2021, will be eligible to receive a laptop and/or internet access (such as a hotspot). All devices will remain the property of STISD, and each item will be checked out to individual students for use at home. By filling out this survey, your child is not guaranteed to receive a device or service; this program is dependent on the federal funding STISD is awarded. This program is not related to digital or remote learning programs. Thank you.