Superintendent Bruce Gearing, Ed.D., asked for patience and collaboration as the school year begins and Trustees unanimously approved fund balance for expanded remote learning program, as we announced earlier this week.
Requests for grace, patience, kindness as Leander ISD goes back to school
Trustees and staff called on the #1LISD community to treat each other with kindness and grace as the school year begins. While logistical hiccups are the norm at the start of school, this year’s challenges are exacerbated by concern over a surge in COVID cases and the return to districtwide in-person learning for more than 38,900 students.
“Starting school in a normal year is difficult, but starting a year in this set of circumstances is nearly impossible,” Gearing said. “I was grateful on the first morning to be stuck in traffic because it meant we were back in person. It is heartwarming being around the district and seeing connections happening socially and emotionally.”
In addition to challenges with community spread due to COVID-19, we are also facing staffing challenges, especially in our transportation and child nutrition programs. This has led to traffic concerns and bus delays as our in-person enrollment is more than double what it was last school year.
Trustees approve $6 million budget adjustment, calendar tweak for remote learning
Our expanded remote learning program for approximately 2,000 students will begin Thursday, Aug. 19 after Trustees approved an academic calendar adjustment and allocated fund balance to cover the loss to state funding. The remainder of the school calendar for students attending school in-person on campuses does not change. We will continue to work with families as we move forward to help create the best learning environment for each and every student.
The Board allocated $6 million from fund balance to serve the approximately 2,000 students that were on the remote learning waitlist. This allocation will fund their remote learning for the first nine weeks of the 2021–22 school year. Because we receive funding in the state’s school finance formula only for in-person learners, students moving into a remote learning program will lead to less funding for the district overall.
We’re moving 82 teachers from in-person learning to remote learning to support our students, so the extra time allows us to make adjustments prior to Aug. 19. After their start date, the students attending our Remote Learning Program will follow the regular calendar schedule for as long as they are enrolled. Should the State enact funding for virtual learning with additional requirements, the calendar could need to be revised to meet such requirements.