Leander ISD Trustees reviewed the latest district COVID update, formed a Board policy update subcommittee and discussed the design process for Elementary School 29 at their meeting Thursday night.   

View the entire agenda here. Watch the video here.

With the district’s phase-in to in-person learning complete, Trustees review COVID update  

Any student wishing to attend school in-person can now do so if they choose the option according to their school’s selection process. The district presented updated data on student enrollment for in-person school, positive cases, and feedback received from teachers and staff, who expressed stress, fatigue, and concerns regarding school operations. 

Superintendent Bruce Gearing, Ed.D. shared action steps to support teachers and staff, including efforts to reduce the workloads of teachers, obtaining additional resources, adding more data to the COVID-19 dashboard for transparency, and hosting employee listening sessions prior to the next Board meeting for additional feedback and actions. Employees can sign-up for listening sessions between Oct. 14 and Oct. 19 by clicking here.

Board forms subcommittee to consider local policy updates

Early in 2020, the Board took up an aggressive schedule to review all district polices, as pointed out in February 2020 Board Briefs. However, the Trustees temporarily halted those efforts to focus on emergency items related to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In resuming the effort, Trustees opted to form a standing, three-member Board committee to consider future local policy updates. 

“I appreciate the Trustees for volunteering to add additional review to what could be sometimes hundreds of pages to help ask questions and deeply research items as they are coming before the Board,” Board President Trish Bode said. “This process allows for the entire Board to still vote on final language but helps us streamline our discussions.”

 The agenda item policy update 115 contained 69 pages of local policy suggested updates, which included robust discussion from Board members on Board committees (BDF), employee welfare (DIA), academic achievement (EI), and others. Ultimately, the Board approved the bulk of policy update 115 with revisions and sent back to committee DIA employee welfare, which includes new federal regulations that define sexual discrimination and harassment under Title IX and Title VII.

Board discusses design process for ES 29 during construction update 

In preparation for the district’s annual demographic update that will be presented to the Board on Oct. 22, Trustees discussed the construction planning for the district’s next elementary school. 

Elementary School 29 was originally slated to open for the 2022–23 school year. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on enrollment, the district delayed the design process of ES 29. 

Preliminary discussions with the district’s demographer, Populations and Survey Analysts, indicate that the school will still be needed in 2022 to accommodate growth and relieve overcrowding at other campuses. If that holds true, the district plans to begin designing the school after the presentation Oct. 22. Following the design phase, the Board will need to approve the Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) before construction could begin.

“Even if the district completed the design work for ES 29, but the Board decided that because something suddenly changed in the district we needed to put the next school somewhere else, that design work will still be valid and useful when it comes time to build that school,” Trustee Aaron Johnson said. “So it’s not like that’s a cost we would lose if there were a delay for any reason.”