CCISD Board of Trustees vote to raise pay for bus drives, substitute teachers
By BRITTANY FHOLER
Substitute teachers and bus drivers in the Copperas Cove Independent School District will be seeing a pay raise after theCCISD board of trustees voted on a retroactive pay increase for both positions during their regular meeting Tuesday evening.
Superintendent Joseph Burns shared that prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the district had a pool of about 300 individuals for substitute teachers. Due to illness and other circumstances, the district is now short staffed on some days and in need of more substitutes, according to Burns.
The board approved a pay bump of an additional $30 per full day to the substitute teacher pay scale which brings the pay to $105 per day for non-degreed substitutes; $115 per day for substitutes with a bachelor’s degree and $130 for this type of substitute teacher if they are “long-term”, meaning they teach 10 consecutive days; for a certified substitute, the pay increases to $125 per day or $180 if they are a long-term substitute teacher. The pay increase is an additional $15 for half-day substitutes.
This pay increase is temporary, approved for the 2021-2022 school year currently.
Burns shared that the district is also facing a shortage of bus drivers this year, which is affecting the bus routes. Currently, CCISD is short by 17 drivers, which would cover at least 34 bus routes.
“That has impacted us in a very, very negative way in the past two weeks, in that we’ve not had enough drivers, and we’ve had to reach out to parents and say, ‘Hey, we’re going to pick your kids up an hour and a half late. You’re welcome to drop them off, but your bus is no going to run for an hour and a half,’ because we just can’t get enough drivers to get through all the routes and get back out to pick kids up,” Burns said.
To be more competitive and hopefully entice more people to become bus drivers, Burns recommended the pay increase for the bus drivers as well.
With the approval by the board, bus drivers will see a pay increase from the starting pay of $14.65 per hour to $18 per hour plus a $250 incentive after working 30 consecutive workdays in a semester for the 2021-2022 school year. This pay increase will apply to all bus drivers, not just new hires. Bus drivers are eligible to earn the $250 incentive once a semester.
The pay increases are retroactive, with the substitute teacher pay going back to September 13, and the pay for bus drivers going back to the start of the 2021-2022 school year.
For those interested in applying for either position, visit https://www.ccisd.com/22035.
The board also approved a request for sanctions for a teacher’s abandonment of contract.
“This year, we have a staff member in the district, who presented no problem, shared no concerns, had nothing but good things to say about the campus,” Burns explained. “[He] went home on Friday and before the weekend was over, we received an email from that staff member saying they would not return to work- period- and they have not.”
Burns said that the district is understanding when an issue arises for an employee and they need to leave- due to being relocated with the military, a family issue, medical issue, etc.
“We always try to extend to them grace and keep up with them, and so our comment is, ‘Hey, tell us what we need to do. How can we help you?’” Burns said. “No response from that staff member. We always ask those staff members If you have to leave, please stick with us long enough for us to hire a suitable replacement because we have kids relying on a teacher being in that classroom.”
Burns added that the teacher in question did not do this, and as a result, the district is asking for board permission to file a complaint with the State Board for Educator’s Certification to have them review the teacher’s credentials in light of his abrupt departure.
Board trustee Jeff Gorres asked how many students were impacted by this teacher’s departure. Burns said that the teacher was an Honors Math teacher, with between 80 and 110 students total. The teacher had not yet received the district’s stipend of $10,000 for certified math teachers teaching a secondary accredited course, he added.
The board also took action on submitting an Intent to Apply Notice to the Texas Education Agency for the Texas COVID Learning Acceleration Supports (T-CLAS) Grant. With the Intent to Apply Notice submitted, the district can access the online application. The district intends to apply for the grant in the amount of $830,000.00 for the 2021-2022 school year.
The board approved a proposed Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) amendment to the District’s Construction Manager at Risk Contract with BWC Education Group for the rehabilitations and additions at Williams/Ledger Elementary School.
The GMP amendment establishes the Guaranteed Maximum Price for phase three of the construction project with BWC Education Group at Williams/Ledger Elementary School. Phase one included all work to be done at Mae Stevens Early Learning Academy as well as the restroom renovation at Copperas Cove Junior High School, while phase two included all of the renovations and additions at Martin Walker Elementary School. Phase three has a GMP of $2,879,565.00 and includes an owner contingency of $150,000.00 and a $100,000.00 owner contingency in case the district has to case the piers. Also included are all bonds and insurance and the Construction Service Fee for BWC Education Group for this phase of the project. Work will begin at Williams/Ledger Elementary approximately October 1.
During the Recognitions portion of the meeting, the board recognized the Carlson Law Firm for their support of the district’s 6th annual Stuff the Bus event as well as the CCHS Copperettes and Varsity and Junior Varsity Cheerleaders for winning multiple awards, including All-American honors.
Texas State Board of Education District 14 Representative Sue Malone was also present to recognize CCISD volunteer Mary Ann Jack, who is also with the Five Hills Scholarship Pageant, with the Texas Heroes for Children Award.