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Trustees discuss employee benefits, budget priorities

The Ector County ISD Board of Trustees held a workshop on the evening of December 10. A recap of the agenda is below. The items on this agenda are discussion only.

 

  1. Roll Call. Nelson Minyard and Carol Gregg were absent.

 

  1. Verification of Compliance with Open Meeting Law.

 

  1. Superintendent Dr. Scott Muri gave no opening remarks.

 

  1. Public Comment. No one requested to speak.

 

  1. Report/discussion items

A. Trustees heard the first reading of a proposed change to board policy DFE (Local) Termination of Employment. Currently, the policy states a person who asks to rescind their resignation must get approval from the Board of Trustees; the proposed change gives approval permission to the superintendent.

 

B. Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Dr. Gregory Nelson gave Trustees an update on employee benefits for the coming year. He said a strong benefits package is a key step in achieving the District’s goal of recruiting and retaining high quality employees. It greatly contributes to employee satisfaction and wellness, which can translate to student success. Using the example of a 10-year veteran teacher whose salary is $57,500, our school district contributes an additional $10,929 toward that employee’s benefits each year. Ector County ISD manages a self-funded medical plan, meaning employee contributions and District contributions for employees are used to pay the health plan costs. A Medical Plan committee of ECISD employees makes decisions for the plan from year-to-year, using a consultant to analyze data, identify trends, and offer recommendations. Currently, about 60% of ECISD employees eligible for benefits choose Option I, which has a lower deductible and lower out-of-pocket expenses. It requires a larger monthly contribution from the employee than the other option. The District contributes $380 per month toward each eligible employee’s medical plan costs. Changes beginning in January include: a $10 to $20 increase in an employees’ monthly contribution and the addition of an office visit co-pay (new to this year’s plan) for employees who choose Option I. ECISD offers a wide variety of insurance options beyond health coverage; dental, vision and disability being the most popular of those benefits.

 

C. Trustees and Superintendent Muri discussed the school board’s budget priorities for the 2020-21 school year. Dr. Muri told Trustees the budget planning for next year really starts with this discussion. District leaders will take the school board priorities and begin putting the budget together between January and March. Enrollment and revenue projections will be used to create the baseline budget. A preliminary budget will go Trustees in April or May, a public hearing will be scheduled for May or June, and the board will vote on a 2020-21 budget in June. The Trustees took turns explaining what they see as budget priorities. All agreed compensation, especially for at-will employees, is a priority for them. Additionally, board members expressed an interest in developing a plan for strategic staffing and compensation that rewards outstanding teacher leaders/mentors on campuses. All agreed this is something that would take a lot of work and a lot of time to build. They also talked about funding schools more equitably based on the needs of a school’s students. Professional development to build staff capacity, more counselors to identify kids who are struggling, improved technology, more classroom resources and supplies, additional career exploration opportunities for students, and making capital improvements to district buildings were all mentioned as priorities.

 

  1. There was no closed session.

 

  1. There we no closing remarks from the superintendent.

 

The meeting adjourned at 6:58 p.m.