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School board to continue stipends

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Shepherd ISD LogoBy Tony Farkas
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SHEPHERD — The Shepherd ISD Board of Managers voted to continue certain stipends in the next budget cycle but asked that the administration create a plan that would ensure those stipends were used to maximum effectiveness.

At the regular meeting on Thursday, the board readily approved continuing performance stipends, but were divided regarding retention and acquisition stipends.

Some members felt that the retention stipends were ineffective, while others felt that if the stipends were left off, it would send a negative signal to the teachers who expect it.

Board President Yvonne Johnson said that last month, the board sent a positive signal by approving a 5 percent raise for teachers, but member John Few was adamant that it was necessary to keep the teachers the district had.

Board Vice President Andy Reeves sought to table a vote on the retention and acquisition portion, but Few felt that if the money was there, then the board should get the vote out of the way.

Assistant Superintendent DeAnna Clavell said there is enough money left from the federal ESSER grant to provide one more year of stipends.

Superintendent Jason Hewitt said that the board could approve the stipends with the proviso that the administration come up with a plan that would be tied to a new contract. The board passed the measure 3-1, with Johnson voting against it. Member Melodee Arrendell was absent.

In other business, the board:

•discussed an audit of the school’s Special Education program, which was mostly positive but had room for improvement in areas such as policies, planning and practices regarding inclusion of students in the main student body;

•discussed a school safety audit, which the school failed because a door failed to close properly after a teacher entered. Police Chief Jeff Sparks said that his department is committed to student safety and will double its sweeps of entries;

•approved changes to board policies; and

•renewed the contract with Capturing Kids Hearts.

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