Burton ISD students will have longer school days this year to accommodate for anticipated COVID-19 closures.
At Monday’s meeting of the Burton School Board, Superintendent Dr. Edna Kennedy said the district is adding 15 minutes to each school day, which will now start at 7:50 a.m. and end at 3:45 p.m. Dr. Kennedy said this decision will give the district additional days to use in the event of a school closure.
Dr. Kennedy said the Texas Education Agency (TEA) wants school districts to have plans in place and extra days available should a closure be necessary. She noted the district can extend the calendar into June in the event of a prolonged closure, but said that would not be ideal.
Also at Monday’s meeting, the board approved a maximum of $80,000 in expected COVID-19 expenditures for technology. Dr. Kennedy said that number is more of a worst case scenario, in the case a totally remote learning system is necessary.
Potential costs included in that total include $28,995 for 100 more Chromebooks to replace several old units, $20,000 to purchase Internet hotspots—including a $20 per month plan per hotspot for the school year—for 75 students, a combined $26,375 for high school and elementary computer programs—Edgenuity and Schoology, respectively—to support remote learning for all subject matter taught in class, and $3,990 for software called Classlink to connect the programs together.
Dr. Kennedy said the money for those expenditures can come from the instructional materials allotment provided by the state, as well as Career and Technology funds and existing TEA grant funding. Dr. Kennedy said the district’s current budget could also be utilized, saying the budget is currently “in good shape” as the district did not have as many spring expenses as expected.
The board also accepted the resignation of trustee Felton Cox, who brought his letter of resignation, effective immediately, to the district on June 8th. In his letter, Cox said he is leaving the board for medical reasons, stating concerns and complications associated with COVID-19 and a pair of minor surgeries have “made it impossible” for him to continue on the board.