KISD Board Discusses Future

KISD Board of Trustees resumes in-person meeting.
By: Todd Martin
The Killeen Independent School District Board of Trustees gathered in the same room for the first time since spring break in a spread-out configuration with limited public seating.
The scheduled regular board meeting Tuesday reflected the district’s phased return to business and much of the agenda addressed emerging plans for a fall return to class.
Superintendent John Craft sat with six board members spread across the curved table. A small number of administrators sat at tables and the public sat in spaced-apart chairs. Other meeting participants sat in the lobby.
Disruptions connected to COVID-19 are far from finished. Craft explained advantages and disadvantages of three broad reintegration plans ranging from traditional face-to-face learning to an all virtual platform with variations of hybrid, blended plans.
Killeen ISD is set to start school Aug. 17. Craft said any of the plans would likely include a parallel virtual platform that could be used depending on the future course COVID-19 takes through the school year.
The superintendent pointed out the district would launch a survey the following day, available from Wednesday to Monday to gauge the public’s level of comfort with returning to school in the fall.
Parents, school district staff members and students from sixth through 12th grade will have a chance to participate in the survey, estimated to take 12 to 14 minutes to complete.
Residents may take the survey in person on iPads available at the “Grab & Go” food distribution sites at 12 KISD schools, where breakfast and lunch is available Monday through Thursday.
In a broad update of the state’s response and plan, Craft said KISD expects a large delivery of disposable masks, gloves, thermometers, hand sanitizer and other protective equipment that will be distributed from the warehouse to the campuses and departments.
While levels of comfort vary across the state, the superintendent said that generally education leaders want to bring students back to the classroom and are deeply interested in residents’ thoughts.
Craft and several board members expressed concern over leaving portions of the diverse student body at a disadvantage and continuously noted the importance of equity across any combination of learning platforms.
Other business included the following:
Trustees approved purchase of the Naviance software for college and career planning for seventh- through 12th-graders addressing course planning, college exploration, application and scholarship matching and labor market trends.
The district will contract with the Engage2Learn coaching program for literacy and math coaching at Palo Alto, Manor and Live Oak Ridge middle schools and Sugar Loaf, Meadows, West Ward and Willow Springs elementary schools.
The board renewed the Scott & White Health Plan, including 6 to 8 percent premium decreases for participating employees in 2021 and committed general fund money for a self-insurance plan for 2022.