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Burnet CISD curtailing substitute stipend; COVID-19 cases drop

A COVID-19 incentive for substitute teachers will expire Oct. 18 as planned, the Burnet Consolidated Independent School District Board of Trustees decided during a special meeting Tuesday, Oct. 5. The incentive wasn’t working as the district had hoped and the need is not as great since COVID-19 cases are dropping, Superintendent Keith McBurnett said. 

During a September board meeting, trustees approved a temporary COVID-19 stipend pay for substitute teachers of $30 on top of the regular daily rate. The stipend bumped the pay of state-certified classroom substitutes to $125 per day and non-certified substitutes to $120 per day. 

“Due to the stipend not attracting more substitutes taking jobs during the past four weeks, and with COVID case counts decreasing dramatically, the administration recommended to the board that the COVID Stipend Pay for Classroom Teacher Substitutes be discontinued after October 18,” McBurnett stated in a media release. 

According to the district’s COVID-19 Dashboard, BCISD has had a significant decrease in the number of positive cases beginning the week of Sept. 13. Case counts include students and staff.

The district saw a spike in cases with 121 reported the week of Aug. 23-29 followed by 109 the next week. Positive cases started tapering off with 88 reported Sept. 6-12, 45 the following week, 18 the week of Sept. 20-26, and eight the week of Sept. 27-Oct. 3. 

As of Oct. 6, BCISD had four positive cases for the week. 

Students and staff number 3,863 across the district.

BOND BID DECISIONS

In other business, the board authorized the superintendent to negotiate with Satterfield & Pontikes Construction for the Burnet High School baseball and softball field projects as well as the Burnet Middle School track and field projects. BCISD voters approved the upgrades to those facilities as part of a 2021 bond proposal.

Satterfield & Pontikes Construction, which had been previously selected as the district’s construction manager at-risk for several bond projects, had the top-ranked competitive proposal for the ballfield and track and field work.

District officials opened the sealed proposals on Sept. 22, and administrators went through and ranked them. The board reviewed the rankings during the special meeting.

The district had hoped to have new turf installed on the high school baseball and softball fields by the start of the teams’ 2022 seasons, but the competitive sealed proposal system has made that impossible, McBurnett said.

“To ensure no disruption to the baseball and softball season, the existing grass fields will be used for the upcoming season,” he added.

The middle school track project includes a new field with turf as well as a six-lane track, fencing, bleachers, and sidewalks. Crews will also relocate the triple jump, long jump, discus, and shot put spaces. 

For more information on the bond projects, visit the district’s 2021 Bond Program webpage. 

ELECTION REMINDER

As a reminder, early voting is underway in the district’s Attendance Credit Election, through Friday, Oct. 8. Election Day is Tuesday, Oct. 12. Both early and regular voting take place at the BCISD Central Office, 208 E. Brier St. in Burnet. 

Early voting is 8 a.m.-4 p.m., and Election Day voting is 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

daniel@thepicayune.com