Statement on the death of George FloydPosted by Juan E. Cabrera on 6/3/2020The El Paso Independent School District mourns the death of Mr. George Floyd and joins the millions of Americans who call for a speedy and full investigation into the actions that lead to his death. While Mr. Floyd’s death happened hundreds of miles away, its impact is strongly felt in communities like ours. Hundreds of El Pasoans have exercised their right to protest the racial inequities that for generations have affected People of Color and other minorities in our country.The tragic events that have unfolded in the wake of Mr. Floyd’s death remind us that while our society has made significant strides in creating equity in rights and access to our most vulnerable populations, much work is left to be done in guaranteeing that all future generations of Americans can enjoy fairness in the systems we expect to be in place to protect us. El Paso has been a beacon of progress in racial progress throughout its history, with many instances of political and social decisions aimed at providing rights and access to African-Americans, Mexican-Americans and the LGBTQ communities. And while not perfect, our community can fall back on our history of diversity to lead the way nationally in creating systems that seek to eliminate the divisiveness that today makes our country suffer. For example, El Paso can proudly boast the first k-12 and university classrooms in the South to integrate as well as the first Texas Chapter of NAACP.EPISD remains committed to continuing to do its part to make equity a reality.Our classrooms remain safe spaces for all students regardless of their race, nationality, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or physical ability. Through our policies and trainings, we seek to instill on our youth the American principle that we are all created equally and that our differences will make our future stronger. Our employees, too, enjoy equal access to services regardless of their background as we continue to seek and implement programming aimed at helping our teachers, principals, custodians, cafeteria workers and all other workers pursue happiness through their jobs without fear or worry.Much of the conversation surrounding the protests that have erupted throughout the country revolve around the perception of police brutality – an issue that weighs heavily on all of our communities. Without a doubt, this issue is one that merits frank discussion and urgent action. The EPISD Police Services Department has an established history of protecting students and employees in a fair and equitable manner. We vow to continue our training and oversight procedures to make sure the racially-motivated actions that have caused so much grief in other communities never become a reality in our schools.Our current situation gives us an opportunity to reflect on our values that we as El Pasoans, Texans and Americans embrace and pass on to our children. EPISD vows to not just continue, but also strengthen the policies and procedures we have in place to ensure everyone in the District has the opportunity to learn and work in an environment where they are treated with dignity and respect, free from bullying or harassment.To our students and employees, especially those who identify as People of Color, we want you to know that YOU MATTER. We see you and we support you. Let’s work together to create a better EPISD, a better El Paso and a better America.
Thank you, EPISD, for your determination and perseverance during the 2019-20 school year!Posted by Juan E. Cabrera on 5/22/2020
Hello EPISD Family! I hope you and your loved ones are all safe and healthy at home.
The 2019-2020 school year has come to an end, and in many ways this will be a year to remember.
First off, I want to thank our students – especially our seniors from the class of 2020 – for sticking with us as we shifted to virtual learning in response to the pandemic. This is not the way we wanted to finish the year, but we are proud of the work you put in to show the rest of the community how committed you are to your education and to meeting your goals. Good job!
We began the school year in August in the wake of one of the darkest times in the history of El Paso. The senseless attacks on El Paso made us mourn like never before, but they also brought us together as a community. The lessons in community building helped us cope with the COVID-19 pandemic that closed the year and forced us all to seek shelter at home and close schools.
However tough these times are, I am confident that a bright future awaits us soon.
I am certain of this because of the spirit of perseverance our students, teachers, employees and parents have shown throughout this year. This school year will not be remembered for the sad news it delivered. Rather, it will be known for the grit and relentlessness of the people who kept on achieving no matter what.
EPISD was filled with countless points of pride: from district, regional and state championships, to national scholarships and honors … our students reached unbelievable heights this year inside and outside of the classroom. Our teachers and employees too raked in accolades for the work they do to improve the lives of children – spending their personal time and even vacation time to make sure all kids have access to education.
As you can see, EPISD is well positioned to remain a leader in the state and the country. People are looking to us for leadership and innovation. As we head into the summer for a much-deserved break, let’s spend our time at home thinking about our role and what we can do to lead the way from right here in the Borderland. Let’s all be EPISD Proud and El Paso Strong!
Have a safe and healthy summer, EPISD. We will see you soon!
During pandemic, teacher appreciation is even higherPosted by Juan E. Cabrera on 5/5/2020
This week is Teacher Appreciation Week and I want to express how proud I am of the work our more than 4,000 teachers do to bring instruction, comfort and tons of love to the children of EPISD.
Every year, we take a week out of our school calendar to celebrate the contributions our teachers make to our students and to the District. This week is hard-earned by our teachers who sacrifice so much of themselves to make sure students have access to high-level instruction and opportunities – both of which are needed to secure a bright future. From the pre-k teachers who care for our youngest students to the specialized instructors who help our high school kids earn college credits, EPISD educators strive for excellence.
This year our celebration is different, though.
We are celebrating our teachers from home in order to observe the health guidelines that will help us save lives. And while we are away from the campus, the work teachers are doing has not diminished. In fact, their work is perhaps more important than ever.
Through EPISD@HOME, our distance-learning program, teachers still are able to reach our students. Our teachers are spending countless hours connecting with families. They are not only providing instruction to students, but many times, they are also offering counsel and guidance to parents.
While we can’t celebrate in person, I hope that our teachers feel our gratitude, support and love. Each of us who over the last month and a half has had to dive into the recesses of our brains to remember fifth-grade math, truly has a greater appreciation and respect for the magic that teachers bring to our classrooms every single day.
I believe now, more than ever, our love and admiration of teachers is most sincere.
Thank you, EPISD teachers, for your unwavering commitment to your students, your schools and your communities. You make us #EPISDProud! Stay strong and healthy.
EPISD@HOME will help keep our students on track academicallyPosted by Juan E. Cabrera on 4/6/2020
April 6, 2020
Dear EPISD Family:
I hope you and your loved ones are healthy and doing well during these challenging times. We hope that our efforts to provide learning at home and food distribution services helps to offer some consistency and stability as we manage our school closures.
EPISD is working closely with city and county officials and remains closed until further notice so we can follow the Stay Home Work Safe order. EPISD is committed to doing its part in curbing the spread of the dangerous COVID-19 (coronavirus) in our community. We urge you to follow the Stay Home Work Safe order and avoid going out unless absolutely necessary. Each one of us is responsible for doing our part in social distancing. This will only work if we all do our part.
The closure of our schools is a challenge for all of us, but the EPISD Family is up to the challenge. Last week we launched EPISD@HOME, the District’s distance learning program. The program is the result of tireless efforts from the District’s academics and technology teams who worked through their spring break holiday to make sure our students remain on track academically.
I’ve heard many wonderful stories of EPISD educators going above and beyond to make sure their students received the information and materials they needed to connect to EPISD@HOME. It was great seeing the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram photos and videos of happy kids learning from their kitchen tables. It was like the first day of school all over again!
While I’m very happy with the launch of EPISD@HOME, I know there were some glitches and some connectivity issues with Schoology. We are 100 percent certain EPISD@HOME will be a valuable community resource, but we know there will be growing pains as we work hard to build our new school model. Please know EPISD is fully committed to supporting our families and we appreciate your patience as we work to improve performance.
Already, we are seeing more and more students access the EPISD@HOME portal without incident so that they can continue their education and stay on track with their academic goals. I want to thank everyone for their patience as we work through these issues. We will continue to get better and improve your school experience.
There are also concerns about the availability of iPads and Wi-Fi hotspots for families who do not have connectivity at home. We distributed thousands of iPads to elementary-school students. For those who still need devices, we are working to meet everyone’s needs. The EPISD trustees recently approved funding that will allow us to buy more iPads and hotspots so that we can continue to distribute them to those families who need them. Thank you, trustees!
For families that lack connectivity or want a low-tech option, we are working on paper packets to help children continue their studies during the closure. More information will be announced soon.
Of course, our response to the closures has gone beyond the launch of EPISD@HOME.
Thanks to the dedication of our Food and Nutrition Services team we are now distributing more than 20,000 meals to children every day. Our cafeteria workers are doing their best to make sure our students have access to healthy and delicious food, even when schools are closed. This is very important, and I am proud of our team members who are working hard to support our community with daily meals.
I also want to thank the EPISD custodial and transportation staff who have worked non-stop cleaning and disinfecting classrooms, offices and buses. Thank you so much!
As you can see, EPISD is setting the standard of excellence not just in El Paso but in the state for how we are responding to these unprecedented circumstances. There still are many unknowns as we continue our fight against COVID-19. Together, we will get through this and emerge stronger than ever.
Thank you, EPISD. And please stay healthy and safe in the comfort of your home.
Juan E. Cabrera, Superintendent
Message from Superintendent Juan E. Cabrera regarding EPISD COVID-19 responsePosted by Juan E. Cabrera on 3/23/2020 9:30:00 AM
Dear EPISD Family and Friends,
First of all, and most importantly, we want to wish everyone well during this unique and challenging situation. We are all concerned about the dramatic change in our day-to-day routines, but we are confident that if we follow the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention guidelines for social distancing we will slow the spread of COVID-19 and improve our chances of getting back to work and back to school!
Under our current plans, as mandated by the City of El Paso, the District will remain closed until further notice. We are in daily contact with city and county officials and we will keep you up to date on any changes.
During the spring break holiday, District Leadership was hard at work preparing our instruction and operational plans to get us through the closures. The wellbeing of our students is our top priority and we want to help maintain as much continuity in their learning as possible. This week, we will continue planning and working with our teachers to launch our distance learning plan, which we have called EPISD@Home, on Monday, March 30.
During the closures, we will operate in a virtual and remote environment. That includes distance learning for our students. Today, Monday, March 23, our teachers will begin their training via videoconferencing and development for our distance learning. Please stay tuned for more details this week.
Distance learning and virtual classrooms will be a new experience for many of us. However, EPISD has been preparing our students for this environment for years. Through our active learning instruction, our students and teachers regularly engage in digital learning. Technology has been a regular part of instruction at EPISD for years. All of our middle and high-school students already have their own personal laptops. We know EPISD@Home will be a breeze for them.
Our elementary students use technology at school, but not all families have devices at home. We want to ensure equity and access for all of our students during the closures. Our teachers will call every family to ask about accessibility at home. For families who do not have a laptop, tablet or computer at home, we will be distributing iPads. Starting on Thursday, March 26, we will have iPad distribution at all of our elementary schools. Distribution will be March 26-27 and March 30-April 3 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at all elementary campuses. We will distribute one iPad per family that needs one. We ask that if you only collect a device if you do not have another at home, so that we can ensure enough resources for families truly in need. If you have a middle- or high-school student, please have them share their laptop with siblings.
We know that families depend on our schools for many resources. It is very important to us that we lessen the disruption of services to our students. Today, we began serving meals to all children ages 1-18. On weekdays during the closure, children will be able to pick up take-home breakfast and lunch. These meals will be served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 50 school sites. Please visit episd.org for a list of locations. You can learn more about this program, including meal distribution centers, here.
I also want to alert the community about a change in the way our District approaches public meetings. Our EPISD Board of Trustees have two meetings scheduled for Tuesday, March 24. These meetings normally happen in person at the district’s central offices. However, because of social distancing, and in full accordance with Texas Open Meetings Act regulations, we will conduct the meeting via video and tele-conference. The public can view the meeting and even participate via the internet. You can learn more about viewing the meetings here.
I want to thank the EPISD employees who have worked through the spring break to help us respond to this unique situation. Your work and dedication to this community will help us move forward.
Please continue to visit our district website and follow us on social media for continued updates and information. If you have questions or concerns, please connect with us through our Let’s Talk (Contact Us) app on our website.
Thank you to all our Students, Parents and EPISD Employees for your patience and understanding as we navigate this situation together. Please stay healthy and safe. Stay home, practice social distancing and remember to wash your hands frequently, this will help us get back to normal as soon as possible.
Message regarding EPISD's rightsizingPosted by Juan E. Cabrera on 8/23/2019
On Tuesday, the EPISD Board of Trustees reaffirmed the difficult, but necessary decision to continue the District’s “Rightsizing for the Future” program. For the last six years, EPISD has grappled with decreasing enrollment due in large part to suburban sprawl and aging neighborhoods in the core of the city. This is not a problem unique to our District. Most urban school systems in the country today struggle to find ways to remain sustainable and responsible to the taxpayers that support them.
EPISD wants to make one thing clear: both Zavala and Douglass elementary schools are safe learning facilities for students. They have been studied by researchers from the University of Texas at El Paso and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality who have determined that contamination is not a factor anywhere on either campus. Contrary to false claims and unfounded rhetoric, EPISD has allowed researchers to come onto these schools to perform soil samples and health studies. The studies done by the researchers showed no danger for students, even in areas targeted by protesters as toxic places.
Protesters also have used rhetoric harmful to students by claiming Zavala and Douglass students underperform and that those schools are therefore unsuitable for consolidation. Those claims are hurtful and false. I stand proud with the teachers and students at Zavala and Douglass who continue to improve their academic attainment every year. In fact, this year both campuses earned TEA accountability grades that equal a B. We know that with our continued support, the schools will do even better this school year.
We want to also dispel a false claim that Zavala and Douglass are overcrowded following the consolidation with Burleson and Beall. That is simply not true. It is also untrue that our classrooms are packed with more than 30 students. In fact, it is against state rules to have more than 22 students per classroom in grades kindergarten to fourth.
We understand the concern and sadness that communities may face as schools are closed. Closing a school is a difficult process — one we wish we didn’t have to consider. Simply put, however, we must make these tough decisions in order to survive and continue to give our students access to high-quality teachers and life-changing educational programming.
Emotions ran high at Tuesday’s school board meeting when school closures were discussed. We respect everyone’s opinion and voice. The impact of these decisions is something we take seriously and to heart. Ultimately, we must all remember that we are here for the same reason: to take care of kids. We begin and end each day with that sole purpose in mind. While we respect the diversity of thought and discussion, we must remain united in our focus on our student’s education. Divisive language and hateful messaging only derail our mission and hurt students in the end.
To the families in all our communities, we want to make this pledge: The education, health and safety of your children is and will remain our top priority.
La Mesa Directiva de EPISD el martes reafirmo su decisión difícil de continuar con la Iniciativa Dimensionamiento Para El Futuro. Por seis años, EPISD ha sufrido una baja en inscripciones debidas especialmente al crecimiento suburbano de la ciudad y el envejecimiento de los fraccionamientos en el centro de El Paso. Este no es un problema único a nuestro distrito. La mayoría de los distritos urbanos en el país se ven en necesidad de buscar maneras de mantenerse sostenibles y fiscalmente responsables a los derechohabientes que los apoyan.
EPISD quiere hacer una aclaración: las primarias Zavala y Douglass se encuentran en estado saludable y libre de contaminación. Esto lo sabemos gracias a estudios por parte de la Universidad de Texas en El Paso y la Comisión de la Calidad Ambiental de Texas, que han determinado que la contaminación no es un factor en cualquier parte de cualquiera de los dos planteles. Al contrario de afirmaciones falsas y retóricas infundadas, EPISD sí le ha dado acceso a científicos hacia nuestras escuelas para que estudien la salud y el suelo. Los estudios que se hicieron enseñaron que no hay algún peligro para los niños, ni siquiera en áreas supuestamente tóxicas que han sido el blanco de protestas.
Los protestantes han también usado retórica que daña a los estudiantes de Zavala y Douglas al insinuar que los estudiantes de estos planteles no rinden académicamente y que por eso no se deberían combinar las escuelas. Esas palabras son falsas y dañinas. Me siento orgulloso de los maestros y alumnos de Zavala y Douglass que continúan mejorando su enseñanza año por año. De echo, este ciclo escolar pasado, las dos escuelas obtuvieron una calificación de B por la Agencia de Educación de Texas. Sabemos que con nuestro apoyo podrán mejorar aun más.
Quiero también negar un rumor falso de que las escuelas Zavala y Douglass se encuentran sobrepobladas después de su consolidación con Burleson y Beall. Simplemente eso no es cierto. Es también falso que nuestros salones en esas escuelas se encuentran con mas de 30 alumnos por maestro. Las reglas del estado nos prohíben tener a mas 22 niños por aula en los salones de kínder a cuarto grado.
Entiendo la preocupación y también la tristeza de las comunidades de Burleson y Beall. La clausura de escuelas es una decisión difícil — una que deseamos no tener que hacer. Sin embargo, tenemos que tomar decisiones difíciles si queremos sobrevivir como distrito y poder ofrecerles a nuestros alumnos el acceso a maestros capacitados y programas educativos de alto nivel.
Nuestras emociones estuvieron a alto nivel el martes durante la junta de la mesa directiva, cuando se discutió el cierre de escuelas. Después de todo, este es un tema difícil. Quiero agradecerle a la mesa directiva su liderazgo durante este proceso.
Respetamos la opinión y voz de cualquier miembro de nuestra comunidad. El impacto de estas decisiones es algo que tomamos muy a pecho. Pero al final, debemos recordar que estos todos aquí por la misma razón: para cuidar a nuestros hijos. Empezamos y terminamos todos los días que una sola meta. Y aunque respetamos la diversidad de pensamientos y discusión, tenemos que seguir unidos en nuestra meta. El lenguaje divisivo y lleno de odio solo hace que nos distraigamos de nuestra meta educativa y daña a los estudiantes.
A todas las familias y comunidades de nuestro distrito les quiero dar esta promesa: La educación, salud y seguridad de sus hijos es, y seguirá siendo nuestra prioridad mas alta.
Learning starts from Day 1 in EPISDPosted by Juan E. Cabrera on 8/15/2019
The first day of school is a special time for our students and teachers. This week, I was elated to share in that excitement as I visited classrooms throughout the District to help give our kids and employees the welcome they deserve.
What a treat it was to see students of all ages reconnect with friends and make new ones at the schools that will serve as their second home for the next 180 days. As superintendent, I am proud to see that our employees — from the educators in the classrooms to the support personnel in the cafeterias and buses — were more than ready to start the year right.
This year, the theme of our back-to-school efforts is “EPISD Rocks.” And what resonates about that slogan for me is the fact that, just like artists, educators do their job because they find inspiration in it. Without a doubt, the kids of El Paso motivate us to give the best of ourselves every day. This was evident in every school I visited over the last two days.
Even on the first day of instruction, every student I approached was eager to share with me what they already had learned from their teachers. Visiting classrooms left me impressed by our team of teachers who work diligently to create innovative learning strategies and instructional spaces that help every single one of our students thrive.
As we move forward with the 2019-20 school year, I invite parents and community members to join our teachers and employees in celebrating education in El Paso. Without a doubt, our students are our most precious resource. EPISD is proud to be the leader in instructional innovation in the U.S.-Mexico border, and we welcome any partner who wishes to help us meet our goal of providing the highest-quality education to the children of El Paso.
Let’s have a wonderful school year, EPISD! EPISD Rocks!
Let’s celebrate the spirit of El Paso and EPISD as we start the school year.Posted by Juan E. Cabrera on 8/11/2019
The start of classes in the El Paso Independent School District marks a bittersweet time in the history of our district. As always, we are excited and happy to see our students inclassrooms, but it comes at a challenging time in our history. Our sole and unifying purpose is to serve our students and give them the high-quality education to which they’re entitled. However, there is no denying that we are all starting the 2019-20 school year with a heavy heart.
On Aug. 3, El Paso was senselessly attacked by a hate-filled individual determined to shatter the spirit of what makes El Paso and EPISD so special.
We are devastated, we are hurting, but we are not broken. While the out of town coward aimed to destroy the culture that ties all of us, his actions instead helped us come together to build a more unified El Paso! Our students, employees, parents and community partners have shown the world what it means to be an El Pasoan — what it means to be #ElPasoStrong
So today, using that strength that has come to define us, we begin the school year and continue to persevere and thrive. There is no better way to fight ignorance, hate and racism than with education.
As the father of three, I share with many of you the concern for the safety of our students. I have heard from many parents who are concerned about sending their children to school and away from the comfort and safety of their own homes. I want to reassure our parents that the safety and security of our students and employees is a top priority.
From the day I arrived at EPISD, 7 years ago we began a dedicated focus to increase our efforts to improve school security and to create safer learning environments. This is personal for me. From 2010-2012 when we lived in Austin, my family personally experienced three separate school threats that resulted in school lock-downs at our elementary and middle schools. It was gut-wrenching to wait for hours on 3 separate occasions to hear that my wife and children were safe.
My commitment to safety is clear unwavering and has only become stronger over the years. We have made many improvements we cannot discuss publicly but please rest assured this is a TOP priority. From close circuit cameras at every school to improved school entry security we are committed to a continuing effort to add more security protocols to support our efforts and our police force.
Our EPISD police force works hand-in-hand with local, state and federal authorities to train campuses, identify real and perceived threats and adjust our plans of action to better prepare for what we hope will never come. On Monday, I also will send me daughter to one of our schools and I do so confident that we have done everything possible to secure our schools. I can assure you, as a parent and superintendent of schools, if there was any indication of a threat, I would be the first to cancel classes.
Today, we want to allow our children to be children. School is about routine and normalcy. We know that getting back to their school friends and teachers will be part of the healing process for our children, and our community. There’s nothing like the hope and excitement of a child on the first day of school to remind us all of what’s truly important.
We want our kids to take advantage of all that school has to offer. And this school year, we are adding many more options for students and families.
One of the most impactful changes is the addition of all-day pre-kindergarten at 25 sites throughout the District. For decades, we have offered pre-kinder courses to children ages 3 and 4, but have done so only for half-day sessions. State funding this year will allow us to expand to full day classes, which we know will have a lost-lasting effect in our students’ academic development.
I’m also excited to announce the opening of our Small Learning Communities at Bowie High School. Bowie has already shown tremendous success with New Tech over the past several years. We are replicating the model with two other focus areas — sports medicine and global industries. Every ninth-grader entering Bowie this year has chosen one of these Learning Communities as his or her high school focus. By the time they graduate, these students could earn certifications and college credits in physical therapy, entrepreneurship and business courses. I look forward to seeing our Bears thrive and lead the way in innovation!
Over the summer, construction moved full speed ahead with our Bond 2016 projects. Please be mindful of construction zones at schools as classes resume. The modernization of EPISD will help us meet the academic and extracurricular goals of our students in a much more effective manner, but doing so will require us to put up with some noise and work zones. We ask for your understanding and cooperation. In the end, it will all be worth it.
As you can see, there is a lot of things to look forward to during this school year. Thank you for being part of the EPISD Family. We are happy to have our kids back. Have a great year!
EPISD Teachers: Let's show strength through hard timesPosted by Juan E. Cabrera on 8/5/2019
Back to School is normally a time of excitement and joy for our district. This weekend, as many of our teachers were getting ready to return to work to start the 2019-20 school year, our community was confronted with the unimaginable. A mass shooting occurred in our beloved El Paso.
On Saturday, as many of our parents and students were out shopping for school supplies, an outsider came into our city and carried out one of the deadliest attacks on our freedom and way of life. In the end, 22 members of our community lost their lives and at least 26 others were injured at a Walmart that sits just blocks away from several EPISD campuses.
This senseless act turned what is normally a time of new beginnings and anticipation into one of mourning.
Today, when our campus personnel return to work to start the school year, they will be greeted by old friends and familiar faces. Sadly, some of those people that mean so much to us will be facing unthinkable pain and sorrow. We now know that the EPISD Family has been touched by this tragedy and that the victims of the attack were family members and friends of some of our students and employees.
We as a District will support our employees and the community in their time of need. In times of tragedy, El Pasoans and the EPISD Family do what we always do: come together and pull through.
Just hours after first responders first made it on the scene, EPISD employees — from police officers, custodians, cafeteria workers, counselors and MacArthur administrators working on Saturday — answered the call to provide services and help. This weekend EPISD opened its doors and hearts to the victims of the attacks. I want to particularly thank the MacArthur community for rallying behind the impacted families. EPISD makes me proud, but never more than this weekend when we worked around the clock to support those who were caring for the families.
Over the next few days, as we prepare our schools to welcome our students back to class, I want to ask you to give one another an extra hug. Extend a helping hand to anyone who may need it. Ask a stranger how they’re doing.
Most importantly, seek help if you need it or guide students and adults to services if you feel they can use them. In addition to our EPISD Counseling Staff, the following agencies are available to help: Emergence Healthcare Network at 799-1800, El Paso Center for Children at 565-5021, and the El Paso Behavioral Health Services at 521-2450.
Together, we will grieve and persevere. After all, we are #EPISDProud and #ElPasoStrong.
New compensation package best in decadesPosted by Juan E. Cabrera on 6/19/2019
EPISD strengthened its commitment to recruiting and retaining high-quality educators and personnel on Tuesday when the Board of Trustees approved an unprecedented compensation and benefits package. Simply put, the salary increase and benefits package our employees will receive during the 2019-2020 school year is the best one we have offered in decades.
On average, every teacher in the District will have a salary increase of 6 percent from their base pay. Our starting teacher salary also was increased to $50,556. The Board also awarded a 5 percent increase from mid-point to all other employees in the District, including our deserving hourly employees.
Something that sets EPISD apart from other neighboring Districts is the system of stipends the Board approved on Tuesday. Every eligible full-time employee will receive a winter stipend of $750 (eligible part-time employees would receive half that amount). We project that enough funds will be available to also provide employees with a spring stipend of $500, and the Board has already preliminarily approved that funding.
We are able to provide this robust package not just because of the new funding awarded to the District after the 86th Texas State Legislature, but also because of the work our staff has put into making sure EPISD is one of the leanest and most efficiently-run school districts in the state. After years of cost-cutting and austerity, our commitment to provide high-quality instruction to children while remaining fiscally responsible to our taxpayers is paying off.
It’s also worth noting that the benefits package approved by the Board last night includes something our employees have been desired for years: a new self-funded healthcare option. Thanks to our status as a Texas District of Innovation, we are able to offer a new self-funded health insurance option that gives our employees and their families more choices at affordable prices. This plan will include $500 in employer-provided funds in an HSA if you select the high-deductible option. Open enrollment begins June 24 and ends July 31. Please visit our Benefits page for more information and a schedule of informational sessions, and check out the video below explaining how we came about this plan.
There are other great nuggets in this compensation and benefits package that will improve the quality of life of our employees. For instance, we are increasing the starting pay for school nurses and bus drivers in order to be more competitive in the area. We also are reassessing our staffing tables for custodial services and increasing their contracts to 12 months — all with the goal of giving our campuses the proper care and attention they deserve.
I am beyond proud of the work our staff put in to make this salary and benefits package a reality. I know I can speak on behalf of the Board of Trustees when I say that our employees deserve this and much more.
Thank you EPISD for constantly working to improve the lives of children. Your commitment to this community is inspiring. Have a wonderful summer!
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