Jan. VISD board meeting 2020

Victoria school board members pose with their spouses for a photo in celebration of School Board Recognition Month. The board met Thursday at the district’s administration building.

The next Victoria school year will begin on Aug. 12.

The Victoria school board adopted the new school calendar Thursday.

This calendar starts classes a week earlier, but it allows for a longer Thanksgiving holiday and President’s Day off during the school year.

The calendar gives a full week off during Thanksgiving and spring break, two weeks for Christmas with Labor Day, Veterans Day and Presidents Day off.

“Calendar A was a favorite for the staff,” Superintendent Quintin Shepherd explained. The calendar accounts for the mandatory 180 school days required by the state.

Classes will end with a half day on May 27, 2021.

The school board also approved a new teacher resignation exemption program and looked to broaden the district’s employee insurance options.

The board unanimously approved each item on the agenda during its board meeting on Thursday.

With the new early resignation incentive with Systems of Great Schools, teachers are rewarded for announcing their resignation or retirement early to help the district fill those positions quickly and effectively, Shepherd explained during the administration report.

“It’s a benefit for everyone,” he said.

Teachers who announce their resignation by Feb. 1 will receive a $500 stipend and teachers who announce their resignation by Feb. 29 will receive a $250 stipend.

“We’re not encouraging people to quit in any way, shape or form,” board member Mike Mercer said. “We’re just rewarding them, if they are going to quit, that they let us know ahead of time. We are not trying to push anyone out the door.”

The board approved opening its insurance options for district employees. The District of Innovation Plan allows them to become exempt of a state subsection that requires districts to provide insurance only through Teacher Retirement System of Texas.

The current insurance provider is not liked among the district’s staff, who have been requesting additional options for some time now, said Gregory Bonewald, deputy superintendent of operations.

“It’s hard to look at our staff and say we don’t have another option,” he said.

The board’s vote allows the district administrators to begin looking for another insurance provider, but they are not allowed to completely remove TRS or guarantee another option will be found, Bonewald said.

Once the district signed up for TRS, it can’t be removed, board president Tami Keeling said.

“Countless school districts are doing this throughout Texas,” Shepherd said regarding the board’s decision to find another provider.

The board also recognized January 2020 as School Board Recognition Month with a video of what a school board is and a standing ovation from those in attendance.

Shepherd said the month is a great time to recognize the board members for the work they do for the district year round.

Samantha Douty is the education reporter at the Victoria Advocate. She grew up in Corpus Christi and graduated from UT-Arlington with a bachelor's in journalism.

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Grace Butler

Have any area school districts considered a year-round schedule? Obviously with longer breaks interspersed, but I've never understood why we do things the way we do. Three months off is terrible for student learning.

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