GISD preparing for Aug. 10 start

School kicks-off Aug. 10 at Gladewater ISD, but there are some key dates ahead of time that parents and students shouldn’t miss.
Dr. Sedric Clark outlined the back-to-school timeline for trustees at their regularly-scheduled meeting July 17 along with routine votes on budget amendments and beginning-of-year business.
In key action items, the board approved an addition to the student code of conduct that enhances the punishment for students found in possession of vapes or e-cigarettes on-campus.
Regarding the back-to-school schedule, Clark noted the opening of online registration Tuesday, July 25, which continues as the school year gets underway.
Today, July 27, is the annual in-person residency check from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Gladewater Middle School.
“That’s a biggie because everyone needs to come,” Clark said. “There are other forms we’ll have them fill out there, but that’s the place.”
New Teacher Orientation is July 31, and returning teachers head back to their classrooms Aug. 1. Convocation is set for 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Aug. 2 for faculty and staff.
For students and parents, Meet the Bears is 6:30 p.m. Aug. 7 at Gladewater High School then Meet the Teacher is set for 4 p.m. on all campuses Aug. 8 before the first day of school Aug. 10.
In several budget amendments, trustees approved shifting expenditures from the 2022-2023 Fiscal Year to the new FY23-24.
“We’re a July 1 Fiscal Year board,” Clark confirmed.
The budget for the current Fiscal Year includes a boon for the district’s staffers, granting raises (above scheduled ‘steps’) for the fifth consecutive year.
In April, the board members approved a new salary schedule for teachers. Budget adoption in late-June added a significant increase for all hourly workers, Clark said, a $2 per hour pay increase across the board.
“For all of our employees, our salaries are more competitive with other districts than they ever have been before. On a person to person basis, it’s more money in their pockets to help them during the times that we’re in,” Clark said. “One of the things I will do as superintendent: we’ve worked on raising pay for five years and we will continue to do that, but I’m also going to look at what we can do in the benefits area. We’ll ask them what will help them more than just a simple increase in pay.
Meanwhile, “This board is just committed to doing whatever it needs to do, whatever it can do to take care of employees. We do not have unlimited funds… but we’re doing the very best with the funds we have to make sure our people know their well-being is important to us.”
In a series of standard votes including approval of the 2023-2024 Student Handbook, Student Code of Conduct, Grading Guidelines and Employee Handbook, Clark noted a disciplinary change: moving forward, student possession of e-cigarettes or vapes will result in a mandatory stint in alternative school.
Another notable change for the district: to comply with the newly-passed Senate Bill 629, Gladewater ISD will ensure at least one person on campus is trained to administer the antidote for fentanyl poisoning and to comply with similar requirements approved this legislative session.
Trustees also approved a resolution regarding wage payments during Emergency School Closings. The policy covers any period of five days or fewer that the school is compelled to close beyond planned dates.
“Without it, we’d be doing a gift of public funds to our employees for times they didn’t work,” Clark said. This way, staffers can be confident of timely compensation according to the annual budget. “They don’t have an option when we say school is closed for a natural disaster, electricity being off, water being off or anything,” but they’ll still receive due wages.

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