KILLEEN, TX — Since the start of the pandemic last March until the end of last year and Christmas break, more than 400 employees with KISD took administrative COVID-19 leave.
“These costs we’ve incurred, to the tune of now $1.2 million, will not be reimbursed for the district,” explained KISD Chief Communications and Marketing Officer Taina Maya.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act required the district to give paid 10 leave days (80 hours) to their workers for specific reasons related to COVID-19.
Maya says the district also pushed other COVID-19 precaution efforts, which weren’t originally budgeted for.
“Hired over 100 new custodians throughout this time. We continue to pay our employees. We provided school supplies for all the students. We supplied water bottles, mitigation efforts for things like water bottle fillers,” she explained.
The district also bought spray bottles for classrooms, wipes, PPE and more.
Maya says the district has found ways to manage these expenses, but they need help from the legislative session for the next school year.
“Key decision points that we're looking for,” said Maya. “That of course is with TEA. The budget comes to our funding, and if virtual learners will still be funded for this year. Right now, that hasn’t been answered.”
Maya says several of their plans for reading academies and teacher incentive allotments could also be impacted by what happens in Austin in the coming months.