TROY, TX — Big school districts have a financial and possibly a technological advantage when dealing with the many changes brought on by COVID 19. So how will small school districts with fewer resources fare?
Everyone agrees the new school year will look a lot different than previous school years. What’s it gonna look like a small school district? At Troy ISD, the coronavirus crisis coincided with a big expansion in school campuses.
Parents had the same concerns as Peanut's mom. We found the pre-K student and her mom at a Troy playground. She says catching up with academics after a spring of slipping back is top of most parents' minds.
"They're fallin' behind and that's a major concern for 'em, and it's very frustrating for the parents because that's like a failure for your kid," said Kristen, who didn't want to give her full name.
But Troy ISD Superintendent Neil Jeter says academics still takes the top spot on his list.
"We're going to do our dead-level best to make sure they learn at the appropriate level and pace," he said.
But now academics must share that top spot with health and safety. For now, Jeter doesn't plan to pass on any extra expenses to parents.
"Every year at this time, we release the school supply list and at this point we're not expecting it to look much different than it has been," he said.
The superintendent says the state will help out with protective gear and allow districts to count both in-person and online heads for reimbursement.
While Jeter admits larger districts have a financial advantage, districts his size can react more quickly.
"The larger the district, usually the more resources available to them, but yet at the same time, a smaller district like Troy perhaps can be a little more nimble, a little more creative," he explained.
He calls it good timing that Troy ISD's school expansion project got underway this year, creating more space to keep students and teachers safer
"We were looking at student enrollment figures and projections and knew that they were coming and we needed to build it, but it still should give us a little bit more social distance," said Jeter.
Meantime, Peanut's mom hopes a combination of distance and in-person learning will help student get back on track.
"Do I think the schools can get caught up? With hard work and determination yeah," she said.
The construction will continue through 2021. Jeter expects to have his school opening plan for the coming school year within about a week or so.