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San Antonio School Boards Approve Pay For All Staff During COVID-19 Closures

The sign outside San Antonio ISD's Lamar Elementary directs parents to Facebook for the latest coronavirus updates.
Camille Phillips | Texas Public Radio
The sign outside San Antonio ISD's Lamar Elementary directs parents to Facebook for the latest coronavirus updates.

During emergency school closures, hourly employees often suffer a loss of income because they’re unable to work. When Hurricane Irma struck Florida in 2018, thousands of hourly school employees went without pay.

But over the past two weeks, San Antonio’s school boards have approved emergency resolutions to pay all staff, preventing loss of income from happening here.The board resolutions allow districts to pay employees whether or not they’re able to work from home. This includes staff under contracts and staff who are paid hourly — from bus drivers and custodians to teachers and aides.

First during sparsely attended meetings, then through virtual means, board members voted to continue paying all staff to aid retention and improve morale during the crisis.

“The staff has shown true dedication to our students, and we want them to know that we are dedicated to taking care of them,” said South San Board President Gilbert Rodriguez in a statement after an emergency meeting held via teleconference March 20.

During a video meeting on Tuesday, Northside Superintendent Brian Woods thanked the Northside board for approving pay the week before.

“Someday, hopefully sooner rather than later, everyone will return to school and District leaders want all talent to return to the benefit of students,” Woods said.

North East also approved pay during a specially-called meeting March 20. “During these trying times, we must continue to provide services to our community,” North East Board President Shannon Grona said after the vote. “Continuing to pay the employees who make this District a success is the right thing to do.”

Some of the resolutions, including the resolution approved by the San Antonio Independent School District, stipulate that the pay is for full-time employees.

The resolution approved by Alamo Heights during a teleconference meeting Thursday gave Superintendent Dana Bashara discretion to pay all full-time and part-time staff.

Districts are able to afford to continue paying employees because state funding is still being distributed as long as schools provide remote instruction.

Edgewood and East Central also approved a premium pay rate for hourly employees who work during the closure: one and a half times their regular rate of pay. 

Camille Phillips can be reached at Camille@tpr.org or on Twitter @cmpcamille.