The Killeen ISD board of trustees reviewed the possibility of extended paid leave provisions for COVID-19 afflicted employees on Tuesday. 

However, no action was taken on the matter, and 10 days of paid leave for eligible COVID-19 afflicted employees hangs in the balance. The board will review the matter again at the next meeting on Jan. 26. 

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), signed by President Donald Trump on March 18, mandated certain employers to provide up to two weeks of paid sick leave at full pay to eligible COVID-19 afflicted employees, among other expanded leave entitlements.

Those FFCRA benefits expired Dec. 31, leaving vulnerable Americans at the mercy of their employers during a global pandemic.

Superintendent John Craft presented the board with a resolution which would extend the paid leave provisions previously mandated under the now expired FFCRA.

"This (resolution) would allow the same provisions that were provided prior to the expiration on Dec. 31 to continue forward," he said. 

That additional paid leave comes at a cost to the district, he said.

With no end in sight to the novel coronavirus, paid leave is projected to cost the district as much as $3 million in 2021, Craft said.

"One of the important pieces of this is obviously the cost," he said. "We’ve run the numbers, and, again, this is not a reimbursable expense. The period through the 27th of November was at a cost of almost 1.3 million dollars."

Between March and November, KISD paid $1.28 million in paid leave to eligible employees in response to the coronavirus.

In the past week, KISD reported 57 active cases of COVID-19 as of Jan. 12. Twenty-six of those cases are KISD staff and 31 cases are students. KISD has reported 1,079 COVID-19 cases since March. 

Last week a Killeen ISD educator, Cathy Falkner, succumbed to COVID-19 complications - the first educator death for the district.

Some KISD employees have already received their COVID-19 vaccine, Craft said. 

"We have numerous nurses who have already been vaccinated first round," he said. "They were able to secure vaccinations through H-E-B or Brookshires."

Additional doses are on the way, he said, but have already been reserved.

"The goal is to vaccinate 500 on a daily basis, but, keep in mind, there are 450,000 residents in the county," he said.

KISD trustees discussed other agenda items including:

  • Class size waiver requests
  • An overview of the College, Career, and Military Readiness Program
  • Report on the Nov. 19 board audit committee meeting
  • Annual consideration of the KISD board audit committee charter

To view the meeting in its entirety online, go to www.killeenisd.org/livetv.

ldodd@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7567

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