The Lufkin ISD Board of Trustees passed a resolution to compensate employees during a time of emergency school closure.

Superintendent Lynn Torres said this is a similar resolution to one that was passed during Hurricane Ike and Hurricane Rita.

“Forced closures, be they by our choice because of the pandemic, or whether they now be by proclamation from the governor, we are still required to pay employees, and this resolution allows those employees to be paid at their normal rate of pay,” Torres said.

The board also approved the selection of election judges for the upcoming school board elections on May 2. Torres said the board is waiting to decide on whether they will delay the elections to the Nov. 3 date until it is closer to early voting.

The board also heard a presentation from Lufkin Education Foundation executive director Vercie McMullen and board president Demetress Harrell.

“During these unusual times, the one thing we can be certain of is the great foundation that has been established by the Lufkin Independent School District,” Harrell said. “I think that is something we can be tremendously blessed by and acknowledge in these days.”

Harrell highlighted some of the new projects they created during 2019, including the 50/50 Challenge and the Corporate Challenge.

She also recognized board member Kristi Gay for her support, especially with the foundation’s financial planning.

McMullen presented the financial report, stating the total income was $112,287 with $123,506 in expenses. The foundation ended the year with a total checking account balance of $41,239 and an endowment fund balance of $86,560.

“We had a few more expenses this year, but I think that we really used and implemented some really neat things for our foundation,” she said.

One of the ways the foundation grew this year was through the High $5 Club in which Lufkin ISD staff are given the opportunity to make a one-time $60 donation or a monthly payroll deduction of $5 per month.

“In August, when we did our membership drive, 37% of LISD employees chose to increase their donation by $1 or more a month, bringing their total contribution to over $48,000,” McMullen said. “This was a significant increase for the foundation, and I think this speaks volumes in regard to the incredible Lufkin ISD staff and their care for the students in our district.”

The foundation also changed its logo and launched a new website that will allow teachers to submit and work on their grant applications online.

The foundation also hosted its first Grant Showcase to show investors the impact of their donations on the students in Lufkin.

Finally, the foundation implemented a first-year teacher grant of $100 to help teachers with 0 years of experience get their rooms ready. McMullen said she has had incredible feedback in support of this program.

LISD board president Scott Skelton thanked the women and said the report is one of the highlights of the year to get to see all of the great work from the foundation.

Board member Hall Henderson said he was impressed and thankful to the foundation because some of the grants teachers have received allowed them to purchase materials and programs that are helping them during this period of closure because of the coronavirus.

Grace Juarez’s email address isgrace.juarez@lufkindailynews.com.

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