By Constancio Martinez, Jr.
Special to the PRESS
The PI-ISD School Board held a special meeting on Monday, December 9, at Port Isabel High School Lecture Hall, where a resolution was passed to pay a one-time $500 stipend to all district permanent employees who complete a safety training program.
Superintendent Theresa Alarcon laid out the program to the board members and the representatives of the teacher advisory committees. All district employees were eligible to receive the stipend, but must have met the requirements. The employees viewed three mini-videos dealing with cybersecurity. The videos were watched during non-working hours and the faculty and staff completed a pre and post-test. The videos were made available in the library, with each school having one point of contact, either the librarian or the library media specialist. The program started at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, December 9, and concluded on Thursday, December 12. The checks will be distributed either the 16 or 17 of December.
The funds for the program come from employee positions not filled after being vacated. The district has approximately 364 employees, so the projected cost of the program is $182,000. An employee who starts work after the award of this one-time incentive stipend is not eligible to receive it.
Superintendent Alarcon stated the program started from budget discussions between the administration and the Teacher Advisory Committees. Furthermore, she said, “I would like to thank the advisory committee for making recommendations and although you might not see immediate changes your input is valued. This is something because of your input everyone is going to get to benefit.”
In attendance were first grade teacher from Derry Elementary, Debbie West, who expressed her joy, saying, “I’m pleased to say that each and every one of us are incredibly grateful to Superintendent Alarcon, our administration, and school board members for their concerted efforts in making this stipend available to us,” she said.
West continued, “There were some very loud cheers and a great deal of chatter on the positive difference these additional funds will make on our household budgets throughout this holiday season. It was a great feeling to see the smiles on everyone’s faces!”
PIHS Athletic Secretary, Melissa Valdez, said the stipend was “wonderful news.”
“I’m dancing here by my desk,” Valdez said. “I was pleasantly surprised and very grateful to hear that we would be receiving the stipend right before the Christmas Break.”