WEST COLUMBIA — With full base pay instituted for all Columbia-Brazoria ISD staff, educators felt a weight lifted as they shift their full attention to their students.

Superintendent Steven Galloway and the school board adopted a resolution during Tuesday’s meeting, ensuring all staff members, hourly or salaried, will be paid their full base salaries.

Wild Peach Elementary teacher Nicole Guilbeaux sees the ensured salary as opportunity to refocus on her kindergarten class, she said.

“In a time of uncertainty, it helps knowing I can pay my bills,” Guilbeaux said. “It will better focus us on restructuring our classrooms and supporting our students.”

Kindergarten teacher Cindy Plaia said she was constantly worried about her family’s future. With her salary no longer in doubt, the Wild Peach educator looks to become more creative in an unknown environment, she said.

“This isn’t at all a vacation for me,” Plaia said. “This has forced me to become more creative. We have had constant exchanges to connect administration, other teachers, and our parents to be on the same page.”

C-BISD has not mandated a certain program, but teachers are doing what works for their classes, Galloway said.

“Many are using Google Classroom while several other online platforms are being used as well,” he said. “For others, it may be simply providing workbooks and library books.”

The online teaching could improve teaching skills, Plaia believes.

The decision was a relief for his family but hardly a surprise knowing that the board has always looked out for the staff, pre-kindergarten teacher David Raymond said.

Also during the meeting, representatives from PBK Architects in Houston presented the board with the 50 percent design plans of the sixth-grade wing of West Brazos Junior High School.

The more than 20,000-square-foot addition will feature 10 classrooms, two science classrooms, two large group instruction rooms, a reception room, a restroom and a mechanical room with a remodeled band hall.

The project plans to be submitted for subcontractor proposals by June 1 and will cost an estimated $10.5 million to complete, which is funded by voter-approved debt, Galloway said. Completion is still on schedule for July 2021, he said.

Nick Irene is a reporter for The Facts. Contact him at 979-237-0149.

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