Frisco’s elected school board trustees unanimously agreed to delegate decision-making authority to the district’s top bureaucrat during the course of the coronavirus closures.
At a special meeting held April 1 via videoconference, Frisco Independent School District trustees said the delegations will allow Superintendent Mike Waldrip to act more quickly throughout the COVID-19 emergency.
Frisco activist Tom Fabry says the move is unwise and unnecessary.
“The board of trustees is the people’s representative and governance body for our public schools,” Fabry told Texas Scorecard. “Yet at the very moment when hearing our voices and priorities is most critical, the trustees have essentially abdicated their responsibility to unelected administrators.”
Fabry added trustees could continue handling emergency issues via videoconference.
The trustees hired Waldrip, a former FISD principal and administrator, to serve as superintendent in 2017.
During the course of the emergency closure, Waldrip now has authority to:
- Act in the place of the Board to make all decisions regarding payment of employees;
- Make decisions regarding the compensation of employees;
- Alter the Frisco ISD 2019-2020 school calendar;
- Create guidelines and make determinations regarding employees quarantined as a result of COVID-19;
- Seek waivers from TEA without further action of the Frisco ISD Board; and
- Submit other waivers in accordance with guidance from national, state, or local authorities.
The delegations automatically terminate when the district resumes normal operations.
All Texas schools are temporarily closed to in-person classes until May 4, under an executive order issued by the governor.
Trustees also voted Wednesday to postpone the district’s May 2 board election until November 3. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a waiver last month allowing local governments to do so because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Places 4 and 5 are on the 2020 ballot. Four candidates are running for the open Place 4 seat: Sean Heatley, Muni Janagarajan, Dynette Davis, and Amit Kalra. Incumbent Debbie Gillespie is unopposed for Place 5. Trustees are elected at-large to three-year terms.