PORTLAND, Texas — District leaders said there's a lot for students and staff to look forward this year, including the opening of a new middle school campus.
The new school year will also include a pay raise for teachers within the Gregory-Portland Independent School District.
District superintendent, Dr. Michelle Cavazos, sat down with 3News about the final preps underway.
"Every single person whether they are driving a bus, serving a meal, changing a light bulb, cutting the grass, or teaching in the classroom, has been so critical to our students and success," said Dr. Cavazos.
Those employees are being recognized for that hard work with a boost in their paychecks. School trustees unanimously approved a total of $1.5 million in pay raises, with teachers seeing a 3 % increase in pay.
- Clerical, technical, and auxiliary staff will receive an increase of a $1.25 per hour
- Full-time employees will receive $2,500 in retention stipend pay
- Bus drivers will go from $22 to $24 an hour
"Exceptionally proud of them and the work they have done for us the last year especially," she added. "We know this next year will provide great opportunities."
The superintendent said there is no greater investment the district can make.
When it comes to COVID-19 protocols, Dr. Cavazos said while districts are not allowed to mandate face coverings at school, administrators will highly encourage their use as well as encourage employees and students who are eligible to get vaccinated.
Dr. Cavazos said sanitation practices will also continue.
"We will have partitions still available especially at our elementary levels for use in the classroom," she said. "For students who don't use masks, we have some extra protection there, as well as max social distancing as much as possible in the classroom."
The superintendent said the new school year will include the opening of one of the largest projects funded by a school bond in G-P ISD.
Right now, crews are working to ensure the brand new middle school is ready to welcome students.
The project was part of the district's $117 million bond package voters approved back in 2015.
"There is a new career and technology center that is opening at our high school as well as a 22 classroom addition on our high school," she said.
The first day of school for G-P students is August 12.
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