Grapeland ISD Gets Staffing Report Card at Board Meeting

By Greg Ritchie

Messenger Reporter

GRAPELAND – The Grapeland Independent School District (GISD) held its monthly board meeting Monday, Oct. 24 in the school library. The board met to hear the report and recommendations from the Texas Association of School Boards. (TASB)

The GISD board met to hear a report the district had requested of their staffing situation from TASB. Karen Dooley, Assistant Director of Human Resources for the organization presented her findings from a survey conducted using questionnaires, date and interviews. Dooley said the review looks to create efficiencies and effectiveness in school districts. 

Dooley told the GISD board that several local districts are requesting such reviews, but that Grapeland got in early and would be the first to see their results. 

GISD Superintendent Don Jackson invited the principals to hear the recommendations and ask questions. 

Dooley told the board her report could be used to align staffing with educational benchmarks or address specific needs by realigning resources and personnel differently. She uses common practices and compared the district to average human resources ratios in other districts around the state. 

For example, there is usually one counselor per 350 students and four clerical staff per 1,000 students. Dooley noted GISD has one of the lowest student-to-teacher ratios in the state. 

Dooley made several recommendations to the board including:

  • Adding a librarian to manage the library and possibly help with technology support
  • One additional clerical position to help the district
  • Addition of more educational aides, perhaps instead of more teachers in some situations
  • Reductions or reallocations of certain teachers where GISD seems overstaffed
  • Add a maintenance person if it is economically feasible 
  • Add a technology position
  • Integrate payroll operations with technology to reduce paper and waste
  • Switch to an online hiring system to increase hiring speed and cast a wider net to find candidates
  • Archive records electronically

Dooley said her recommendations could free up nearly $500,000 that GISD could reallocate for other programs or be more competitive in hiring new staff. She recommended the board to make a five year plan of action to begin addressing some of the recommended changes. 

Dooley gave GISD an “A” regarding overall staffing and a “B+” as regards human resources, where she said some simple improvements could make a big difference. 

Dooley’s report was well received by the board, who agreed to look at the proposals before finalizing their next budgets and plans. GISD Superintendent Jackson told Dooley he was grateful for such a detailed review that should help the district make better and timelier personnel decisions as the district grows and evolves. 

Greg Ritchie can be reached at [email protected]

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