By Bailey Buckingham
Lunchroom monitors for elementary schools will be back, after a vote by the Hays CISD Board of Trustees.
The school board passed an action item that recommends establishing additional positions for the 2016-2017 fiscal year by a unanimous vote.
This will establish 26 lunchroom monitor positions throughout the district. Superintendent Michael McKie recommended this item and the motion was made by Vice President Sandra Bryant.
District 5 board trustee Esperanza Orosco said several years ago, lunchroom monitors were cut at the recommendation of the administration. Since then, trustee Merideth Keller has been working to get these positions reinstated.
“Parents and teachers wanted lunchroom monitors back to ensure the safety of our students,” Orosco said.
Orosco said while safety was one of the main reasons, there were also other factors that contributed to the board’s unanimous vote. She said the action item would halt the practice of assigning the lunch duty task to administrative staff and teachers.
“As a cost saving measure, doing so has not made a significant financial impact, but it has affected team morale and effectiveness when teachers of any grade level are not able to compare notes and strategize during lunch when missing one or two members of their team,” Orosco said.
Orosco said to her knowledge, Hays CISD has been fortunate that there has not been any major situations regarding safety and this measure is precautionary, not a reaction to a specific incident.
The lunchroom monitors will be dispersed among the 13 elementary schools in the district. According to Assistant Superintendent Tim Persall, principals suggested a 50 to 1 ratio in the lunchroom with a maximum of four monitors per elementary, depending on need, Orosco said.
Secretary Teresa Tobias said she has experienced first-hand how busy it can get in the lunchroom while visiting her child at school.
“There have been many times I’ve picked (my daughter) up and she’s got her drink in her bag because she wasn’t able to get a lunchroom monitor’s attention,” Tobias said. “And it isn’t their fault, they’re overwhelmed by the amount of students they need to work with.”
While Keller was not present at the meeting, several members thanked her for the reminder of this important agenda item.