EDINBURG, Texas (Valley Central) — Senate Bill 15 is on Governor Greg Abbott’s desk waiting to be signed.
The bill allows funding for school districts to offer virtual learning and some school districts in the Rio Grande Valley such as Weslaco ISD and Mercedes ISD have already implemented a virtual academy.
“We started the planning process,” said Edinburg CISD Superintendent Mario Salinas. “One of the first things we’re working on right now is to prepare an application for those families that want to consider virtual instruction.”
While Salinas said they are waiting for Governor Abbott to sign Senate Bill 15 to fund the virtual learning program, he is optimistic it will get signed but worries there may not be enough staff on hand for the program.
“The state is telling us you can’t have a teacher teaching concurrently like what we did last year to students face-to-face while at the same time teaching to children at home,” he said.
This is why Salinas adds that another part of their plan is to start hiring more teachers that would lead the program.
“We can’t afford to take teachers that are teaching face-to-face and put them in a virtual setting. We are still looking for teachers to help us,” said Salinas.
There are a number of things they are going to look at when qualifying kids for virtual learning, but he said they are giving priority to those who are medically compromised.
“Children that are not eligible for vaccines as a priority as well on this cap, 3,000 number cap we are probably looking at an emphasis on medically fragile children, and children not vaccine eligible,” he added.
Salinas said their students are already prepared and have equipment for the transition. Edinburg CISD does not have an application out yet, but they’re working on having it out soon.