By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

GRAPELAND – Following the passage of the $7.75 million bond for construction of a new elementary school during the May 6 election, the Grapeland Independent School District took the first steps in the bond process during a meeting of the GISD Board of Trustees held on Monday, May 15.

Once the meeting was called to order, GISD Superintendent Gregg Spivey introduced attorney Blake Powell with the law firm of Powell and Leon, LLP, who had been retained to assist the board as it moves through the bond process.

“Congratulations on the passage of your bond,” the attorney said. “I guess we should entertain an official action to canvass (the votes). I have an instrument here which is your certificate for canvassing the election.”

The election results showed 409 votes in favor of the bond and 255 against and after the election returns had been reviewed by the board, a motion was made and unanimously approved to accept the vote totals.

After the canvass, the next order of business was to administer the oath of office to trustees Mitchell Huff and James Martin. Neither trustee was opposed in the recent election, but because their terms were expiring, both trustees were administered the oath of office as they started a new term on the board.

The ensuing order of business involved the reorganization of the board, however, a motion was made and approved to continue with current slate of officers as is. Eddie Childress will continue to serve as the GISD Board President, James Martin will return as the GISD Board Vice-president and Paul Oliver will continue in his role as the GISD Board Secretary.

As the meeting continued, Spivey provided an update on legislative action in the Texas Legislature. He said it appeared HB 21, a finance bill for education, had been approved by the Texas House of Representatives and had moved to the Texas Senate.

“The Senate seemed to like most of the items in HB 21, however, the Senate is trying to add an education savings account – a voucher – to the bill. It is for students with disabilities. It is scaled back quite a bit from what they originally wanted to do, but we will see how it goes,” the superintendent said.

He added the A-F accountability system was also being reviewed by the legislature and while some changes had been made, the system was likely to be put in place during August of 2018.

Spivey also reminded the board of several upcoming events as the 2016-2017 school year draws to a close. The band banquet was scheduled for Tuesday, May 16, Baccalaureate is scheduled for Sunday, May 21, the FFA banquet is scheduled is Monday, May 22, the academic banquet is scheduled for Tuesday, May 23 and graduation is scheduled for Friday, May 26.

In other matters brought before the board:

  • The 2017-2018 school calendar was approved.
  • The board approved designating $250,000 from the district’s fund balance for the construction of a new baseball field.
  • Consent agenda items were approved.
  • Ginger Arbuckle was hired as the new Grapeland Elementary School Principal. Arbuckle has served as a principal at Kennard Elementary and as an assistant principal in Shepherd ISD. Most recently, she has served as the Inclusion Curriculum Specialist for Houston-Trinity County Shared Services.

Will Johnson may be reached via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.