By Jason Jones
GRAPELAND– The Grapeland Independent School District (GISD) school board held its final meeting before the start of the 2021-22 school year on Monday evening at the Grapeland Secondary library. Board members present were James Martin – President, Brad Spisak – Vice President, Kendra Huff – Secretary, Allen Cheatham, Ryan Richie and Melissa Cobb – members, and Don Jackson – Superintendent. Not in attendance was member Josh Goolsby.
The board opened the meeting in closed session at 6 p.m., then began the public open session at 6:45 p.m. On the agenda for the evening were 17 items, including the Pledge of Allegiance, recognition of GISD excellence, and the Public Forum. As there were no speakers requesting time during the public forum, the board moved forward with the remaining items, starting with the Superintendent’s report.
Superintendent Don Jackson reported the district is fully staffed, but three resignations needed to be approved by the board – two who accepted positions, but chose to go with a different district, and one who resigned to move elsewhere.
Superintendent Jackson also reported on progress being made by maintenance crews on various repairs and maintenance at each campus. Jackson also mentioned plans were moving forward on renovations to Lorena Shoultz Auditorium.
The next item brought forward by Jackson was pertaining to the Transportation and Maintenance barn. Jackson mentioned no current action had been taken, but inquiries had been made on property in town, namely the former Harold’s Mobil Mart tire shop, but that he has yet to hear back regarding this information.
Other items addressed during the Superintendent’s report included progress on new signage for the elementary school, leaks at the middle school being addressed due to damage during recent storms, and progress on irrigation and sod projects.
Early Learning Center Director Christy Hill reported on the ELC. The center currently has an enrollment of 60 students, with a capacity for 65. Teel also mentioned the need for a washer and dryer for the center, and reported that progress on a new awning was moving forward.
Julie Martin reported on progress and application procedures for ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund) and ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) grants. These grants are approximately $1.6 million and $740,000 respectively, and would be spanned over three years.
The board then considered and approved several measures, including policy revisions pertaining to CKC (local) and DH (local) which authorizes specific district employees or officials to possess certain firearms at board meetings, school sponsored or school related events on school property, to the extent allowed by law.
Also considered and approved by the GISD board:
- A waiver for GISD to bypass legislation regarding development of board policy limiting counselor time to only counselor related duties for 80% of the counselor’s time
- Approval of budget planning workshop dates
- Approval of service contracts with Region 6 ESC for 2020-22
- Approval 2021-22 Employee Handbook
- Approval of district insurance policy renewal
- Approval of financial report and minutes from the June 17 board meeting
The board then went back into executive session and approved the 2021-22 GISD compensation plan, professional personnel, and resignations.
Jason Jones may be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.