In their March board meeting, school trustees approved a new calendar for the 2018-19 school year (below), which includes a shift in the Christmas holiday—with dismissal delayed to Wednesday, rather than Tuesday, and school resuming on Thursday, rather than Wednesday—as well as two additional professional-development days.
In addition, the board also agreed to modify this year’s school calendar to allow for a professional development/community service day on April 16, 2018. That change, Lynch said, was in keeping with the new school-transformation plan.
“I spent some time with our staff identifying high-priority community values,” Lynch said. “Our community supports our kids so well that [we want to] take non-core people and do a volunteer-basis community give-back day.”
The board agreed to set aside April 16 for that purpose. Lynch said the give-back will involved a structured plan for high school and middle school students who choose to participate by performing work on the school grounds. Elementary school students will have a “Help a Neighbor” day, after which they will write about and draw pictures of their experiences. “This is about community service and giving back,” Lynch said “We want to model that.”
Though aware of the public’s interest in seeing the new classrooms and practice gymnasium that serve the middle and high school campuses, Lynch asked his board to allow a promised public tour of the new facilities to be delayed until the start of next year. Lynch said details on the latest punch list had been pretty well completed, and that an eight-month punch list would be presented right before the one-year construction guarantee expires.
However, he said, “We met as administrative staff, and we’d really like our open house to be a back-to-school event.” Lynch noted several finishing touches, like a mural and graphic art on the walls, that he’d like to see completed before a tour is offered. “We want to show it off when we’re really done, if you guys are OK for that,” he told trustees, who agreed to the delay.
In response to an inquiry from an adjoining landowner about the possible purchase of the old M.K. School House property on FM 3044, Lynch asked trustees whether anyone had any objection to the school district offering the now-abandoned building for sale. The small structure, which sits on a 2.5 acre to 3 acre parcel of land, had been leased to Hemphill County for over 50 years, for use as a Precinct 4 maintenance building and polling place, but was replaced last year when the county completed construction of a new building to serve those purposes.
“The building is deteriorating quickly,” Lynch said, “and I’ve been contacted by landowners that might have an interest.” Citing the cost and inconvenience of upkeep and liability for the empty building, Lynch said that before he brought its possible sale to the board as an action item, “I just want to make sure there’s not any beloved attachment to it.” The board’s consensus was that sale of the property was warranted.