By Jan White
KENNARD – In a highly anticipated school board meeting on Thursday, April 14, Kennard ISD’s Board of Trustees voted to adopt a 5-day school week rather than the hybrid calendar voted most popular by the teachers.
The acceptance of next year’s instructional calendar was tabled at last month’s school board meeting because of a difference of opinion between the trustees and the teachers. At that time, it was reported that the results of a survey indicated that 50% of the teachers approved of a four-day school week. But many of the board members disagreed in favor of the more traditional five-day week. After a lengthy and heated discussion, the Trustees voted to hold off on making a decision at that time.
Discussion on the topic at this meeting quickly became as intense as it had been the previous month. Apparently, in the interim, another vote had been taken among teachers showing an increased approval of what trustees called “Calendar A.” The teacher-favored calendar was a hybrid five-day school week for the first half of the year and a four-day school week for the second half of the year. Most of the concerns seemed to center on the effects the change could have on elementary students.
The reported 38% opposition was mostly among elementary school teachers who were reluctant to get on board with the change without knowing whether their students would feel a negative impact.
Cole appeared to be the most outspoken in favor of the hybrid calendar and made a motion it be accepted for the 2022-23 school year, but the motion died due to lack of a second.
After several more minutes of discussion, the motion was made to approve the calendar labeled “Calendar B” which was the more traditional five-day week approach and received the second-highest approval by teachers and staff. The motion passed with three members in favor of accepting Calendar B, and one vote against it.
During the meeting, Coach Cory Carden, athletic director, and baseball coach for KISD asked the board to consider a request for funds for a concession stand and to make the restrooms ADA compliant for the baseball and softball fields. Carden told the board that the sports program was growing, and they needed to expand their facilities. He asked the board to consider the use of a current structure, referred to as ‘the red house’ as a possible site for the building. He estimated the cost of the project to be a maximum of $150k. This would include building a concession area, restrooms, and a locker room with a washer and a dryer. Coach Victoria Alverson, volleyball and softball coach interjected that if the Trustees were to pursue the project, more accurate bids could be obtained. Because the project had been stalled since last year, President Rebecca Parker had asked that it be brought up again in hopes that the trustees would consider taking action on the proposition.
Following that conversation, Parker proceeded to the report Board Member training hours. According to the Texas Education Agency, school board trustees are required to take a certain number of hours of training and as Board President, Parker is required to announce the name of each member who has completed the required number of hours of CPE, and those who are deficient in those training hours.
Members who fulfilled the required number of hours are Parker, Keith Cole, and Terry Pilkington. Those deficient in their training hours are Kenneth Dowdy who needs 8 additional hours, Brijesh Patel who needs four additional hours, Jo Smith who needs additional eight hours of training, and Brittani Womack who needs five additional hours.
The board also approved seeking bids for the demolition of a house and trees on their property, the InterQuest Detection Canines Agreement for 2022-23, waiver of the transfer fee, waiver of the Universal Breakfast fee (which will allow all students a free breakfast at school) and approval of TASB Risk Management Fund. Administrative reports were also given before the board adjourned into a closed session.