Yantis moves closer to building middle school

By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News Editor

July 23, 2007 - The Yantis Independent School District Board of Trustees was slated to take another big step toward the construction of a new middle school facility today.

During a special 1:30 p.m. meeting at the school, the board was to finalize a contract to hire Jackson Construction as the construction manager at risk, according to YISD Superintendent Harold Cowley.

WRA Architects have been busy drawing up plans for renovations and a new school building to separate middle school and high school students.

The board asked them to prepare plans which include the new facility and various options for renovations and new structures, so the district when considering costs can pick the options which best suit the needs of the district and are most financially feasible for the district, the superintendent noted.

�"We'll have three or four options and see from the options what we want to do about a new building and renovations of the gym and library and such areas," Cowley said. "We'll see the costs of bids and figure the expense. That gives us options of what we can do with the money we have to do it with.

"I think we're in good shape," he added. "If the board approves this contract today, we'll turn them loose with it until we get to the bid stage."

The board, along with the superintendent and business manager, will also meet at 5 p.m. Thursday at Mineola Independent School District for a finance workshop conducted by Cindy Russell, who is "one of the most knowledgeable people I know on tax and rollback tax rates," said Cowley. Following that session, the board at 6 p.m. will meet in general session with representatives from other schools in the area.

In other business, the district has almost completely filled out its staff for the coming school year, replacing a few employees who accepted positions at other districts, as well as a new mother who decided to stay home with her newborn this year.

Also, a new half-time position was added for a math instructor who will work with targeted groups, specifically those lagging on state math tests scores, to give them extra tutorials. The class will be mandatory for those secondary students failing those tests, and will be held in addition to regular math classes, according to Cowley.

"This does count as one of their electives, but we feel this extra math class is more important than electives," the superintendent said.

Teachers will report for work for the 2007-2008 school year on Wednesday, Aug. 15, with students reporting for classes on Monday, Aug. 27.

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