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OISD approves longer school days

ONALASKA – School days in Onalaska will be 25 minutes longer next year but the school year will be shortened by five days, according to the 2016-2017 calendar approved by the Onalaska Independent School District’s board last week.

Superintendent Lynn Redden explained the calendar also will give students and staff a longer Thanksgiving holiday. This schedule will allow for the hours of state-required instruction and move graduation up by a week.

In other business, Redden reported the fences are down and the construction work is proceeding on time and under budget. Teachers and other personnel have been checking the new facilities, making a punch list for the wrap up with the contractor which due in the summer.

Redden said the total enrolment stands at 984, which is up from the 897 recorded at this time last year. There are 613 students in the elementary school and the second grade currently has five classes, four with 22 students and one with 25, which will have to be addressed in the opening of the fall session.

Laura Redden reported for the curriculum and special programs, indicating they are focusing on starting writing in the kindergarten classes. She had several grade work sheets displayed for the board to see the progress. Students are encouraged to work on a story, sharing their activities or hobbies and they are responding to that type material. There are tests in the fifth grade for state level on writing that students have scored lower on than desired.

The board was asked to support Region 6 Education Support Center in applying for a Texas 21st Century Community Learning Center grant. This would allow for after school activities, tutoring, and affirmative after school activities and furnish funds for teachers to work longer hours. It also addresses the transportation of students who stay later than the regular busses. The board approved supporting the request for grant funds.

The board held a first reading on update 2104 dealing with the policy manual. Redden suggested the board schedule a workshop to review the policy’s manual, with all the current members.

The proposed election scheduled for May 7 has been cancelled, there were no contested races and the current board will be sworn-in and re-organized at the May board meeting.

There was discussion regarding the annual audit services and they voted to offer a contract for the 2016 audit starting Aug. 31 to Weaver and Tidwell, LLP, Houston. Also they renewed their contract for 2016-17 with Interquest Detection Canines of Southeast Texas; the dogs are used to check the vehicles in the parking lot, lockers and other possible suspicious situations.

Six properties in Creekside and two in Forest Hills were on the tax foreclosure list and all met the criteria and the bids were accepted by the board.

Principal David Murphy reported that 225 students met their nine weeks’ i-Achieve goal and enjoyed a root beer float party.

March 21-25 students will be taking mock STAAR tests preparing for the real thing in the flowing weeks. March 31 the third grade students will take a field trip to the Aquarium in downtown Houston. On April 7 the fifth grade will take a field trip to Camp Forest Glenn in Huntsville to study predator/prey, micro life, pioneers along with fun activities built into their day. April 5 they will conduct a Pre-K and Kindergarten Round Up starting at 5:30 p.m. for students who will attend the 2016-17 school year.

After an executive session the board renewed the contracts of counselors Jodi Adkins and Robin Thornton, assistant principals Larissa Grubbs and Donald Meekins, Transportation Director Michal Skaggs, Business Manager Angela Foster and Auxiliary Department Director James Ard.