At their regular June 2, 2022, board meeting, the Houston School Board spent some time dreaming about changes they might make to the elementary and high school buildings. Representatives from SiteLogiQ, Matt Helgerson, Ryan Gram, and Cullen Bahn, took turns presenting a “refresh of ideas and opportunities” for the buildings.
At the elementary, they proposed an addition in front of the school for a safe and secure entry as well as administrative offices. The cafeteria space would be enlarged; the music room would be reconfigured and moved, a STEM space would be created in the basement and a new elevator would be placed at the front of the building, going from the basement to the second floor. Additional restrooms would be added in spaces freed up in the original building.
Dreams for the high school building included a theater addition to seat 350-400 people, creating fitness and weight rooms, reconfiguring the office area at the front of the building with the high school principal’s office moving to the entry area and creating a safe and secure entry there, adding a nurse’s and a counselor’s office, and relocating the art room and returning the current art space to shop use.
Superintendent Mary Morem stressed that the goal of the presentation was to get ideas started. Josh Norlien concurred, “The only way to dream is to get some ideas.”
Ryan Gram of SiteLogiQ suggested the possibility of a “flexible theater” with fold-up seating that could be moved to the side to allow the use of the space for a dance or yoga area. Helgerson agreed that such a theater might be more cost effective.
Cullen Bahn discussed how the company would help with community engagement. Bahn suggested small groups with assistance from former administrators employed by the company to gather data. He emphasized the needs of the board feeling confident, an involved community, and a shared vision. According to Bahn there are three questions that must be answered: Does it make sense for the kids? Does it make sense fiscally? And, does it have community support?
Helgerson addressed the board at the end of the presentation, asking if SiteLogiQ was on the right track. He stressed the presentation was just a broad overview and offered to come back with figures and more details if the board wished. When Norlien asked if there were local schools they had worked on that the board could look at, Helgerson offered the possibility of “inspirational tours” of such schools.
The SiteLogiQ team will continue to work with Supt. Morem and will return with more specifics.
Regular board business
Supt. Morem informed the board a preliminary budget for next year was in their accessible Google board drive. The board will have a special meeting June 28, 2022 to approve the new budget. The board was encouraged to write their legislators to ask for a SPED budget increase from the state.
Morem gave the QComp annual report; she noted the staff would continue to train on the use of FastBridge and the use of its data. Marzano’ Framework will be used again next year; teachers will be presenting their successes during the end of this year’s workshops.
Arlin Peterson shared information on the Long-term Facilities Maintenance 10-year Plan. He reported that they still needed some answers on buses. He shared that the price is not locked in for the backordered bus and noted that many schools are moving away from diesel to gas-powered buses because of repair expenses. There are no huge projects this summer — just maintenance and refurbishment.
The board accepted a low bid for the solar project contingent on receiving the grant for which final application has been made. Both of the solar units will need to be installed on the high school because of structural issues at the elementary.
A resolution for non-renewals of nine full-time MNVA teachers and .25 of another MNVA based on the uncertainty of online enrollment was approved.
The board set the dates for filing affidavits of candidacy for the four board seats; each term will be four years. Filing will begin August 2 and close August 16 at 5 p.m.
Hurricane Heroes recognized this month included the superior award winners from band and choir. Houston students claimed the best in site for both band and choir at their competitions.
The next regular board meeting will be July 7, 2022 at 6 p.m. in the high school media center; the public is welcome to attend.