Hope School Board

By Ken McLemore/Hope Public Schools, 05/19/20 1:49 PM

HOPE – Despite good-natured quips about getting a handle on the nature of “virtual” meetings, the Hope Public Schools Board dealt with a number of academic year-end matters May 18 in near-record fashion.

“I wish all of our board meetings were only 24 minutes,” HPS Superintendent Dr. Bobby Hart remarked as the board concluded its second-ever virtual session.

Dr. Hart brought the board some needed good news with two financial grant reports, including a $1.049 million award from federal COVID-19 CARES Act monies, and a state facilities partnership grant totaling $350,000.

Hart said the CARES Act funds will be used as “mitigation” funding regarding the impact of the COVID-19 illness during the pandemic where HPS has been required to fund things such as extended distance learning, off-site student meals, and other needs directly resulting from the closure of campuses.

He said the state facilities funding was a surprise.

“Frankly, I didn’t think we would get it,” Hart told the board.

He said the request was for roofing replacement at the almost century old Garland campus of the Hope Academy of Public Service.

“It will go a long way toward keeping that building viable for the future,” Hart said.

The 63-37 facilities partnership will require the district to provide 37 percent of the $350,000 total; but, it will allow the district to begin roof replacement and repair work this year, he said.

Hart also brought the board more good news as two HPS teachers have been named Hope Rotary Club Teachers of the Year, 2019-2020.

Beryl Henry Elementary sixth grade teacher Misty Gilbert was named Rotary Elementary Teacher of the Year and Hope High School business education teacher Sheila Hopson was named Rotary Secondary Teacher of the Year. Both were recognized by the organization in a recent Rotary parade to their homes to make the presentation.

The board approved the renewal of the district’s contract with Aramark Food Services for operation of the district’s kitchens and cafeterias. Philadelphia, Pa., based Aramark is an international services corporation which provides nutrition services operations for schools and universities nationwide. The 2019-2020 academic year was the first year Aramark operated the district’s food services.

The board also approved school choice requests, but tabled three others until July. Hart said such requests are typically addressed in July and December each year, but the three which the board approved were based upon extenuating circumstances allowed by law.

In other matters, the board:

—Tabled action on a number of personnel policy revisions for second reading in June.

—Agreed to set a June date for a possible “virtual” strategic planning session.

—Approved a $530,000-plus special education Title VI budget.

—Learned that 17 nominations, including carry-over names, have been submitted to date for the HPS Educator Hall of Fame. Nominations close June 1.

—Accepted personnel action recommendations.