Gainesville schools could be squeezed for space in the very near future, according to Superintendent DesMontes Stewart.
Stewart told the Gainesville Independent School District board Monday that the student population is growing and classroom capacity is already pushing 90 percent.
“I’ve been in conversation about this. What is the next three years, what is the next five years, and what is the next 10 years going to look like in GISD?” Stewart said.
“I have been informed of some additional housing developments that are either going through the permitting process or have already completed the permitting process and at some point in the summer, they anticipate moving some dirt.”
The new homes will invariably bring more students into GISD.
“The key number that I look at is the bottom line, which shows that we are at about 53 students above where we were at this time last year,” explained Stewart.
“Again, 53 may not sound like a huge number, but for us here in GISD, being that all of our campuses are pretty much at a or above 90 percent occupancy at this particular moment, these numbers are key because if we have a large number of kids going to one campus, we can potentially be over 100 percent, which therefore means that we then have to start looking at bringing in portable buildings to accommodate those students academically, as well as the spatial needs those students may have.”
Stewart also discussed the approval of each campus having a Workforce Career and Education Specialist. The person would help the older students develop skills and prepare for work and life after high school.
“Our kids need to be prepared and ready to learn soft skills as they get older and progress out into the workforce,” said Stewart. “They’re going to give workshops on interviewing, how you prepare for an interview and career exploration.”
School board election
Three school board positions are up for grabs in the May 7 election.
The Place 5 race will replace Brad Cox, who left mid-term. The winner will replace Cox. The four candidates running are Laura Otts, Jesse Victorio, Pablo De Santiago, Jr. and Elsa Young.
The Place 6 seat is currently held by Vice President Phil Neelley, who is running for reelection against Karen Denise Manuel.
Place 7 is also being voted on, currently held by Corey Hardin, who is running unopposed.
Early voting begins Monday, April 25 and ends Tuesday, May 3. People can vote in-person at the Cooke County Courthouse Annex each day between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.
GISD end of year events are coming up soon. Baccalaureate will be on the GJHS campus on Sunday, May 1 at 2 p.m. Graduation for the class of 2022 will be at the UNT Coliseum in Denton at 8 p.m. on Monday, May 23.
In other business
• Corey Fickes of Linebarger Attorneys at Law presented the Delinquent Tax Collection Report. He said rates were going back to what they were pre-COVID, and financially, things are going well;
• La Creasha Stille, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, presented results from student benchmarks compared to the STAAR tests of last year. Most students are showing progress, particularly in additional programs to aid with students falling behind;
• The school board renewed the agreement with NCTC for the Promoting Agriculture and Conservation Education (PACE) Project to use the land for agriculture;
• The school board approved a bid from Worthington Contract Furniture, L.P. for new cafeter ia tables for Gainesville Intermediate School. The purchase of new custodial supplies across the district from Wagner Supply Company was also approved.