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Superintendent's Monthly Newspaper Column

CISD Superintendent Dr. Kyle Heath is among the columnists featured monthly in the Cleburne Times-Review. 

 

Hasn’t the weather of this past week been a welcome change to what we all experienced in the Texas version of “Snowmageddon.”

                The fireplace at the Heath house had a major workout, as we endured three days of power loss. Growing up in Oklahoma, I have lots of experience with the cold, ice and snow—but that doesn’t mean I miss it.

                In addition to celebrating the return to school last week, following the five-day closing of campuses due to frigid weather and hazardous road conditions, we have been praising the members of our Maintenance Department. This hard-working, dedicated team addressed winterizing needs at all our schools and facilities before the big freeze set in, then kept everything up and running, allowing us to welcome students back to school on Monday with no building issues.

                Several Cleburne High School seniors in Piper Davis’ AP English classes wrote thank you letters to Maintenance Director Kurt Benson, expressing their thoughts and appreciation. Here’s an example of the student shout-outs sent to these valued employees:

“As everyone knows, Texas buildings are not designed for the cold, and the fact that we were able to come back to school so soon, after such a storm, means you worked in very poor and freezing conditions to keep the school, water, and electricity running. Several school districts could not open today because of damage from the storm, but ours did and that means a lot. We are grateful for all the work you put in last week.”

As February gears down, we are gearing up for a major campaign to inform our CISD constituents of the $90.7 million bond referendum unanimously approved by the Board of Trustees for a May 1 election. The passage of the bond referendum will have no effect on the tax rate.

The calling of a bond election stems from a recommendation to Trustees by members of the CISD Academic Alignment Advisory Committee and the Facility Advisory Committee, both comprised of parents, community representatives and teachers/staff.

The series of projects they proposed for funding with the passage of Bond 2021 includes a major renovation to A.D. Wheat Middle School, in its planned return to a campus serving all CISD 7th and 8th grade students. The bond referendum would also fund renovations to the Lowell Smith campus as an intermediate school for all CISD fifth and sixth graders.

The proposed renovations and facility upgrades to the two campuses will include the expansion and construction of classrooms and learning spaces, enabling both schools to serve a capacity of 1,400 students. This will meet new demographic/growth projections we have just received.  

The creation of the new grade configurations for Smith and Wheat, which will only be implemented with the passage of Bond 2021, would free up space at our elementary campuses, which will serve Pre-Kindergarten through fourth grade. Several of our elementary campuses are at, or near, capacity now. Taking the fifth grade out and combining it with sixth grade as an intermediate campus at Smith would provide a long-term solution to over-crowding at our elementary schools.

Renovations to Wheat and Smith will be listed under Proposition A on the May 1 bond referendum ballot along with improvements to the auditorium and stage areas of the Don Smith Performing Arts Center. Members of the two parent/community committees included this on their list of project priorities, in continuing upgrades to the fine arts venue which began with Bond 2016 in the creation of a new exterior entry, renovated façade and lobby.

Upgrades to campus safety/security and technology infrastructure are also included.

Proposition B on the ballot would fund the construction of a multi-use Student Activity Center to be located on the east end of the Cleburne High School campus. This includes additional parking and a full tennis complex to be located on the adjacent Wheat campus, for use by both middle school and high school students.   

                Proposition C will fund instructional technology devices Districtwide. 

                Please mark your calendars for Early Voting, which will begin April 19 at the Cleburne Conference Center. Information on the work of the AAAC and FAC is posted on the CISD website, www.c-isd.com. We are now in the process of creating a new page to provide parents and constituents with the facts, figures and frequently asked questions relating to Bond 2021.