MINERAL WELLS – School administrators on Monday approved agreements with the city of Mineral Wells for school resource officers on campus for the new school year, as well as the use of the city’s shooting range for school staff participating in the Guardian program.
“They are stationed at our schools,” said Superintendent John Kuhn of the two full-time and three part-time certified peace officers coming from the city troops.
The district and the police have been partners in the SRO program since 1995. Under this year’s agreement, the district will fund one of the full-time officers and two part-time officers at a cost of $ 141,070.
“They do an excellent job of building relationships with the students and their families,” said Kuhn.
The curators approved another agreement with the city that would allow employees participating in the Guardian program, which trains armed school workers, to access the city’s shooting range at a cost of $ 500 to $ 1,000, depending on how often they are practice.
The board also agreed to its annual agreement with Emergency Services District No. 1 to protect ambulances during games and heard a construction update on their new farm building. Maintenance director Bobby Mori, architect Timothy Hopkins, and the ag building general contractor expressed hope that the $ 15 million facility will be completed by the middle of this school year.
The contractor said the building’s metal supplier asked to deliver 10 or 20 percent of its product at once due to COVID delays. He said he insisted it all come at once to avoid stops and starts. He added that the supply teams were ready to install fixtures but were temporarily halted by the virus.
Kuhn expressed the hope that the new facility can be completed by the middle of the school year.
“I would love it if this was the Christmas present for this district, this barn,” he said.
The district does not finance the facility with loans, but with existing funds. The payment in the next year’s budget is $ 1.1 million and should complete payments for work.
The superintendent also reported that students are returning to the classroom after last year’s COVID hit.
“The good news is that our enrollment is complete,” he said. “As of August 31, there were 3,245 students enrolled. That is 103 students more than at this time last year.”
Last year the number of preschool children fell to 142, Kuhn now put it at 193.
“We’re basically back to where we were before COVID,” he said.
One unanswered question, he added, is the amount of state funding that the Austin district can expect. The Texas Education Agency calculates this amount based on the previous year’s average daily attendance, which was declining nationwide.
But Kuhn said conversations with fellow superintendents suggest that Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath has this funding challenge “on his radar”.
Finally, on Monday, trustees pay OKed $ 150 per game for medical protection from two paramedics and two ambulances at home soccer games. The agreement allows the emergency services of District No. 1 to answer emergency calls elsewhere, said Kuhn.