Safety and transparency from Gainesville Schools
We here at Gainesville R-V Schools continue to strive for transparency as we march closer to the Nov. 6 election and the hopeful passing of Proposition Gainesville Schools. We have focused on educating the community on our greatest needs and ensuring that our plan for how to spend the funds has been communicated as clearly as possible.
With that being said, some factors are just too hard to predict. The reality is, we don’t know what the market will be like in a year when we hope to start real construction. We wish we did. It would be much easier to prepare for what all we will really be able to accomplish if we had hard numbers today. Instead, we are doing our best to prepare for a variety of potential outcomes and, as always, we are more than happy to provide as many details about those outcomes as possible. We would like to highlight some of the things we currently have in the works and what we see as the potential of what they can become if the tax levy increase passes.
As always, safety is one of our primary concerns. We see safety through a variety of lenses that cover a wide range of issues that go from physical safety of our students and staff to the mental health and physical safety of our students as well. Here are a few of the initiatives we have in place:
• Justin Gilmore, high school principal, currently serves on a community-wide task force to bring more awareness to and offer solutions concerning the drug and alcohol issues that are ever present in our students’ lives.
• While we know that having a full-time school resource officer isn’t feasible at this time, we are looking at companies such as Shield Solutions that provide practical training and resources to having concealed carriers here on campus.
• We only allow students to carry clear or mesh bags throughout the hallways at the junior high and high school. All other bags, including athletic duffels, have to be stored in a secure location that remains locked throughout the day.
In addition to these areas that we are already focusing on, we’re also planning to pursue multiple solutions to the following issues as well:
• We would like to be able to have a “one way in, one way out” campus. In order for this to be possible, we must be able to enclose the existing exterior walkways to provide interior access to all classrooms on campus.
• We are working toward replacing all locks as well as many doors with non-windowed options for added security. This would impact both interior and exterior doors and locks.
• We are currently researching new drug awareness programs to present to our students to strengthen the drug awareness education they are currently receiving as a part of the health class curriculum.
• We are looking at a Cyber Safety Curriculum to implement campus-wide to make students aware of potential dangers regarding technology use.
One of the most hazardous issues we have going on in the junior high / high school building is a health-safety issue. We absolutely have to address the growing mold epidemic that exists in more than one location throughout our campus. This will only be accomplished by repairing or replacing the roof as at this point we are simply putting a band-aid on a very dangerous situation. Until the leaks stop, true mold remediation just isn’t possible.
As far as what we will spend and how we will spend it goes, we can tell you this: We fully intend to be frugal stewards of your hard-earned money. We know that taxes aren’t easy, and we want you to know we don’t take this opportunity lightly. We have given these broad-strokes estimates:
• high school / junior high addition, renovation and storm shelter: $3.1 million
• elementary renovation and storm shelter: $1.1 million
• roof replacement: $800,000
• preschool addition: $400,000
• HVAC repairs: $300,000
We are in great hopes that we will be able to secure a great interest rate, come in under estimation on several of the renovation projects we are planning to complete in-house and, in general, find savings along the way. If that happens, we look forward to providing more competitive wages for our staff, adding to our technological capabilities for teachers and students alike and continuing to provide resources to our students that better prepare them for their individual futures.
We want to very clearly communicate that we are truly doing our best to answer all questions as they come in. We know that not everyone is physically able to attend the informational sessions we have hosted here on campus. Additionally, we know that not everyone has electronic access to the school’s web page or the information and promotional materials that have been posted by the Proposition Gainesville Schools Facebook page. Because of this, we want to be very purposeful about being available to any and every person who has a question about our spending intentions, how we have prioritized what we will address with the funds produced by the tax levy, or in general would like more specific information. We can be reached at 417-679-4260. All of our administrators would be more than happy to speak with you. Additionally, our school board members are available throughout the community and would be happy to have a conversation about this important issue as well.
Dr. Jeffrey Hyatt, superintendent
Gainesville R-V Schools