New school coming closer

Published 6:45 pm Saturday, April 7, 2012

Austin Public School officials will soon start some engines on the new fifth- and sixth-grade school.

The new school is on the fast track now that designs have been finalized, and bids are scheduled to go out later this month. Finance and Operations Director Mark Stotts will give the Austin Public School board an update on the construction project this Monday at the board’s monthly public meeting.

The board will also hear about the district’s Targeted Services Summer School program, which helps some elementary-level students keep up with their math and reading skills. Elementary principals will also go over Austin’s elementary strategic plan. Board members are hearing overviews of various district departments in connection with the district’s strategic planning, as each department is expected to make progress toward the strategic roadmap’s five-year goals.

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Board members will also give a second reading to several policies, which members are expected approve. The board will adopt policies on health and safety, energy usage, and naming school buildings or facilities, which arose due to questions concerning the new school.

The new school naming policy gives the board control over a school or building’s name, though board members may form a committee for recommendations.

The policy states schools and sites should have appropriate names that can stand the test of time. If board members want to nominate someone, they must inform the superintendent, who will collect nominations and present them before the board.

If a school is named after a person, board members must take into account distinguished service, school contributions in volunteering or donations, and other honors. Naming a building after a deceased person should be done after waiting at least a year following the person’s death. Special consideration is given to people who will have meaning to Austin students and residents and will “enhance the educational program of the school district.”

If a group wants to nominate someone, it must submit a petition signed by at least 100 district residents or former students to the appropriate school board committee, like the buildings and grounds committee. The board committee evaluates the nomination and can either forward it to the board or deny it.

The board will meet at the City Council Chambers at 6:30 p.m. Monday.