The 2020-2021 school year will start a little sooner in Van Vleck ISD after approval of an earlier start date by the board of trustees during its regular meeting Monday night.
The school year will now start on Aug. 17, a week earlier than what trustees approved in February.
“We added this additional week at the beginning of the school year. It didn’t require adding any additional days on the teachers’ calendar or the bus drivers’ calendar, it just added additional instructional minutes,” Van Vleck ISD Superintendent John O’Brien said.
The state only requires that students to attend classes for 75,600 minutes next year, but the addition of a week to the Van Vleck calendar will give them well over that number, 79,255 minutes.
“It gives us about eight additional instructional days built into our calendar,” O’Brien said. “Should we have a COVID day we have to take off or a bad weather day we have to take off, we will have extra minutes built into our calendar for the next school year.”
Originally, Aug. 24 was going to be the start date. The reason for the later start date was to allow teachers and staff extra time to get settled and moved into the new high school and elementary. O’Brien said because the new schools are ahead of schedule, the additional time is no longer needed.
The rest of the calendar is exactly the same as what the trustees approved earlier in the year except for the additional week. The updated calendar has 172 instructional days available.
In other business, the board approved a change order as part of the construction of the new elementary school. The change order would demolish the existing elementary school cafeteria and theater arts building and the canopies associated with those buildings and replace them with a courtyard with walkways to and from the newly renovated auditorium and gym building near it. There would also be additional parking spaces added as part of that project.
Total cost of the project will be $430,000 and will come from $1.4 million of bond funds available.
The board approved the renewal of a contract with Walker Quality Services, which acts as a food service consultant for the district. O’Brien said the district has used the consultant in the past and they would be helpful in training staff on the new kitchen equipment being installed at the new high school and new elementary school.
Also approved was the purchase of 36 new football helmets for the new school year. The football helmets, manufactured by Schutt, will be purchased from Pasadena Sporting Goods at a cost of $11,055. Athletic director Robert Blackmon said after an inspection that is how many were rejected for use for the upcoming season.
The board also approved the purchase of student insurance for all school related activities for the amount of $13,385. They also approved the purchase of catastrophic insurance for students in the amount of $2,722.