Members of the Houston board of education approved a calendar for the upcoming school year on Tuesday and purchased three school buses through a grant.

If all goes as planned, the school year starts Aug. 22. Dr. Justin Copley, incoming superintendent, said the calendar reflects input from Houston teachers and staff. A minimal number of days for professional development was added, there is a full week of spring break (March 13-17) and traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks are included (Nov. 21-25 and Dec. 19-Jan. 1). Depending if weather and COVID-19 cooperate, the last day of classes is May 19, 2023.


The district will not revert to a four-day school week like about 25 percent of the state’s school districts, but will review the matter during the next year and look for guidance from other districts that have implemented it. A presentation likely would be given to the board at some point. In Texas County, that includes Cabool, Summersville and Raymondville.   

Dr. Allen Moss, superintendent, outlined plans for the summer school. Under a schedule approved by the board, it runs from May 31-June 23. The first week runs Tuesday through Friday and the remaining three weeks on Mondays through Thursdays. Limited transportation will be provided. Hours are 7:40 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.

In other matters, members:

•Heard Emily Young, Houston Middle School student of the month, give the Pledge of Allegiance. The middle school students honored were selected based on the trait of gratitude.

•Purchased a kitchen steamer for the elementary school at a cost of $12,320.

•Heard that a review of Houston’s tuition rate for out-of-district students tends to be below peer districts and an increase from the current $4,750 yearly rate is under consideration.

•Approved the purchase of three Bluebird buses — two of them with air conditioning — was approved following the acceptance of a $162,000 grant. The funds come from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources that administers the Volkswagen Trust. In 2016, the United States settled complaints against Volkswagen AG and others. The settlement resolved claims that Volkswagen violated the Clean Air Act by selling approximately 590,000 vehicles with 2.0- and 3.0-liter diesel engines having emissions defeat devices. The vehicles were from model years 2009 to 2016. 

Moss said the district has received eight new buses during the last five to six years through various grants.

The new buses will be used primarily for trips before being transitioned later to normal routes.

•Authorized the sale of surplus property.

•Thanked the Houston Education Foundation for providing ACT preparation  workshops for HHS students.

•Heard that an elementary school project solicited 22 guest readers who videotaped themselves and it is available online to families to enjoy. The book is Charlotte’s Web.

 •Learned that a math intervention project in the middle school is showing signs of progress. Some sixth graders made noticeable improvement.

•Heard that seventh grade students are receiving boater safety instruction from Rick Chapman of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Eighth graders were included this year.

•Are seeking bids for concrete projects at the softball field, elementary and cafeteria.

•Heard Moss urge the board to closely watch activity from the legislature in Jefferson City. Many attack public education in the state, he said.

•Continue to examine issues related to the purchase of a new radio system. Testing from six sites is planned.

•Learned the Houston School District received a $30,000 grant that purchased 75 Chromebooks for students. The funds come from the Emergency Connectivity Fund administered by the Federal Communications Commission. Kelsen Gilbert, technology director, led the effort.

•After a break due to snow, attendance appeared to have improved related to COVID-19, Moss said. By mid-week there were four students positive and one or two quarantined.

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