Mineola ISD board agrees to accept grants from TEA

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The Mineola ISD school board Monday night unanimously approved accepting Texas Education Agency (TEA) grants for $636,332 and $16,580 to benefit the district’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) program, particularly HVAC and industrial maintenance.

The action came after a lengthy discussion about Mineola’s role in hosting a CTE hub involving four nearby school districts: Alba-Golden, Yantis, Lindale and Grand Saline. School trustees raised concerns and posed numerous questions to Mark Parkerson, the district’s director for special programming, as well as Superintendent Kim Tunnell.

Among those questions was whether neighboring districts are committed to a CTE hub in Mineola for the long haul. Also, several members wondered whether accepting the grants compels the district to develop a 30,000-square-foot building to house CTE programs. Some board members were concerned that three districts had not signed memorandums of understanding in regard to the CTE hub. Other trustees questioned the cost of storing equipment – which will be purchased through the larger grant – until it is ready for use in the classroom.

Parkerson and Tunnell assured trustees that neighboring districts remain on board with the hub concept and that accepting the grants in no way commits the district to a costly building project. Parkerson warned that snubbing the grant could jeopardize the district’s chances to receive future TEA grants.

Parkerson noted that in starting a regional CTE hub, Mineola is at the forefront of something entirely new for this area. “It’s up to you to determine if you want to step out on a limb and take a little risk,” he said. Even if the hub concept were to falter, Mineola would still have its new HVAC and industrial maintenance equipment as well as its CTE program, Parkerson told the board.

In a separate CTE-related matter, Tunnell told the board that discussions with UT Health-East Texas for the purchase of a former clinic building north of Mineola on Hwy. 37 are ongoing. If the MISD and UT Health can strike a deal, the building would house the CTE programs of HVAC, industrial maintenance and health sciences.

Also Monday night, new school trustees Jill Quiambao, Jackie Lee Rodieck and Glen Dossett were sworn in. Abbott was re-elected board president on a 5-2 vote, Jay McGough was unanimously elected vice president, and Kyle Gully was unanimously elected secretary.

In addition, new elementary and primary school assistant principal Bethany Williams was introduced to the board. She comes to Mineola from Mesquite.

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