Mineola ISD in line for $636,000 CTE hub grant


The Texas Education Agency (TEA) appears to be giving a hefty financial boost to a regional Career and Technical Education (CTE) hub in Mineola by awarding the school district a $636,332 Perkins Reserve Grant.

Although it has yet to formally notify the MISD of the grant, the TEA listed its Perkins Reserve Grant recipients on its website last week. Perkins grants are dedicated to strengthening CTE programs. Superintendent Kim Tunnell said that after MISD receives official notification, the school board will decide whether to accept the grant, probably on May 20.

The grant would fund tools, equipment, training stations and simulators for two new CTE pathways – HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) and industrial maintenance – expected to be offered next school year. Tunnell said the first courses for the new pathways will be introductory in nature. So it’s not of critical importance that all the equipment, such as the simulators, is up and operating in just a few short months.

Meanwhile, the school district is still negotiating with UT-Health East Texas regarding a former clinic site just north of Mineola on Hwy. 37, according to Tunnell. MISD is eying the building, which is roughly 7,200 square feet and situated on 5.9 acres, as a regional CTE hub site. Industrial maintenance, HVAC and the district’s health sciences program would be housed in the building.

In securing the Perkins grant, MISD collaborated with a host of private and governmental entities, which include Tyler Junior College; Yantis, Alba-Golden, Lindale and Grand Saline school districts; the Mineola Economic Development Corp.; the City of Mineola; the Mineola CTE Foundation; Sanderson Farms; Morton Salt; M&M Heating and Repair; Lone Star Cutting Solutions; Workforce Solutions of East Texas; Trinidad-Benham Corp.; and Chambers Electric.

In its grant application, MISD noted the fields of HVAC and industrial maintenance have an annual growth rate of 17% and an average starting wage of $37,500, citing Texas Workforce Development Board data. Sanderson Farms, Morton Salt, Lone Star Cutting Solutions, Trinidad-Benham and Trane Industries have a need for workers trained in HVAC and industrial maintenance, according to the grant application.

A breakdown of grant funds is as follows: $40,000 for program coordinator; $18,509 for training in curriculum and testing; $10,000 for marketing, brochures and websites; $32,494 for curriculum; $101,425 for Industrial tools and maintenance for individual schools; $15,000 for travel and meetings expenses; $197,220 for equipment, training stations, and simulators related to Industrial Maintenance; and $199,418 for equipment, training stations, and simulators related to HVAC.

By July 1, MISD expects to have in place memorandums of understanding (MOAs) with its partnering districts, equipment purchases, personnel, intern agreements, aligned schedules and transportation and other related matters, according to the grant application.

Tunnell said the four partnering school districts will meet this week to try to hash out MOAs.