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Board backs school in complaint

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MABANK–Mabank ISD school board members officially backed administrators May 24 in a parental grievance they heard during a two-hour executive session.
A Feb. 10 incident at the high school made its way to the board through protocol as a Level 3 Grievance, after being considered by the campus administrator and superintendent. Actions stemming from a Level 3 Grievance can range from supporting the lower-level decisions, to termination of the employee against whom the complaint was lodged.
Dallas attorney Michael Wysocki, who represents the family who filed the complaint, told the board in open session that actions taken by the district in response to the incident represent “systemic failure in regard to the administration.”
Mabank trustee, Dr. Darrell Kinnard, gave the board’s response, also in open session. Dr. Kinnard noted that administrators are entrusted with the safety of schoolchildren and that no one was physically injured in the incident. “We affirm the administrators’ decision that there was no violation of law or of policy,” he said.
The board also heard a presentation from Ben Ralston of Ralston Outdoor Advertising of Dallas about erecting signage at the north end of the district’s football field, which he said would run advertisements facing both directions of U.S. Highway 175 and upon which the school could affix a scoreboard.
Ralston said his company would lease the spot, erect the infrastructure and enter a revenue-sharing plan with the district, much like the one his company has with McDonald’s in Mabank. That agreement pays $2,500 annually with Ralston sharing 25% of the advertising revenue generated over the 30-year contract.
Ralston said the sign, which would cost about $250,000, would take advantage of a “unique” spot along a well-traveled highway and advised the board to adopt a sign advertising policy, if they decided to proceed.
School board President Kenneth Odom said the district “will take it into consideration.”
In other school board action, trustees voted to renew a food-service contract with Chartwells for the 2021-22 school year, which the board was told came at a decreased price. The board also renewed a five-year contract with Claycomb Associates, which provides architectural plans for construction, renovations or additions and costs about $51,000, according to Superintendent Brad Koskelin.
The board also approved Dunn’s Enterprises’ estimate for Central Elementary flood damage repairs stemming from the winter storm, the cost of which Koskelin said would be reimbursed entirely by the district’s insurance company.
Also approved was administrators applying for multiple federal grants for the 2021-22 school year, including one that gives more than $7.5 million from emergency COVID relief funding. The district is continuing to conduct community meetings to come up with a plan of action about spending the money, according to Chief Academic Officer Rebecca Stephens, which is required by the government.