Texarkana Arkansas School District looks to fix roofing woes

TEXARKANA, Ark. – The Texarkana, Arkansas School District Board of Trustees heard a presentation Thursday night from Lewis Architects Engineers about potential roof improvement projects at the June Little Center, the district’s maintenance complex and vocational building at Arkansas High School.

During the presentation, Steve Lewis said the materials and insulation for the projects would not be delivered until May or June 2022 if ordered today. Due to pricing and delivery complications, the bidding process for these materials has not yet begun.

Barry Murdock, director of support services, said the district does not yet have price estimates on what the roof renovation would cost, but he said material costs for the projects continue to rise.

The roofs in these locations are said to be in poor condition.

It remains to be seen how these potential projects will be paid for. Chief Inspector Dr. Becky said the only building that could potentially qualify for elementary and middle school emergency funding would be the high school vocational/bodybuilding building.

The Interlocal and Texas Arkansas Purchasing Systems were also mentioned as possible financing options.

The board also received a presentation on the results of the district’s ACT Aspire Test from the district curriculum team.

Scores were slightly below the state average in most cases, with the third and 10th grades taking the worst hits until the 2019 to 2021 declines.

The biggest areas of growth celebrated were fourth and fifth grade reading scores at Union, sixth grade math scores, and eighth grade reading scores — all increases of at least 6%.

Score drops followed a nationwide trend due to the learning loss caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, but board member Glen Spears expressed deep dismay at these results. “What frustrates and disappoints me is the spread between our scores and the state’s,” Spears said. “And I don’t know what the excuse is, but it shouldn’t be there.”

Some of the drops in scores in the third and 10th grades were as much as 20% drops.

“It’s a tough place to be in education right now,” Kesler said. “Nothing replaces personal education. Students and parents have had a hard time, and the teachers are struggling. But we have different interventionists in every school trying to help these kids. I walked several campuses today, and you will see a teacher sitting with a or two children, helping them with reading skills. And that’s what it takes, child by child.”

The board concluded the meeting with a budget workshop.

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