WISD joins hazard mitigation

Tim Delaney photo Woodsboro school district trustees take a tour of the elementary school led by Principal Leslie Garza. Above, trustees inspect Christina Shaw's classroom filled with learning enhancements. The tour was to provide trustees with a glance at "campus climate."

REFUGIO – County Judge Bobby Blaschke made a heartfelt plea to Woodsboro school district trustees Tuesday night to team up with the county and other municipalities in advance of any damaging catastrophic occurrence, such as Hurricane Harvey.

Blaschke is on a campaign to get those who have not agreed to a Hazard Mitigation Plan.

Woodsboro school district was one of nine entities which had not agreed as of Tuesday night.

Others Blaschke intends to convince are Austwell city council, Austwell-Tivoli school district and Drainage District No. 1.

He explained that Grant Works Inc. helped in organizing the plan, which would help governmental entities to get immediate help through grants for restoration and repair after a major storm event.

The county has agreed to pay the matching fund of $20,000 if all the other nine entities agree to pay $2,500.

The plan is over five years, and the current plan ends June 29, 2022.

Woodsboro ISD Superintendent Janice Sykora recommended to board members to join the Hazard Mitigation Plan.

“The first question FEMA asks is if you are on a hazard mitigation plan,” she said.

“If you are, then they continue to talk to you,” she said.

The plan involves repairing and restoring in a way that strengthens what has been broken, so it is unlikely to happen again.

Wendy Kirby with Grant Works noted that other sources of grants, such as the General Land Office and Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery are embracing hazard mitigation plans as a way to ensure resiliency.

Judge Blaschke said the plan is all about resiliency and sustainability.

If an entity does not have a hazard mitigation plan, then it is not eligible for hazard mitigation grants.

Trustees unanimously approved joining the hazard mitigation group in the county, thereby saving money from not having to do it independently.

Those entities that have joined the group in addition to the Woodsboro school district include Refugio, Refugio school district, Woodsboro, Bayside and the Water Control & Improvement District No. 1.

In other school district business, trustees voted to close the public weight room for liability reasons.

The weight room was open to the public, but it had poor to broken equipment in it, according to Athletic Director Gary Carpenter.

Carpenter suggested a garage sale of the equipment and using the money to convert the room to a multipurpose area for baseball practice indoors with turf.

Carpenter also noted that kids would come in the room after school in an unsupervised situation.

He went over the condition of the equipment piece by piece. Much of it, although rusty, could be sold.

“We could sell to the public and help them take it home,” he said.

Carpenter said he would clean and gut the building, redo walls that have holes in them and clean the floor.

He said cats are living in the holes in the walls.

Carpenter estimated that the project would cost around $2,500 with much of the work being done by him and his staff.

He said if all the items in the room sell, then around $2,500 would be raised.

Trustees agreed to a Dec. 14 garage sale tentatively beginning at 9 a.m. and ending at 2 p.m.

They also recommended closing the room as soon as it could be secured.

Trustees also took a tour of the elementary school to see the “campus climate.”

Elementary School Principal Leslie Garza led the tour, demonstrating the students’ learning environment, all evidenced in the halls and classrooms.

Garza said the focus is a “collective efficacy” by teachers to lead engaged learners.

Tim Delaney is the Refugio editor at the Advance-Guard Press and can be reached at 361-526-2397, or at refugio@mySouTex.com.