Bradford schools to start earlier than ever

By Crystal Burns

The 2019-20 school calendar for the Bradford Special School District will see teachers and students begin the fall semester earlier than ever.

Director of Schools Dan Black told the school board at its Jan. 29 meeting that most teachers are in favor of the calendar, which includes nearly a three-week Christmas break. Teachers report for professional development on July 22, and students return to campus July 27.

“The vast majority [of teachers] like starting that early,” Black said. “I had a few teachers that would rather start a little later, but most of them enjoy that time off [for Christmas].”

Black said the schedule is similar to previous years and includes a full week for Fall Break and Thanksgiving in the fall semester. Students and teachers will break for the Christmas holidays Dec. 13 and return Jan. 6. The last day of school will be May 22, with graduation set May 24.

The board approved the school calendar with a 5-0 vote. Board member Ricky Bratton was absent.

Discussion on upgrades – Black provided the board with an update of ongoing construction of the elementary school music room and ideas for improvements of the district’s storage building on Factory Street.

Black said the only thing lacking to complete the music room project is concrete walkways to the building. He could not give an estimated date of completion, but said he is hopeful students will be able to use the room in March.

“I think the weather is going to play havoc as it has for everything we’ve tried to do the last six months,” he said. “It’s been a terrible [school] year for construction.”

The storage facility is currently being used three ways: the high school baseball and softball teams use the back part for indoor practice; the archery team, which operates as a club sport, uses a portion of the building; and the district utilizes the remaining space for storage. Black said the district could install artificial turf and nets for the softball and baseball teams for about $30,000.

The building leaks, and a new roof would probably cost about $65,000. Black said the district could hire a contractor to find and patch the leaks to save money, which he would recommend.

“I don’t think we need a new roof,” he said.

Larry McCartney, the district’s supervisor of transportation and maintenance, said he has noticed some problem areas on the south end of the building that could let water in, but digging a drainage ditch would likely solve the problem. He said overall the building is in good shape.

Water testing – McCartney also reported on testing for lead in water that school districts are now required by law to conduct every three years. Bradford tested 130 different water sources, with only one problem area. Water out of the spigots in the chemistry lab showed “very low” lead levels, McCartney said. That water is not consumed, and leaders believe the lead level there is due to not running water in the chemistry lab that often. McCartney said he had sent that sample for additional testing and recommendations on how to treat it.

AP classes – The board approved adding an AP history course to the high school curriculum, and included in its vote to allow the director to add any AP classes that the school administrators deem appropriate in the future.

Black said he hopes to add AP English and AP biology as well.

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