DALLAS — The Dallas School Board honored Michael Blanchard and Dave Hunt, who retired from the board after 16 years and four years of service, respectively, at its June 28 meeting.
“It’s humbling to think that four times the community has put me in this seat,” Blanchard said after Board Chairman Jon Woods gave both retirees a plaque commemorating their service. “It’s been an honor to work with everyone in this room, a lot people who aren’t here anymore. It’s just been good.”
Blanchard left the remaining members of the board, and Superintendent Andy Bellando with some advice. He said the new board shouldn’t underestimate population growth potential in Dallas in the near future.
“I think we are setting up for, one a booming economy in the next couple years. I think we’re going to see retirees move back into retirement communities, and vacating houses, and they are going to be full of millennials who have kids,” he said.
He said the board should consider
asking the community for more money than originally planned in the facilities maintenance bond the district plans to put on a ballot in 2022.
“I think our community is going to support that,” Blanchard said, offering to help campaign for the bond.
In some advice for building a full-time in-person schedule for the upcoming school year, he told the board to consider something that is important for students: sleep.
“Don’t the ignore the opportunity to take into account the effect of sleep on adolescents and how it affects their school performance. I don’t know whose kid is waking up before noon these days, unless you forcibly dislodge them. This fall is going to be extraordinarily hard, and I think we have the opportunity to make some changes and move the recommended start times to 9 or 9:30, a little bit later in the day.” Hunt added that planning for next school year shouldn’t be considered just getting back to normal
“This fall is not a return. It’s a reset,” he said.
He said the board and district staff should focus on the students, giving them the extra support they need after more than a year of distance and hybrid learning formats.
“It’s not a return. It’s not going to be like it was, but we have a chance to make it something special,” Hunt said.
Board member Mike Bollman thanked Blanchard and Hunt for their dedication.
“You guys have really been here for our kids, and the community is better off for all of your years of services. I hope you can stay connected,” Bollman said.
Hunt thank his fellow board members and district staff in the room for their service.
“The last four years have been amazing,” he said.
But it hasn’t been easy, especially in the past two years as schools were impacted by COVID-19 restrictions.
He related it to his favorite line from the movie “Blade Runner,” when at the end of the film Roy Batty, played by Rutger Hauer, says “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe.”
“That sums it up for me. I’ve seen things in the last four years, I don’t believe, so good luck,” he said.