OVERTON — Matthew Prosser, a 1995 Overton graduate and current Managing Editor of the Henderson Daily News, was honored by trustees and the superintendent Tuesday night with a TASB 2013 Media Honor Roll award.
Prosser moved back to the community after attending the University of Oklahoma in Norman and St. John’s College in Annapolis, Md. He currently lives in Overton with his wife, the former Candace Daniels (OHS 1997), and their five children.
Umholtz praised Prosser for being active in the community and school district, saying that he and trustees recognized that desire to give back with the award they presented to him at the meeting.
“I think it goes without saying that Matthew is uniquely qualified for this honor,” Umholtz said to those in attendance. “No community could ask for a more dedicated, hard-working, and talented journalist to cover the news of the day. His skills as a writer and photographer are well known, but what makes Matthew unique is his passion for his hometown in working to make it a better place to live.”
OISD board president Shane McCasland agreed, adding that Prosser often goes “above and beyond” what’s called for.
“Matthew is always going, from early morning until late at night, but he always makes time to follow up on anything he’s doing,” he said. “I know on more than one occasion I’ve seen him bringing a paper to someone when the delivery missed their house, or showing up in a moment’s notice whenever local news breaks […] he’s a dedicated professional and we’re thankful to have him.”
“I bet there’s not a single town or school district of our size that get’s the quality and depth of journalism that we enjoy with Matthew,” he said. “He’s just a blessing, in many ways, and this award is the least we can do to say ‘thanks.'”
Prosser said he was “surprised and humbled” by the award, saying he does what he does because he “loves Overton and its people.”
“It’s always great to receive an award, to be told that the work you’re doing is appreciated, but it means so much more coming from the people of your hometown,” Prosser said. “To know that they appreciate what you’re doing […] it really means a lot.”
Later, trustees talked about making preparations for next school year, even as they’re ending the current one
The board heard from the Rusk County Appraisal District that values for the district have been reported to be around $51 million for real property and around $16 million for minerals, giving the district a current valuation of about $68 million.
However, trustees heard that part of the valuation was being held back, and last year’s valuation was around $75 million, so trustees should be prepared to budget this summer on that $75 million figure and not the $68 million total.
Board members agreed to inquire as to why 10 percent of the valuation was being held back and would then report on that at the next meeting and have an updated valuation.
As far as ending this school year, Overton has scheduled field day one week from Thursday, kindergarten graduation on Friday and high school graduation on Sunday, June 2.
Trustees heard 32 of 36 seniors are on track to graduate and two more could join them by finishing end of course work by next week.
The board also approved Karen Jacks as the auditor for the 2013-14 school year.
Umholtz said Jacks has done three audits for OISD, so they are now going to execute the engagement letter for her to do her fourth next year.
Trustees also received information on proposed changes in the band handbook, the cheerleader handbook, heard from the elementary and secondary principals and also received information on the maintenance program and things needed there as well as some proposed technology changes. All of these handbooks, proposed changes and structural and technology changes will be voted on and implemented before the start of the next school year.
OHS principal Stephen DuBose spoke to the board about possibly starting a 4-H program for students grade 6 to 12. The program would cost OISD nothing but a classroom for meetings once a month, and DuBose said he potentially has a sponsor from the faculty willing to take on the program for no additional pay. He also said he might have found a business sponsor to help the young people with their projects.
DuBose said he had heard from the instructors at the Kilgore College Ag Farm in Overton, and they are trying to build 4-H programs in area schools as well as bolster Ag programs in all of the Rusk County schools.
OISD trustees agreed with starting the 4-H program and said that, not only would it give an additional outlet for students not involved in athletics and band, but it would also serve as a program to start kids toward being involved in the Overton Ag program at an earlier age and maybe build into a big program on its own merits.
DuBose said he would look into starting the program during the next school year.