Rector School Board revises schedule

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Rector School Board members approved a schedule of days Monday night to replace the 10 snow days students have enjoyed this year.

The schedule of make-up days will be in place if the school does not experience any more snow days this winter.

High school principal Rob Louder presented this schedule:

Nine weeks tests for the third quarter will be given March 20-2,1 and parent/teacher conferences will

be held April 3. School will be dismissed early on those days.

School will also be in session on March 24-25, days originally set aside for spring break. School will be

dismissed early on March 25 for spring break, which will be held March 26-28.

April 11 will be a teacher work day, and students will not attend that day.

School will be in session April 18, although it will be dismissed early.

School will be held May 21-23 as scheduled, although no school will be held on Memorial Day, May 26. School will resume May 27, with nine-weeks tests held May 28-29.

School will be dismissed early May 28-29. Teachers will stay through 6

p.m. May 29 to turn in grades.

School will be in session May 30. Busses will run, and school will

be open May 31 for students to pick up report cards.

Graduation is unchanged and will be held May 9.

Louder praised the thespian group who attended a state conference with drama director Gail Burns last week.

"They always bring home a lot of awards and we're proud of them," he said.

Louder added the boys' baseball season is underway. He said they have already played

five games, and the girls' fast-pitch softball season is about to start.

The standardized testing season is about to begin, and Louder reported two teachers recently attended Benchmark workshops. Counselor Karen Cagle also attended an ACT workshop to help better prepare students for the exam.

Louder said the free ACT workshop offered each summer will no longer be funded by the state. The school will have to incorporate ACT prep into the regular curriculum.

Elementary principal Johnny Fowler said elementary students and teachers are also preparing for the Benchmark exams. In response to a query by board member Allen Earls, Fowler explained the Benchmarks are tests based on the Arkansas Frameworks.

They include problem-solving techniques in math and a great deal of writing in the language arts sections.

"They're based on what we're supposed to be teaching in the classrooms," Fowler said.

Currently, the Benchmarks are given to grades four, six and eight, but will soon be presented in grades three through eight. To prepare, Fowler said the students are completing "writing prompts" in class.

As an incentive, children scoring a perfect four or who increase their score by a point will receive

popcorn parties. Louder said high school students scoring at a proficient level or above will receive a day off from school.

Fowler said Rector elementary students in grades three through six fared well at a recent math fair.

"We were competing against 12 or 14 area schools, and third, fourth and fifth grade brought home first, second and third place trophies. We are very proud of them," he said.

Other Business

In other business the school board:

* Accepted the resignation of cheerleading sponsor Barbie Terry and hired Debbie Boyd as

cheerleading sponsor. Louder said Rector's $600 per squad is average for area schools with some paying less and others more.

Gregg Sain and Earls encouraged other board members to increase the wage.

"I know they end up spending a lot of money out of their own pockets, plus gas money," Sain said. "They really put in the hours."

"I think we should make an attempt to bring the salary more in line with the work that they put in," Earls said.

The board voted to increase the salary of cheerleading sponsor by $300 per squad.

* Voted to change the date of April's meeting to April 15, so that financial consultant Jack Truemper can attend the meeting and advise the board about the millage increase that will be necessary.

Scobey said that, although he is hoping the millage decision will be overturned, the attorney general has agreed with the decision. The Rector School District is one among several in the state that will be required to increase its millage to meet the required 25-mill level for maintenance and operations under a Supreme Court ruling issued last fall.

Truemper has advised the superintendent it will be to the school's benefit to make a decision sooner. Scobey reiterated the fact that, if the voters do not pass the school's proposed increase, the Quorum Court will enforce a seven-mill increase.

At the next meeting, the board will learn more about the benefits of restructuring its bonds sooner rather

than later.

* Compared the two current consolidation bills. Senate Bill 758, which is favored by State Sen. Jim Argue and Gov. Mike Huckabee, is "numbers based," Scobey said. The bill sets a 1,500 minimum enrollment for a school district to remain intact; will combine smaller districts into regional districts by July 1, 2002; may allow smaller districts to remain intact if they demonstrate to the Department of Education that they can meet new curriculum, accreditation, efficiency, teacher salary and facility standards; leaves all elementary, middle and junior high schools in place; and closes all high schools if they can't meet standards.

Scobey said House Bill 1507, sponsored by Rep. Paul Weaver, is more "standards-based." The bill requires districts to meet, by Jan. 1, 2004, standards put in place Jan. 1, 2003; requires districts failing to meet that deadline to develop a plan to fulfill the standards; will consolidate districts not presenting a plan or turn their operations over to the state by July 1, 2004; and requires districts to meet any new standards approved by the legislature by Jan. 1, 2006, or face consolidation by July 1, 2006.

"Most people I know want the standards driven bill," Scobey said. "That gives us a chance at compliance. The governor's bill is not getting support in the House, but it is in the Senate, so we'll have to wait and see."

* Noted the school's total assets are $2,505,131.02. Scobey pointed out a negative balance in the G/T video account because the wrong coach service had been paid for the spring break G/T trip. He said the school had just received a check from the coach service to reimburse the incorrect payment.

* Voted to again participate in the School Choice program.

Executive Session

After discussion in executive session, the school board:

* Accepted the resignations of Rheba Scobey and Pat Dowdy, who will be retiring after this year.

* Rehired the remainder of the elementary and high school teachers.

* Hired Nancy Ritter as math teacher.

* Tabled the contract of coach Adam Simmons.

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