School Boards Prep for New Year

Thursday, August 15, 2013
Brad Dunlap will be the newest member of the Piggott School Board, as he is unopposed in the upcoming school election

The Rector School Board approved the hiring of two new staff members and made an adjustment to the pay of another during Monday night's regular meeting.

With its association with federal programming, the Rector Preschool is now offering free services to children ages three to five who meet required qualifications. As such, enrollment at the school has increased. Due to the increase in enrollment, an additional teacher is required for the school. Attending Board members Kirk Ford, Jody Simmons and James Turner approved a recommendation by superintendent Johnny Fowler to hire new teacher Bridget Sain. In addition, Fowler recommended, and the Board approve, a stipend of $4,200 added to the annual salary of preschool director Brittany Hemphill, whose position will see a sizable increase in paperwork through federal requirements.

In other personnel discussions, the Board approved the hiring of Katrina Fry as a special education aide for the high school.

School Board Election

As Kim Isom is the lone candidate to file for the open position formerly held by Michael Lindsey, the Board approved a resolution to close polling places for the election.

"If there's just one candidate, there's no need to have them open," president James Turner said. "That should save about $2,500."

Handbooks

The Board approved the preschool, elementary and high school handbooks.

In elementary, principal Nate Henderson requested a change be made to the current tardy classification. Henderson recommended changing the policy to reflect five tardies equating to an absence. With the Rector High School Helping Hands Foundation offering to purchase new iPads for students who achieve perfect attendance, Henderson felt the change was necessary.

"With what Helping Hands is doing, it's really not fair (to not have the tardies count against attendance)," Henderson said. "When a student is five minutes late 20 times, and believe me we have cases where that happens, you're talking about missing 100 minutes of class time."

In high school, principal Wade Williams requested changing the wardrobe policy regarding to shorts to allow shorts hemmed up to five inches above the knee as opposed to the previous four inches. Williams told the Board several parents, as well as faculty members, have advised there is great difficulty in finding "fashionable" shorts at the previous length. Williams said shorts of one less inch in length would be more available while still not being considered as exposing too much. The policy would be in place for both boys and girls, and will include holes in jeans, etc.

The Board approved both recommendations, adopting the elementary and high school handbooks.

In other business, the Board:

* Approved the minutes from the July meeting.

* Approved the financial report for July.

* Denied a legal transfer request which did not meet the School Choice deadline.

* Elected Sara Parmenter-McCormic as district treasurer.

Meanwhile, members of the Piggott Schools Board of Education held their final meeting before the start of the new school year Monday, Aug. 12. The board took care of several last minute personnel matters during the gathering, authorized the purchase of video cameras for the high school campus and voted to raise the price of meals in both cafeterias. Superintendent Charlie Powell also gave her update, as classes are set to begin Monday, Aug. 19.

With only Julie McMillon absent, the meeting was called to order at the administration office. Also on hand were key administration personnel and incoming board member Brad Dunlap. He is the only candidate for the seat being vacated by Trent Holcomb, and is unopposed in next month's local school election. Dunlap will take office following the election, and will participate in his first regular meeting in October.

Acting on Powell's recommendation, the board voted to raise the price for both breakfast and lunch in the PES and PHS cafeterias. "The new prices are based on guidelines from the USDA, handed down to the state and then on to us," Powell explained of the increases. "They're based on a formula which takes into account the cost of food and such."

On the superintendent's recommendation, the board voted to raise the price for student breakfasts from 50-cents to 75-cents, while lunches will climb from $1.30 to $1.50. Meanwhile, adult breakfasts will be raised from $1.85 to $2 while the cost of adult lunches will be increased from $3.10 to $3.25.

"There will be no impact on the free and reduced meals program, none of that will change," Powell explained. "And these prices are only for the hot meal line, and do not take into account a la' carte at the high school."

The matter passed on a vote of 4-0.

Following a brief executive session the board re-convened and took care of a number of personnel matters.

Board members voted to allow Powell to advertise an opening for an aide for special needs, and fill the position pending approval should an appropriate candidate be found. The board also agreed to assign PHS boy's head basketball coach Dave Reynolds as the girl's track coach, based on participation. Board members also filled the girl's assistant coach vacancy from within, naming Melissa Turner to assist with the volleyball, basketball and softball programs.

Turner taught second grade at PES last year, and had transferred to PHS as a seventh and eighth grade math instructor. She'll be assisting Nikki Speer in both volleyball and softball, and Alan Rabjohn in basketball, along with her classroom responsibilities.

All of the personnel issues were approved on a unanimous vote.

In other matters the board--

* Were updated by Powell on preparations for the coming year at both campuses.

* Agreed to hold the annual public meeting, and open board meeting, on Monday, Sept. 16 in the administration building. The public meeting is set for 5:30 p.m. with the board meeting to follow at 6:30.

* Voted to purchase 11 video cameras for the surveillance system at PHS at a cost of $6,874.73.

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