Local School Boards Meet
January brought with it the first meetings of the year for both the Rector and Piggott school boards.
The Rector School District is working to make concurrent classes more prevalent on its campus by making the classes, which offer high school and college credits to students taking part in the subjects, more appealing to teachers. During Monday night's regular meeting of the Rector School Board, a decision was made to offer an additional stipend to teachers teaching concurrent classes. The stipend will reward those teachers for the extra work, while offering an incentive to other instructors in the future.
By taking part in the classes, which require a charge of approximately $170 for students and their families to participate, students are able to get a "head start" on college courses, reducing the number of hours required after high school.
"I think we'll see a lot more concurrent classes going forward," superintendent Johnny Fowler said. "It's a good opportunity for the students and their parents. We have students that can get 20 hours of credits before they graduate. This can save them a semester or even a year of college down the road. It's a real good opportunity to be able to take those classes now."
Board members Jody Simmons, Tony Lockhart, Kirk Ford, Kim Isom and Mike Trail voiced their support of the program.
Prior to the regular meeting, a special closed meeting was held wherein school administrators met with the family and friends of three high school students facing expulsion for alleged infractions during the final week of classes prior to the holiday break. Following these discussions, the three students were expelled from the Rector School District.
In other business, the Board:
* Approved a one year extension to Fowler's contract, which now extends through the next three years.
* Approved the financial report for December.
* Approved a student transfer to a neighboring school.
Members of the Piggott Schools Board of Education held their first meeting of 2015 Monday night, handling a variety of purchases for the district. The board members also heard an update on the recently completed audit, were recognized by students as part of an annual observance and heard an update from Superintendent Charlie Powell. Later, following a nearly one-hour long executive session, the board voted to accept the resignation of a cafeteria worker at the high school but voted down a proposed one year extension of Powell's contract.
With all members in attendance, along with key administrative personnel, the meeting was called to order. Board members then dispensed with the usual consent agenda items and turned their attention to a number of purchases.
Based on Powell's recommendation, the board voted to accept the bid from ItSavvy for the purchase of 10 mounting kits for projectors and 15 DLP projector #D 3100 Lumens. She indicated the bid was comparable to others, but noted the company offered a much stronger warranty. The purchase, which totaled $8,500.36, was approved without dissent.
The board also accepted the low bid from Piraino Consulting, of Conway, for the purchase of a complete smart board and 14 SBM600 units. Total amount of the bid was $29,632.90, which was approved on a vote of 5-0.
The purchase of diesel fuel was also approved by board members, with the low bid from Watson Oil Company in the amount of $1.76 a gallon.
Powell told board members the recent audit included two findings, both of which are related to problems with software provided by one of the district vendors. She noted the problem had been found within the software, and indicated the company would have to correct the matter.
Prior to the superintendent's update members of the board were also recognized with certificates in observance of "School Board Member Appreciation Month." Handing out the certificates to the board members were PHS students Holly Boyd and Tyler Peters.
During her update Powell also indicated that board members Hope Burns and Jeff Benbrook also been recognized by the Arkansas School Board Association. The board members were recognized for completing a total of 50 hours of training, well above the six-hours-per-year required by the state.
The board members then voted to go into executive session to consider personnel matters.
After nearly an hour in executive session the board re-convened, and voted to accept the resignation of Vickie Owens as a cafeteria worker at PHS. Board President Neil Morgan then offered a motion to extend Powell's contract an additional year, which would keep her employed in the district's top job through the 2017-18 school year. Currently Powell is under contract through the 2016-17 school year.
Morgan then put the matter to a vote, and along with Benbrook voted in favor of the extension, while board members Hope Burns, Bradley Dunlap and Chris Roberts voted no on the proposal.
Afterward, the board voted to adjourn.