School Boards Handle Full Agendas

Friday, March 18, 2016

The Rector School Board accepted resignations, fuel bids and hired employees during Monday's monthly meeting.

Title I reading teacher Kathy Fowler, who has worked at the Rector School District for 17 years, submitted a resignation letter citing, "she is ready to retire." The board approved her resignation.

All high school and elementary teacher contracts, classified and certified, were renewed for the 2016-2017 school year with the endorsement of both principal Wade Williams and principal Nate Henderson.

Christina Boyd of Rector was hired as a half-time Spanish teacher at the recommendation of superintendent Johnny Fowler.

Pre-school aide Vicky York, who has worked at the pre-school facility for a month, has been added as a contract hire at the request of pre-school coordinator Bridgette Sain.

The board also took three bids for gasoline, as "it's time to buy a tanker," Fowler said. The bids were MFA Oil at 1.39 per gallon, Mid-South at $1.37 per gallon and Star Petroleum $1.47 per gallon. The board accepted MFA's bid, citing the company is a Rector business.

The last order of business was to change the April meeting date to 5:30 p.m. on April 7.

Fowler reported the school's total operating fund stands at $1,830,549.41, and total assets are $2,483,584.20.

Board members Jody Simmons, Tony Lockhart, Kim Isom, Kirk Ford and Mike Trail attended the meeting.

Piggott Board

Piggott School Board

BY TIM BLAIR

Times-Democrat News Staff

Both campuses of the Piggott School District will be under new leadership this fall, following action by the members of the school board Monday evening. Following an executive session, which capped a lengthy agenda, board members officially accepted the resignation of longtime PES principal Leean Mann. During the gathering the board also voted 5-0 to re-assign Piggott High School principal Barry DeHart as assistant principal for 2016-17 with no change in contract days or pay.

With over 30 items on the agenda, the board also approved dozens of purchases of new equipment, furnishings and technology items for both campuses.

Early in the meeting the board also viewed a sales presentation by Athletic Project Consultants on a proposed expansive renovation and improvement plan for Parker Field, the school's football field complex. The plan, which carries with it a nearly million dollar price tag, calls for the construction of a four-lane track around the current football field, renovation of other facilities and installation of an artificial turf system.

Preliminary costs were estimated at $700,000 for the field improvements, $275,000 for construction of the basic track and additional funds for site improvements and rebuilding the current concession stand.

According to the company official, donations would be sought to help pay for the costs and corporate sponsorships would be recruited, as well.

Following the presentation the board voted 5-0 to allow the company to proceed with the exploratory phase of the effort, and approved an expenditure of $10,000 as payment. (see additional story this edition)

Early in the gathering the board also heard from a representative of Chartwell's, the district food service provider, who informed them a number of changes were being made.

"I know things are not optimal right now, and we're making some big changes," noted Dan Wolf, who introduced himself as the new district manager for the company. "We want to try to take it to the next level and will be working on food quality, better food, and better participation."

Wolf also introduced a new local food service manager, as he explained Hope Vaughn is taking over the position.

The district is now in the second year of contracting food service through Chartwell's, a change made in an effort to optimize profits and reduce waste within the cafeteria system.

The issue of the aged gym floor at Piggott Elementary School was also addressed, and improvements were authorized.

"To our knowledge the gym floor at the elementary school has never been fully stripped and re-done," superintendent Charlie Powell told the board. "We received one bid on the job at a cost of $12,860." She also indicated there was an area of the tile floor which required repair, and that portion of the job was contracted to Burns Floor Covering with an associated cost of $2,760.

The work on the gym floor, and installation of the new bleachers in the PES gym, are scheduled to be completed during the upcoming spring break.

During her update to the board Powell indicated the district census was up slightly, with 909 students enrolled. She noted spring break would be observed next week, and PHS prom will be held Friday, April 8. She also reported the new HVAC units for the PHS gym are slated to be delivered around April 11 and are earmarked to installation prior to graduation.

In other business the board:

* Tabled consideration of quotes for repair to the turf at the football field.

* Accepted the low bid for the purchase of 2,000 gallons of gasoline from Watson Oil at $1.35 a gallon.

* Approved renewal of Advance Education Monitoring for the coming year at a cost of $1,500 plus expenses.

* Authorized the sale of two out-of-service school buses at the upcoming Piggott FFA Farm Equipment Auction.

* Discussed the school calendar options for the coming school year.

* Approved a resolution allowing the district to do business with Burns Floor Covering, with board member Hope Burns excused from the discussion and vote.

* Accepted the low bid from GovConnection for the purchase of 105 Chromebooks at a cost of $30,507.23.

* Approved the bid from Piraino Consulting on a three-year lease for the Smart Learning Suite at a cost of $5,188.

* Agreed to purchase $5,217.30 in smart interactive panel equipment for the high school science lab.

* Voted to accept the bid of $4,092 for the purchase of four Chromebook charging carts which handle 30 tablets, one cart to hold 12 tablets and a wall/desk charging box designed for an additional 12 tablets. The purchase was made from Bit Direct.

* Authorized the purchase of 27 printers from ItSavvy at a cost of $7,270.85.

* Approved the low bid of $4,807 from CDW-G for a 3-D printer for the ALE class at Piggott High School.

* Voted to purchase a variety of new rugs and floor coverings for both campuses, including the libraries. Total cost from School Outfitters was $5,906.89.

* Agreed to the purchase of a new portable stage system, including riser, steps, skirting and guardrail. Total cost was set at $7,453.28, with the unit to be available for use during the May graduation.

* Purchased new cubbies for a number of classrooms at PES from John R. Green Company at a cost of $9,900.

* Voted to purchase new shelving for the PES library from John R. Green Company at a cost of $22,673.20.

* Accepted the bid from School Outfitters for new white boards at a cost of $5637.52.

In a change from tradition, the board also agreed to keep the regular meeting time at 5:30 p.m. on the second Monday of each month. In years past the meetings have been held earlier in the winter months, and then reverted back to 6:30 during the summer.

Following the 30-minute-plus executive session the board re-convened and addressed personnel matters. On a vote of 5-0 they agreed to accept the resignation of Mann, a local native and PHS grad who has been with the district nearly 30 years. Recently she announced her retirement from the district, as she has accepted a similar job in the Twin Rivers (Mo.) District.

The board all approved the re-assignment of DeHart on a vote of 5-0, and were informed Brock Swann will continue as half-time assistant principal at both PHS and PES, along with his regular classroom duties.

In other personnel action, Trish Gunn, of Kennett, was hired as the district LPN pending completion of a background check. The board also voted to table discussion on hiring a girls track coach, and agreed to hire Shawna Stone for lunch duty.

Powell also informed the board members the district will begin the process of advertising as they seek to hire new principals for both campuses.

Board members attending were Jeff Benbrook, Hope Burns, Bradley Dunlap, Chris Roberts and Jennifer Rahn.

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