Rector and Piggott School Boards Meet
Both the Piggott and Rector school board met in regular session Monday, as classes are set to begin next week.
The path is now set for future development of the former National Guard Armory following action Monday night by the Rector School Board.
The board voted unanimously to agree to the Rector City Council's request that the school incur all closing costs on the sale of the facility by the city.
Earlier, the school board voted to pay $10,000 for the armory and the city council subsequently agreed to that purchase price, with the stipulation that the school pay for all legal and closing costs.
The school plans to develop the armory for use as an athletic field house, band practice facility and general purposes for the school and community.
The armory was donated to the city when the Arkansas National Guard included it on a list of facilities closed throughout the state for cost-saving purposes.
In other business at the monthly meeting, the board:
--Approved policies related to internet use by faculty and students.
--Accepted the resignation of custodian Tammy Saylors.
--made a change in the high school handbook related to the honor graduate policy.
--heard superintendent Johnny Fowler note the district's financial balance is $1,791,226.
All board members were present -- Jody Simmons, Kirk Ford, Mike Trail, Kim Isom and Tony Lockhart.
Members of the Piggott Schools Board of Education recognized members of the Piggott High School FBLA and FCCLA chapters at Monday's regular monthly meeting. The board also heard an update on the district's HVAC management system, approved several bids, discussed the project at Parker Field and set the annual public hearing. At the conclusion a bus driver was hired, a matter related to a discussion which began at a special meeting held recently.
With all members in attendance, along with key administrative staff, the meeting was called to order. After dispensing with the usual consent agenda items, the board re-visited the issue of bus routes.
At a special meeting held recently, board members Bradley Dunlap, Chris Roberts and Jennifer Rahn had questioned the need for replacing Tony Conley, who had retired as a bus driver in the spring. At the time the board reviewed the matter with transportation supervisor Fred Hicks, who informed them on the law pertaining to the issue. After discussing the matter the board voted to table the issue until this week's gathering.
Monday night, Hicks once again reviewed Act 1288, which sets limits on the amount of time a student can spend on a bus each day. Under the law, for the 2016-17 school year students may spend no longer than 60 minutes on the bus each morning or afternoon.
He also fielded questions about how many of the riders live in town and close to the schools, and how the matter is approached. "The issue is, we've got about 40 kids that ride every afternoon that we just can't adjust for," he offered.
Following the discussion the board concurred the current guidelines don't allow for changes, and agreed to hire a replacement.
"Even if it's just two kids that need to be picked-up, we still need to take care of them," Rahn surmised.
The board also welcomed PHS students who competed last spring in both the FCCLA and FBLA nationals. First, they heard from Ashley Grissom and Elizabeth Hobbs, who competed along with Destiny Hall in the FCCLA national leadership conference. Accompanied by stand-in instructor Karen Coomer, the students showed-off their certificates and medals, and related their experiences for those on hand.
Next, Hannah Powell and Georgina Bautista related their experience as they competed in the FBLA nationals in California, bringing home the school's first-ever first place finish. The duo competed in Introduction to Business Presentation, and took top honors over schools from across the nation.
They shared the excitement and emotion of the experience, along with instructor Stacy Peters, and watched a video with the board members of the winning moment.
Board president Jeff Benbrook spoke for the body, offering congratulations and a "job well done" to the students. He also thanked them for the manner they represented Piggott, and Piggott High School, on the national stage.
The board then heard an extensive report from Ben Trout, of EPM, on the computerized temperature control system serving both campuses. Trout reported the first 11 months of the effort had saved the district nearly 30 percent in energy costs for heating and cooling, or about $90,500.
He noted under the current rate structure, which is likely to change, the system would pay for itself in less than seven years. "If rates go up, it will be sooner," he explained.
Trout also informed the board several repair projects are still underway, and advised them on other areas which need attention. He also noted the new system will include a program designed to reduce mold, which cycles the system in a manner to remove humidity from the buildings.
The issue of moisture in the buildings has continued to be a problem, and has prompted the district to re-evaluate drainage in and around both campuses.
Trout also noted additional work will be done during the Thanksgiving break at PES, to address an issue with the HVAC for the cafeteria and kitchen.
Board members also reviewed the improvement project at Parker Field, and were told the turf was scheduled to be placed this week. Superintendent Charlie Powell also sought the board's guidance on the concession stand/restroom project, which will likely won't be completed until next year.
"We have to wait on state approval, and have to go through the process of hiring an architect, engineer and contractor," she offered. "Just getting all the paperwork approved by the state may take close to a year."
The board agreed the district should proceed with caution on the project, with an emphasis on, as Benbrook noted, "getting it done right."
Late in the meeting the board also addressed the bus driver vacancy, voting to hire Debra Redford to the position. The matter passed without dissent.
In other business the board--
--Voted to accept the low bid of $1.48 a gallon from Watson Oil on the purchase of diesel fuel.
--Agreed to accept a bid of $500 on the sale of a used John Deere mower.
--Accepted the bid from CleanSolutions, of Jonesboro, for the purchase of supplies.
--Granted a Family Medical Leave Act request by Jessica Robertson.
--Tabled consideration of the purchase of a house located south of PHS.
--Set the annual public meeting for 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 12.
--Reviewed the dates for personnel development training for board members.
--Heard an update on the Safe Routes to School grant, which is paying for new crossing signs and lights, and a new speed bump, adjacent to the campuses.