Area School Boards Meet
Personnel issues dominated all three of the area school board meeting for April, as resignations and retirements were addressed by members.
By Kelsey McKenney
Personnel issues dominated Monday night's regular meeting of the Piggott School Board, held at the administration building. During the gathering the board reviewed salary issues, including bonuses for attendance. At the conclusion of an executive session, the board also accepted the retirement resignations of two long-time local educators and named a new girls basketball coach. The position of assistant principal at PES was also addressed.
After calling the meeting to order, and dispensing with the usual matters, board members briefly discussed bids for new Chrome Books and carts for the third grade. Superintendent Barry DeHart recommended the board approve purchasing the new items from CDWG with each classroom receiving 25 Chrome Books and one cart. Purchasing the new items would entail 75 new Chrome Books and three new carts for the rooms for a total cost of $21,724.65. The board unanimously approved the purchase.
Superintendent DeHart explained to board members that the district salary schedule added $365 to each step and one percent to classified personnel, which they were required to do by the state. In turn, the Personnel Policy Committee approved these additions. He also took the indexes to the PPC, and explained stipends were not listed on the indexes.
In continuation, DeHart mentioned in previous years, licensed personnel who had perfect attendance for the year would receive $700, and those who missed one day would receive $500. Under this plan, classified personnel received $200 a year for perfect attendance, and $100 for one missed day.
In recent weeks, the committee and DeHart agreed to raise these awards. Under the new guidelines, licensed personnel would receive $1,000 for perfect attendance for the year, and classified personnel would receive $600 for perfect attendance for the year. The board unanimously agreed to table making a decision until after the executive session, as they would talk more in depth about the indexes. After returning from executive session, the board unanimously approved the salary index, and the salary schedules, with the deletion of sports field maintenance and upkeep.
Moreover, the board discussed bids for district servers. Dehart noted the current district servers are around six or seven years old, and two had to be rebuilt last summer. If they approved the purchase of the three new ones, two would be paid for this year and one next year from the operating fund.
Superintendent DeHart recommended the board approve the purchase of three district servers from Dove Connection at a total cost of $20,704.20. The board unanimously agreed to do so.
Furthermore, they discussed the approval of applications for School Choice. Two applications were submitted, looked over by board members and they unanimously approved to accept both applications.
In addition, members unanimously accepted minutes from the previous meeting and special meeting, the financial report, 2017 audit, and the addition of Brad Dunlap for signatures to the checking account.
The board went into executive session for about an hour and a half. After returning, the members unanimously approved the hiring of Erica Harris as the part-time assistant principle and Laura Brantley as the high school basketball coach. Harris formerly held the job of assistant principal, and will be serving in the position part time in the year to come. Brantley is a kindergarten teacher at PES, and has not served as a coach within the district previously. Also, they approved Jon Wellman to teach summer school for 2018. Based on DeHart's recommendation, board members also voted to re-hire classified personnel, and agreed to do so without dissent.
Finally, they accepted unanimously the retirement resignations of Pam Hoggard and Veda Crittenden. Hoggard is a first grade teacher and Crittenden is a paraprofessional at PES, and both are long-time members of the staff.
By Jane Gatewood
The Rector School Board’s monthly meeting was held Monday, April 9, and members worked efficiently through a short agenda.
During the gathering, Superintendent Johnny Fowler announced the certified teacher salary schedule has been brought into line with state requirements for school year 2018-2019. Teachers with a master’s degree will receive a $400 annual raise and the step raises, from most seniority to beginning salary, was raised $550 annually across the board. The board approved the salary schedule.
Superintendent Fowler presented the board with three bids that he and adviser Michael Hollis had reviewed for the FFA barn. Hollis indicated that the pole barn site will be ready for water, electric sewer hook-up. Board President Jody Simmons asked if each bid contains all required components, all necessary parts to satisfy the design.
Under the plan, the barn is to be 30 x 60 feet with a 10-foot lean-to. After examining each of the three bids, the board voted to accept Square Post Building’s bid.
In further business, the 2018-2019 school calendar was recommended to the board by a teacher committee after being approved by a vote of the district’s teachers. Known as Option 1 Calendar, the board approved the calendar as recommended by the professional staff. Highlights of of the calendar are as follows—Aug. 13 – First Day of School, Thanksgiving Break – full week/five school days. Christmas Break – two full weeks/10 school days. Jan. 21 – MLK Day, Feb. 15 and Feb. 18 – Presidents’ Day. March 15, 18-22 – Spring Break, April 19 – Good Friday, and May 24 – Last Day of School.
With more information about the upcoming school year, RHS principal Nate Henderson shared the additional opportunities for concurrent credit for high school students. Because of a close working relationship with Arkansas State University and Black River Technical College, RHS will offer Composition I and II, World Civilizations I and II, College Algebra, Psychology, Sociology, Biology, and Physical Science.
“If students want to take advantage of all concurrent classes, their beginning year in college will be significantly less expensive and they will begin college with numerous college credits under their belt,” Henderson said of the opportunity.
Henderson further explained to the board that the school will be working with a much more efficient web company to maintain the school’s web site. The new company will provide 100 percent technical support and will enhance e-school, the school’s reporting system. The company is established in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas and comes highly recommended by Brookland, Greenbrier, and Nettleton School Districts. The company, Gabbart Solutions, also offers a school app which Superintendent Fowler and Henderson have been researching for several years.
In personnel matters, the board accepted the resignation of Arlene Greg due to her announced retirement. The board also approved the rehiring of both the high school and elementary classified staff at the recommendation of both principals and the superintendent.
Superintendent Fowler reported the operating fund balance as $1,907,745.17. building fund is steady at $1,090,000.00. Adding to these totals the cafeteria fund and federal funds, the balance is $2,921,908.75.
By Kelsey McKenney
The Marmaduke School Board met Monday April 9, for their regular meeting and addressed a number of personnel issues.
The board briefly discussed the resignation of Marmaduke Elementary School principal Audrea King, then voted to accept the resignation as presented. Afterward, they voted to hire Lisa Hargrave as the new principal at MES.
In other personnel matters, the board voted to employ Casey Wells as the agriculture teacher and Stephanie Brandeberry as a high school math teacher.
Members of the board also discussed a resolution to hire Morgan Hawley as a science teacher, contingent upon receiving approval from the ADE commissioner. The board unanimously accepted the resolution.
The board also approved the summer lunch program prior to adjourning.