GF School Board to get plans, budget for building

Friday, October 24, 2008

GREEN FOREST -- The school board expects to see preliminary drawings of the new middle school building at its Nov. 17 meeting.

Superintendent Jeff Williams said he also expects the construction management firm to have a tentative budget. In addition to the budget, that firm is currently working on a detailed site plan.

The construction project will require the removal of two older buildings, and the school board has previously discussed renting temporary facilities to house students during construction of the new building. On Monday night, Williams told the board that it may be possible to relocate one of the buildings for temporary use, saving the cost of renting a building.

Annual report

Prior to the regular meeting, Williams delivered the district's annual report. The detailed report showed the district had a legal balance of $870,000 at the end of the 2007-2008 school year.

The student body has declined somewhat, from 1,255 to 1,217, but Williams said he expects those numbers to rebound near the 1,250 mark.

The staff includes 95 teachers, down from a high of 101 in 2005-2006.

Soft-drink contract

The district will continue its contract with Pepsi, after also considering a similar deal with Coca-Cola. Williams said the two companies offered similar contracts, with Coke offering more incentives up front, and Pepsi paying a higher commission and higher rebates for each case purchased.

Regardless of the company chosen, the district will see sharply reduced revenues from the contract. State requirements now prevent any sales of soft drinks to elementary children, and high school students do not have access to soft drinks until 30 minutes after lunch.

Last year, the school received $54,000 from its soft-drink contract, and Williams said under the new restrictions, it will take the school five years to make that much.

Williams recommended staying with Pepsi, because the company has provided good service.

Graduation issues

The board discussed whether to continue requiring high school teachers to attend graduation, and whether to have them wear matching caps and gowns.

Having teachers attend in caps and gowns had some appeal to board members, but they also considered that some teachers might have a family member graduating that same night. Sometimes weather forces graduation ceremonies into the gym, where space is at a premium.

The board voted not to require the high school teachers to attend, but to encourage them to come on an optional basis.

* The board will consider a change in selecting students for the annual honors banquet. Currently, the top 10 students in each class are honored. Williams suggested setting a particular grade-point average, and honoring all students who meet that standard. "The top 10 makes education a competition," Williams said, "but it's a collaboration."

* Cheryl Howard was elected as board president, Peggy James as vice president, and Michael Grigg as secretary. New board members Jerry King and Bud Phillips attended their first meeting.

* The board approved a $500 bonus for all of the school's contracted employees. Williams said awarding a bonus would not change the school's basic salary structure, so the board would have more options after seeing what kind of funding emerges from the upcoming session of the state legislature.

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