Berryville board OKs $500 bonus
BERRYVILLE -- A $500 bonus for all Berryville School staffers, both certified and classified, was approved by the Berryville Board of Education Nov. 7.
The bonus, to be paid before the Thanksgiving holiday, was proposed by Superintendent Randy Byrd.
He said a review of the budget indicated the bonus was possible because of property tax revenues the district had received.
"If the tax money keeps coming in, there may be more," he said, referring to another bonus possibly after the first of the year.
When the board members prepared to vote on the matter they added Byrd to the mix so he would receive the bonus also.
Board members met at 5:30 p.m. Monday instead of their usual 6 p.m. time slot to accommodate an awards program that was scheduled for that evening. They made quick work of their agenda.
Included was a request from the district's financial advisor asking for an early December meeting for possible approval of a bond sale the board had previously voted to pursue.
They decided to switch their December board meeting to the evening of Monday, Dec. 6, at 6 p.m. to accommodate the financial advisor and to clear their calendars for the Christmas holiday ahead.
In other action, the board heard from Jason Williams, representing the Kiwanis Club, who asked permission to sell raffle tickets at home basketball games. His request was approved along with several other fundraising requests, including the sale of pickles by the National Junior Honor Society and the sale of "Blue and Gold Sausage" by the FFA.
Doug Harris updated the board on facility improvements, saying new heat and air systems were being installed in the girls weight room and in the agri classrooms. He was looking into the cost of installing an air conditioning system in Bobcat Gym and would have cost estimates for the board to review at their next meeting.
In addition, Harris said SourceGas would provide them with water flow restrictors at no cost that would result in an 18 percent utility cost savings. Surveys were planned to automate all buildings, he said, similar to Bobcat Arena where automated controls include an "unoccupied mode" that provides a 25 percent savings. He said there would be some upfront costs for the surveys and he planned to begin with the East Annex building and see how that goes before proceeding further.
Byrd said he was pleased with enrollment numbers that were holding steady. As of Monday morning there were 1,873 students, a figure that did not include another four that joined the ranks of middle school pupils that day.
At the middle school, Principal Matt Summers reported that their Sole Food shoe drive was ongoing and they would continue to accept used or abused shoes through Thanksgiving. He also noted that 12 of their students traveled to the Five Mile Camp for one day of training in preparation for an upcoming Williamsburg trip in December.
High School Principal Randall Betts said their agri students represented the county well with state fair wins, and both the band and the choir excelled in recent competitions.
At the intermediate school, principal Shelly Osnes reported on fifth grade overnight trips to the Ozark Natural Science Center, saying all fifth graders get to attend at no cost to their families. Four separate sessions were planned to accommodate the 154 students in the fifth grade.
She said they are researching alternative trips beginning next year because of cost considerations.
At the elementary school Principal Teresa Wright updated the board on "Big Cat" and "Lady Cat" visits that were scheduled so young students can know their Bobcat athletes and learn more about their sports.
She said first and second grade students completed the Math TLI assessment and first graders "rocked" with a 91 percent average.
Agri instructor Justin Wagner appeared before the board with a video presentation showcasing the landscaping class and their recent project, saying they did it all themselves and came in under budget.
Before the board members adjourned for the evening they accepted the resignation of LeAnn Johnson, the high school business teacher who was injured in a school bus accident more than a year ago.
Johnson was one of 12 passengers aboard the Berryville bus that overturned near Pyatt while on its way to an FBLA competition. She was the most seriously injured.