Green Forest at standstill with CLC

Friday, January 24, 2014 ~ Updated 4:42 PM

GREEN FOREST -- The school board is awaiting a reply from the Collegiate Licensing Co. after submitting a standstill agreement regarding the use of the University of Missouri's trademarked tiger symbol.

The agreement was submitted to the associate general counsel for the CLC, James Aronowitz, by the school board attorney, Charles Harwell, roughly three weeks ago. The agreement basically states that if signed, then all parties will continue business as if the cease and desist order was never mailed.

"I think it is something the school district would be very pleased to sign and end this dispute," said Superintendent Matt Summers. "We take ownership of ours and they keep ownership of theirs, and there won't be any more of this legal battle. This will be an easy way to say we are protected and we are done with this, but we don't know if the university or the CLC will agree to that."

Summers received the order on Oct. 21, 2013. It claimed the Green Forest Tiger logo is nearly identical to the University of Missouri's. The letter demanded that Green Forest change its school logo.

"It will dilute the distinctiveness of the mark that the public associates with the university," Aronowitz wrote in the letter. "It will also interfere with the university's ability to effectively market and license the use of the marks in the marketplace."

The board agreed to take no action on the standstill, just as it did with the licensing agreement that was presented to them from the CLC in December. Now the board is awaiting action from the CLC.

"The university is considering the proposal," Aronowitz said. "But at this point, all I can say is both sides share the goal of resolving the issue amicably."

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During the construction update, Summers shared with the board that the school has finished purchasing the property adjacent to the Fred Grim Gym. The building on the property will be used for police training then demolished to make room for a parking lot that the school desperately needs, Summers said.

Also during that update, Josh Siebert, an architect from Modus Studios, shared with the council that he has met with staff and nearly finished drawing the schematics for the renovation of the cafeteria. He then added that the next step would be to procure a contractor for the project and gather input from them for design before construction starts.

Later, the board approved a legislative audit to be in compliance with Arkansas codes. The audit was done by Przybysz and Associates, but is usually done by the state. The school board outsourced the job because School Board Vice President Jerry King is related to Arkansas State Senator Bryan King, and that would make a conflict of interest.

Following the closed session of the meeting, the board unanimously approved renewing the contract of Summers for two more years; the terms of his contract end in June 2017.

"I am quite shocked actually, in a positive way," Summers said about his new contract. "Being named as the superintendent of Green Forest public schools has been the best move that I have made career-wise. All seven members of our board are individuals that come together to make one cohesive unit, and it has been a very good fit."

The following changes to personnel were also unanimously approved by the board:

* Kearstin Greenhaw was hired as an elementary teacher.

* Marty Coleman was hired as a food service employee.

* Elizdalia Rivera and Maria Castillo were hired as migrant paraprofessionals.

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