Berryville High School in need of math teacher
BERRYVILLE -- After one of the math teachers, Chrystal Finch, went on short-term disability due to health issues, High School Principal Owen Powell is having a hard time finding a replacement.
"I have contacted some retired math teachers in the area and a few universities," Powell wrote in a letter to the school board. "Unfortunately, none have been interested."
The state requires that the school has to send out a letter to parents letting them know there's not a "highly-qualified" teacher in the classroom after 30 consecutive days of absence.
"I apologize for these circumstances, but rest assured that we will remedy this situation that was outside of our control," Powell wrote in a letter to parents of Finch's students. "We are doing all we can to provide high-quality instruction and stability for your child."
In the meantime, Max Towler, a certified science teacher, is currently in Finch's classroom as a sub, and another math teacher has been videoing the lessons to be shown to Finch's classes.
"This is the best option I have been able to come up with until a certified math teacher is found," Powell wrote to the school board.
Earlier in Monday night's meeting, the Berryville School Board discussed plans to finish the locker rooms not completed during the Bobcat Gym renovation.
Last month, the board approved a bid of $82,000 to renovate the old track. The district originally budgeted $150,000 for the project, leaving $68,000 for other projects.
On Monday, April 21, the board voted to use that money to start purchasing new lockers. The $68,000 will also cover other costs associated with the project, including supplies such as paint.
In other business, the School Board:
* Approved the 2014-15 school year calendar. The majority of the district staff members chose option "B," and the board approved that one as well. The school year will begin on August 18 and end on May 22, 2015.
* Received a report from Facilities and Special Programs Director Dr. J. Doug Harris indicating that the district was placed above the target percentage for all eight performance indicators developed by the Arkansas Department of Career Education -- literacy, geometry, skill attainment, school completion, high school graduation, placement, non-traditional participation and non-traditional completion.
"I want you to know how proud I am of the [career and technical education] teachers," Harris said. "They've done an excellent job."
* Approved the purchase of new fire alarms for the fine art building, the old gym and the old agriculture building after a visit from the Arkansas Fire Marshal's Office. Two bids came in for the purchase, and the board approved the lowest one -- $14,017.40 from Tempo Sound and Security Inc. out of Harrison.
* Approved raising the cost of milk cartons from 25 cents per carton to 35 cents per carton, as the actual cost of a single carton of milk is now 34.17 cents and chocolate milk, 35.55 cents, according to Regina Jennings, food service bookkeeper.
* Approved extended school year services for the special education department. Eight students meet the criteria for the services and will receive special education instruction and speech therapy services during summer school at the intermediate school, from June 2 through 27.
* Approved updates to personnel policies 3.45 and 8.37, in reference to social media and blogging, as recommended by the Arkansas School Boards Association. The policies encourage employees to utilize blogging as a place for teachers and staff to keep students and parents up-to-date on activities and homework. Staff members are discouraged from using blogs or social media to engage with students in a "non-education-oriented format."
* Approved the district's monthly financial reports for March. With revenues totaling $934,293.14 and expenditures totaling $1,156,493.26, the ending balance of the operating account was $3,591,162.75. With revenues totaling $103,123.14 and expenditures totaling $75,310.28, the ending balance of the food service account was $300,415.35.
* Reviewed a sample of the new band uniforms, presented by Band Director Drew Morris. For more on the uniforms, read a previous report at www.CarrollCoNews.com/story/2058064.html.
* Approved requests from three different groups. The Junior Chamber Board will be selling homemade cookies -- $5 for a dozen -- as a fundraiser through mid-May. The Key Club is having a Bake Sale/Pie Contest to benefit Helping Hands for Haiti and a Bake/Candy Sale as a general fundraiser for the club. EAST students will be holding a Fitness Fair and starting a Hispanic Club, with the group's first project being a Cinco De Mayo Celebration from noon to 1:30 in the courtyard between the EAST and ESL buildings.
* Tabled requests for new positions for the 2014-15 school year until the May meeting.
* Approved a disposal of chemicals bid from Tradebe out of Millington, Tenn., for $14,731. The chemical disposal costs are up this year after thorium nitrate, a radioactive chemical, was found in the high school science lab.
* Renewed the district's agreement with SHI covering the Microsoft Windows OS for all computers campus-wide, along with Microsoft Office products. The total cost for May 2014 through May 2015 is $19,290.
* Approved the school choice capacity resolution, which comes up every year. "We'll take anybody," Superintendent Dr. Randy Byrd said.
* Received a report from Byrd on the projected enrollment for the 2014-15 school year. At a total of 2,023 students, it is expected that 508 will be at the elementary school, 453 at the intermediate school, 446 at the junior high and 616 at the high school. The current enrollment in the Berryville School District is 1,982 total, with 465 elementary students, 467 intermediate students, 467 junior high students and 583 high school students.
The next regular Berryville School Board meeting is scheduled for May 19 at 6 p.m. at the intermediate school. However, the board will have a special meeting on Tuesday, April 29, (at the same time and place) to decide on the finalists for the new Berryville superintendent.
Interviews with the finalists will take place the week of May 5, with a decision on who the next superintendent will be to be made by the end of that week. A complete list of the superintendent applicants can be found online at www.CarrollCoNews.com/story/2071071.html.