Berryville School Board discusses web network

Friday, June 20, 2014

BERRYVILLE -- Plans to improve internet connectivity in Arkansas schools are in the works -- but Berryville may not benefit from the help, because of its already-beefed-up connection, officials said at the school board's meeting this week.

The state government is working on establishing a broadband network that would allow all schools to connect at a predetermined, lower-than-retail price. But what the state begins offering later this year may prove unnecessary in Berryville, said Berryville School District Facilities Director Doug Harris.

"Our internal network has been beefed up over the years, and we have one of the fastest internal networks," he said.

Though Berryville schools have a relatively fast internet connection, the condition of broadband access in much of the rest of the state is lacking, state officials have said. According to Harris, a report found that Arkansas was last in the nation for broadband access in schools.

Currently, Berryville schools have a discount on internet access, and if the state internet connection ends up coming in at a higher cost, the district would have the option of negotiating its own price.

Berryville schools, as well as school districts across the state, will be able to apply for the state internet connection when it's ready in November or December, said Harris.

The school board tabled discussion of the Broadband Grant Program until next month.

In addition to discussing the broadband network during its June 16 meeting, the Berryville School Board approved a motion to switch its mental health provider for schools from Ozark Guidance to Arkansas Counseling Associates due to what board members called a decline in Ozark Guidance's services over the past couple of years.

The board also chose to renew the Student/Athletic accident insurance with Dwight Jones Agency for the 2014-2015 year. However, board members chose to sign up for a one-year, second-tier plan because a small amount of students actually take advantage of the secondary insurance. In years past, the board had chosen the top-tier plan.

In other business, the board:

* Approved the monthly financial reports.

* Approved the FFA fundraiser requests for the 2014-2015 school year.

* Discussed summer facilities projects, including changing the flooring on bleachers, installing fire alarms, redirecting a sewer line, fixing a drainage problem, and performing maintenance on Bobcat Gym and the stadium, among other things.

* Approved transfer student requests, including two students transferring from Green Forest to Berryville and one student from Berryville to Kingston.

* Accepted the bid submitted by Bimbo Bakers USA of Oklahoma City to provide bread products to the district for the 2014-2015 school year.

* Renewed the Missouri State Nurses Agreement, 2014-2015 Property Insurance, and 2014-2015 Vehicle Insurance.

* Approved a motion to purchase a new athletics ice machine for the Field House from Ozark Refrigeration for $4,173.19.

* Went over the attendance reports, and stated that there are 1,973 students in the district as of June 9, down eight students from May 13.

* Approved the following employee moves for the 2014-2015 school year: Mahalie Armstrong from Special Education paraprofessional to literacy paraprofessional, Jana Fancher from K-2 CBS (SPED) to 3-5 SPED, Lea Jones from third to second-grade teacher, Andrew Killingsworth from a nine-month to an 11-month contract, Shaanti O'Dell from second to fifth-grade teacher, Latisha Smith from 6-8 CBI to intermediate literacy para, and Austin Winters to middle school dean of students.

* Approved the retirements and resignations of FACS Andrea Buck, math teacher and bus driver Barrett Buck, and Adam Wade as a bus driver, though he will still teach classes.

* Approved the following hires for the 2014-2015 school year: Kristen Alvard as K-2 CBI para, Tiffany Atkinson as high school counselor, Cody Curtis as social studies teacher/coach, Renea Doss as K-2 CBI SPED, Ashley Engel as K-2 CBI para, Bryan Frymire as third-grade teacher, Lisa Geren as intermediate principal, Ruth Kennedy as high school computer business applications, Jerry Magee as K-2 CBI para and route bus driver, Kathy Manus as high school English teacher, Ted Richter as alternative school facilitator, Amy Romero as K-2 resource SPED, Becky Stoppel as 3-5 SPED para, and Ashley Stracener as seventh- and eighth-grade social studies/science teacher.

* Approved adding the following to the substitute list for the 2014-2015 school year: Kimberly Acevedo, cafeteria, Erica Rankin, K-12, Ashley Turpen, K-12 and cafeteria, and Pamela Yarberry, cafeteria.

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