GF's Summers chosen for mission trip to Dominican Republics

Friday, October 24, 2014

Green Forest School District Superintendent Matt Summers has been chosen to take part in Lifetouch's 2014 Memory Mission.

The mission, which Summers explained at Monday's school board meeting, allows randomly selected school administrators from Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma to help build a school in the Dominican Republic in January 2015.

Summers showed the school board a five-minute video explaining the purpose of the trip.

"It's pretty remote," he said. "We'll be using hand tools and wheelbarrows. It's pretty grueling but it's a labor of love."

Summers entered his name in Lifetouch's contest at an administrators conference this summer. While administrators work to build the school, Lifetouch employees will take school photos of local children and give the photos to them after the week has ended.

After the video presentation, the board approved a $700 gross bonus for all contracted employees to be paid before Thanksgiving break. The cash bonus is given to school employees each year, though it is about $100 more this year since the school district did not give raises for this academic school year. The approximate cost of the bonus is $168,000.

The board has paid its last installment on this summer's construction projects in the middle and high school cafeteria. After the school receives a final reimbursement from the state for the construction, Summer said, the board can begin moving forward on the construction of a maintenance, custodial and transportation shop. The shop would be placed on land the school recently acquired north of the superintendent's office.

The building fund is currently at $713,754.01.

"Of course we'd like for that to be a little larger before we jump into another construction phase," Summers said. "When the cafeteria funding is completed, we'll make up our mind about starting construction as early as this winter or spring. We're kind of on a holding pattern right now."

The board approved several personnel changes. Special education teacher Rebecca Alexander has resigned and was replaced by Erika Burdick, who started working Oct. 21. Barbara Rousey, Gerarda Lopez and Timothy Wilson were hired for the maintenance staff.

The school board's next regular meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 20.

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