Berryville superintendent presents annual report

Friday, October 31, 2014

Though the school year is a quarter of the way through, the Berryville School District has spent only 22 percent of its budget. Superintendent Phil Clark presented this and other information in the school district's yearly public report at Tuesday's school board meeting.

Clark began his report with budget information. So far this year, the school district has expended 17 percent of the funds set aside for teacher salaries.

"Overall, we are in good shape as far as how much we've expended so far," he said at the meeting. "If we can save 30 percent by the end of the year, that's a half million dollars."

Clark briefed the board on test scores throughout the district. While many students are excelling -- more than 50 percent of the students at Berryville have scored in the upper-scale on AP tests -- there is roughly a 10 percent difference between the district's academic performance and the state average.

"This is the achievement gap, and it's what we'd like to close," he said. "...But overall, academically we're doing well."

Along with the district's academic performance, Clark discussed plans to expand technology on campus. Since the school year began, the district has purchased 120 Chromebooks, with the majority going to the intermediate building to meet testing needs, and a larger aggregator to manage its increased bandwidth. The district has also acquired a new wireless Internet server, which will allow students to use their own devices on campus. The camera system will be upgraded this year, too.

After hearing the annual report, the board approved several fundraisers,

including EAST's Third Annual Spooktacular Boonanza, baseball's T-shirt sales, the Spanish Club's brochure sales and the Key Club's pumpkin smashing event. The school counselors' request to solicit rewards and incentives from community businesses and organizations, along with the creation of an archery team, was approved.

Larry McCullough, environmental science and physical education teacher, presented the request for an archery team. He explained that the PE program has received two grants for archery equipment, noting that many students have already enjoyed the equipment.

"I'm asking for an archery program to give students the opportunity to go on to regional and state tournaments," he said, telling the board that students cannot compete in these tournaments unless they are part of a sanctioned archery team.

He emphasized that the archery team would make safety a top priority. The archery tournaments, McCullough said, have safety guidelines to protect students competing in the sport.

"I understand where you're coming from, but it's real strict," he said. "If you don't follow guidelines, you're disqualified."

The board also heard from Doug Harris, facilities and maintenance director, about the construction of a 400-foot by 60-foot storage building located behind the maintenance building. Harris said that he simply needed the board's approval to continue with the project, and the board agreed.

The board approved the hiring of Floyd Clark as a custodian and Robin Parker as a cafeteria worker. Parker's sister, LeeAnn Ashford, resigned from the board after voting to approve hiring Parker at the last board meeting, realizing that her presence on the board could be viewed as a conflict of interest and voided the board's decision to hire Parker. The board accepted Ashford's resignation at Monday's meeting and re-voted to hire Parker.

Ashley Carozza, Heather Hooker, Terresa Spring, Sheila Marsh and Lavina Stacey were added to the substitute list, with Rebecca Zeman being hired as a kindergarten teacher for the remainder of the school year.

A special called board meeting was scheduled Thursday, Oct. 30, in the intermediate cafetorium.

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