Berryville superintendent says district finances 'in good shape'

Friday, December 19, 2014

With 42 percent of the school year complete, the Berryville School District has expended only 39 percent of its budget. The district currently has 2,055 students, up 2.5 percent from last year.

Superintendent Phil Clark presented this information to the Berryville School Board Dec. 15, saying the school district is "still in good shape" financially.

Dr. Doug Harris, the district's director of facilities and special programs, then addressed the board, asking to issue an invitation to bid on three buses no longer being used by the district. The board agreed, also authorizing $7,111.46 from bond refinance funds to pay the difference left after using Perkins funds to purchase 26 computers for a classroom and extending the copier contract with Professional Business Systems to 2019. This extension includes a reduction in the monthly cost to the district, which Clark said could save up to $27,000 a year.

The board approved two requests from faculty and students. The first, presented by high school counselor Tiffany Atkinson, is an advisory program that allows high school students to serve as teacher assistants to lower grades and mentors in the high school.

Atkinson said she will direct the program.

"The program gives staff extra help from kids and is for local credit," she explained. "It lets students pick what classes they want to take."

High school senior Derek Doss presented the other request, asking the board to approve an engineering club that will be run through the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Doss said the club will provide an opportunity for discovery, noting that the club already has 16 interested students.

"The main event of this club is an engineering xcompetition in the spring where you get to compete in challenges with other high school clubs," he said.

Last year's challenge, Doss added, was to design a car that runs on carbon dioxide. Kirk Ashworth, the facilitator of EAST, will serve as the club's adviser.

The board approved adding seven hours to the cafeteria worker salary schedule retroactive to the first day of the current school year and accepted the resignations of Liz Davidson, elementary library clerk, and Steve Scoggins, assistant superintendent. Davidson's resignation is effective Dec. 31, with Scoggins' slated for Nov. 20.

Shannon Hill was approved as volunteer assistant softball coach for the current school year, and Elliot Ginn, Kayla Plumlee and Alaina Seel were added to the substitute list.

The board received reports from the administration. Middle school principal David Gilmore reported on the school's canned food drive. After collecting non-perishable food, Gilmore said the school was donating it to Loaves & Fishes Food Bank. Intermediate school principal Lisa Geren notified the board of the upcoming Manners Day, where the cafeteria will be transformed into a formal affair. "They'll have a tablecloth at each table and everything," she said. "It's a special tradition for intermediate students."

Clark notified the board of a public meeting planned for 6:30 p.m. Jan. 8 in the intermediate cafetorium to discuss the district's strategic plan and five-year facilities plan.

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