Connect 4 board sets details for director job
The Connect 4 Board voted at its first meeting Wednesday to approve the job description and salary guidelines for the director.
The Connect 4 program will offer junior and senior students from the Berryville, Eureka Springs and Green Forest school districts the opportunity to pursue a technical education during the school day. The program will be housed in the Carroll County Career Center, formerly the Berryville Readiness Center, and will focus on industrial maintenance, providing students with a cross-curricular background in different trades.
The newly formed Connect 4 Board features seven voting members: the superintendent and a board member from each of the three school districts and an industry representative as the seventh member.
Superintendent Matt Summers and board president Bud Phillips are representing the Green Forest School District. Superintendent Owen Powell and board member Chad Wilson are representing the Berryville School District. Superintendent Bryan Pruitt and board member Al Larson are representing the Eureka Springs School District.
Rodney Ellis, technical education liaison and trainer for Tyson Foods, was selected as the seventh board member.
“Since Tyson stepped up first, we felt that Rodney would be a good choice,” Summers said.
Ellis was unable to attend the meeting Wednesday, so Mike Armstrong served as Tyson Foods’ representative in his place. Chris Claybaker, economic development director for the city of Berryville, also attended the meeting.
Summers handed out the job description for the Connect 4 director to the board members, allowing them to read over the instructor preferences, specific job duties and requirements and the required knowledge, skills and abilities.
“This is the job description that Mike Rogers and Rodney had used for the Siloam Springs career center,” Summers said. “We looked at how it fits our needs, and we feel like it’s exactly what we’re looking for.”
He said he believed the board needed to begin advertising the job description in October, set a deadline for applications some time in November and begin interviewing in December. The goal, he said, is to have a director hired before January.
“I think we need to start advertising as quickly as we can and start taking applications,” Powell said. “We probably need to start having discussions and interviewing at least in late October or early November.”
Phillips asked what kind of salary the director would be offered. Summers said the school districts had discussed a salary similar to that of a principal.
“We’ve been visiting with an attorney about that, and we’re still unclear exactly what it would be because all of our pay scales are different,” he said. “Do we want to take the middle of the road or the high end?”
Each school district is prepared for about $100,000 in salaries, Summers said, with the director making approximately $75,000 and the secretary, who will be hired in the spring, making approximately $25,000. The districts would split the cost three ways, he said.
“The director position would be a 240-day contract. In essence, it’s a year-round position,” he said. “For the secretary, we discussed a 190-day contract. Students attend for 178 days, so the secretary would work a week before and a week after that period or two weeks before.”
The secretary will not be hired until spring of 2018, Summers said, and the board plans to have the director heavily involved in that hiring process.
“We discussed with legal taking the three principal salaries from each district, totaling them up and dividing it by three for the director’s salary,” Powell said. “It will wind up right around $73,000 to $75,000.”
The board voted to have the Connect 4 director’s salary be the average of the three school district’s principal salaries.
Larson asked if the benefits package would need to be included in the motion as well. Since the Connect 4 board will initially use the Berryville School District’s local education agency (LEA) number before the career center begins operations, Summers said the board will use the Berryville benefits package.
Powell said the director and secretary positions will be included on Berryville’s salary schedule. However, the only action the Berryville School Board will take on the positions or salaries, he said, is adding them to the salary schedule. Any action on the positions or their salaries must be made by the Connect 4 Board, he said.
The board also established the flow of donated funds for the Connect 4 program. Powell said that Tyson Foods, which was initially going to donate a $1.3 million check to the program for the renovation of the career center, will instead keep those funds in its finance department and cut smaller checks for the renovation as it progresses.
For future funding and donations, the board voted to have funds related to the facility run through the city of Berryville and funds related to operations run through the Berryville School District.
Summers said smaller funds and operational funds will run through the Berryville School District because they require an LEA number. Larger funds for the career center facility will run through the city of Berryville, he said, because it does not have the same restrictions, guidelines, policies and procedures as the school districts do. This will enable the Connect 4 program to more efficiently handle the bidding process for the renovations, he said.
The board later voted to approve an addendum to the Connect 4 memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by the three school boards specifying that the three school districts will also divide the cost of rent, insurance and utilities for the career center three ways.
The board also voted to approve a monthly meeting schedule. The Connect 4 board meetings will take place at noon on the first Wednesday of each month and rotate between the three cities. The hosting city will select a local restaurant for the lunch meeting.
The board also elected officers. Ellis was elected as board president, and Summers and Pruitt were elected as vice president and secretary respectively.
The board’s next regular meeting is schedule for noon Wednesday, Nov. 1 in Berryville.