Extra cash: GF board approves $1,250 bonus for staff

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Green Forest School Board voted at its Monday meeting to award a $1,250 bonus to all contracted employees.

Superintendent Matt Summers said this will include employees in the Migrant Program. Under no circumstances, he said, shall any employee who is employed under two separate contracts receive more than $1,250.

This bonus will be paid in one installment in a check disseminated before the Thanksgiving holiday, Summers said, and will cost the district approximately $233,351.

The board voted to approve a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) and Facebook Techstart Partnership, which is designed to give students access to high quality computer science and virtual reality education in order to generate interest in computer science careers.

Last year, Summers said, the partnership donated Virtual Reality (VR) classroom kits, including computers, cameras and the Oculus Rift equipment, to

approximately 250 selected schools. This year, Green Forest High and Middle schools will receive additional equipment, including an Oculus Touch controller and 30 cardboard VR viewers, at no extra charge, he said.

Summers said he had perused the new MOU and his one concern was that in the section on representation and responsibilities of the district it would require the district to provide directory information for its students, including address, phone number and email address.

Dr. Lisa Carlon, federal programs coordinator and director of instruction, said the partnership does not feel as if they will ever ask for the information unless it is for a promotion or event that is optional for the district.

“I can’t guarantee this, but that’s what they’ve expressed during meetings,” she said.

“Other than that, I’m fine with everything else I saw,” Summers said. “It’s directory information, so I don’t think we can give out personal emails or cell phone numbers. We could only give them the school email accounts assigned to the students, so we’re still monitoring everything we send.”

The board also voted to replace the district’s server with an Avigilon Server for $37,694.10 from Fleming Network & Security. Since the company is a Tips/Taps vendor, the item did not have to be put out to bid.

Summers said the district’s server, which is required to operate security cameras, has failed. He said no warranty or other options were available except replacement. The server replacement, he said, will also ensure more options and additional cameras as needed with the growth of the school district. The funds for the new server would be taken out of the building fund, he said.

“That server was over 10 years old,” Summers said. “It does allow us to upgrade and add at least eight additional sites, which is very much needed in the cafeteria and some other areas.”

At some point, he said the district will be looking to update the cameras as well.

The board also discussed new legislation which requires school districts’ elections to coincide with either the general election in November or the primary election in May. Summers said he and the other Carroll County superintendents feel it would be best to hold the school elections in the spring.

“The reason is to avoid those general election years,” he said. “The three school districts would divide everything by thirds, so it’s a cost savings for us.”

Board president Bud Phillips said he agreed it would be better for the district to avoid general elections and presidential elections.

Summers said no action was required at this time, but the board would need to select a date at its November meeting.

Also at the meeting, the board elected new officers. Bud Phillips was elected president, and Jerry King was elected vice president. Kenny Bonham was elected secretary. The board also appointed King as the Arkansas School Board Association delegate.

The board’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 13, in the high school library.

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