BV board OKs bonds for building project

Friday, February 16, 2018

The Berryville School District will soon issue the second series of bonds for its $24 million construction project.

Dan Lovelady, representing First Security Beardsley, spoke to the Berryville School Board at its Monday meeting about the bids received for the sale of bonds, which will be used to fund the construction project.

Lovelady said the district received four bids, and Raymond James and Associates Inc. was the low bidder with a 3.55 percent interest rate. The second series, which will start accruing interest on March 1, will generate more than $3 million, he said.

“We got a really good bid. Over the life of the issue, this could save your district upwards of $1 million,” Lovelady said. “Sometimes you get lucky.”

The board voted to accept the bid from Raymond James. The bonds will be prepared by Friday, Eldredge and Clark, LLP, in Little Rock.

The board had voted in November to accept a bid of 3.51 percent interest from Raymond James for its first bond series, which will generate about $9.9 million for the construction project.

Also at Monday’s meeting, the board voted to approve a request from the middle school to return to an eight-period school day. The board had voted last year to approve a seven-period school day for the middle and high schools, including 30 minutes of “Bobcat Time” for remediation, intervention, tutoring, mentoring, pep rallies and other student activities.

Middle school principal John McClellan said the seven-period schedule has been difficult for the middle school because each grade level has so many unique academic requirements.

“For seventh grade, there are six requirements, so students have one elective choice,” he said. “For eighth grade, there is one and a half elective choices, so it’s basically one for them as well.”

The only way to have more elective choices for students, he said, would be to get rid of a literacy block.

“We have to keep the two blocks of literacy,” McClellan said. “You’re teaching reading, writing and grammar and trying to boost their abilities for their career paths.”

The other issue, he said, is that several classes are only one or two students away from being at maximum capacity.

“The maximum number of students you have in a sixth-grade classroom is 28, and for a seventh- or eighth-grade classroom the number is 30,” he said. “I have 20 periods of the day that are within one student of being maxed out.”

The board asked high school principal Donnel Armstrong if the high school also needed to go back to an eight-period school day.

“We don’t feel it is necessary at this time,” she said. “Basically, we would go from 47 minutes of class to 45 minutes, where we were at last year. That would give us 10 more minutes of Bobcat Time, and we need that for tutoring, remediation and the other activities that go on during that period. It would be nice to have more time.”

McClellan said the middle and high school had reviewed how the change would affect both their schedules. He said there shouldn’t be any issues with crossover teachers who work in both buildings.

The board voted to authorize facilities, maintenance and transportation director Paul Hines to proceed in requesting bids from food service management companies for the 2018-19 school year.

The board also voted to approve service invoices from Dunk Fire and Security.

Board president David Waller asked Hines what was encompassed in the $2,100 annual fire alarm bill from Dunk Fire and Security.

“That’s the fire inspection,” Hines said. “It’s done twice a year, and they check all of our fire panels and pull stations.”

Boone Hooker, representing the personnel policy committee, presented the board with two calendar options for the 2018-19 school year.

“We recommend the board approve Calendar A, based off of a staff-wide vote,” he said. “The results from the vote were 154 in favor of Calendar A and 35 in favor of Calendar B.”

The board voted to approve Calendar A for the 2018-19 school year.

The board also voted to approve the school choice resolution, ASBA policy manual changes and the purchase of football uniforms for the 2018-19 school year.

For personnel, the board voted to accept the resignations of cafeteria worker Brittany Dorsey effective Feb. 2, 2018, and ESL teacher Tara Browning at the end of her current contract. The board also voted to accept the retirement of intermediate special education teacher Paula Engel at the end of her current contract.

The board voted to approve the hiring of Wendy Rodriguez as a cafeteria worker for the remainder of the 2017-18 school year.

The board also voted to approve renewing the administrators’ contracts for the 2018-19 school year.

The board’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, 19, in the Intermediate Cafetorium.

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