GF board approves $500 raises

Friday, March 15, 2019

By Kelby Newcomb

Green Forest School District staff will receive a boost in pay next school year.

The Green Forest School Board voted Monday to approve a $500 salary increase to be added to the base for all certified and classified positions with the exception of maintenance/custodial positions, which will be brought up to meet the minimum hourly wage requirements.

Superintendent Matt Summers said he recommended the salary increase so that the district can compete with the ever-increasing job market and other school districts in the area. He said it will cost approximately $245,000 for the district to award the salary increase to its 210 employees. He said the cost includes step increments awarded for years of experience.

“A beginning teacher straight out of college with zero experience on a 190-day contract would make about $34,550,” Summers said, “and the increments go from there.”

The board voted to approve the purchase of two new buses: a large bus from Summit for $88,150 and a small bus from Master’s for $60,500.

Although the bid from Master’s was not the lowest bid on a new small bus, Summers said he recommended the district purchase it because it includes a handicap-accessible lift while the bus in the other bid did not.

“We use small buses a lot for extracurriculars like Quiz Bowl and C4 where only a few students go,” he said. “It saves us a lot on our big buses.”

The board voted to approve the liability insurance renewal coverage with BXS Insurance for $7,822. Summers said the policy term covers Feb. 1, 2019, to Feb. 1, 2020. He said the cost of the policy increased $111 from last year.

He said next year’s insurance policy will cover out-of-state travel for the district’s buses.

“It allows our buses to cross state lines still with tort immunity and tort liability,” Summers said.

The board also voted to renew its agreement with Gabbart Communications for $5,075 for the 2019-20 school year to provide school website services.

Also at the meeting, the board voted to approve the 2018-19 Migrant Education Summer School program, the 2019-20 School Calendar and a resolution saying the district will open no polling sites for the May 21 annual school election since the races are uncontested. The election will be conducted by absentee ballot and early voting only.

Summers also informed the board that the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) had approved the final draft of the Community Service Learning (CSL) plan, which will allow students to receive an academic credit for completing a documented total of 75 of community service.

The board’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday, April 15, in the high school library.

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