Green Forest School Board: Stipend increase receives board’s approval
By Kelby Newcomb
The Green Forest School Board voted Monday, April 15, to approve the 2019-20 Stipend Adjustments, including a 5 percent increase across the board.
Superintendent Matt Summers said the personnel and policy committees (PPC) found that the stipend schedule had not been updated for many years.
“We added a 5 percent increase across the board and added some additional stipends as well, for shooting sports and divided cross-country into head boys’ coach and head girls’ coach,” he said. “It was a nice little step up for the stipends.”
The board also discussed a proposed student drug-testing policy. Summers said the issue was brought to the board because the Connect 4 Board of Directors wanted to drug-test students in the program since it is designed to operate like a job.
Summers said the Green Forest School District does not currently perform random drug-testing of its students, so the board is reviewing the proposed policy for approval.
“There has been no action on that as yet,” he said. “We’re just discussing it. The board wanted me to visit with coaches, sponsors and other people. We will discuss it again in May. For any policy, we do a first, second and third reading to give people time to comment. We’ve started the process, but we’re not there yet.”
He said the third and final reading will be at the June board meeting.
“That is when it would be implemented in the handbook as well if it’s approved,” Summers said.
He said the board also discussed a 36-month lease for a rental building for the district’s two ABC preschool classes.
“Due to our growth, we hired a new kindergarten teacher at Christmas and an additional first-grade teacher at this meeting,” Summers said. “We’re running out of classroom space, so we are pursuing looking at a portable building coming in and having our two ABC preschool classes meet in that portable building.”
He said he will bring his findings and any contractual agreements to the board at the May meeting.
The board approved a $30,000 expenditure for summer reading supplies. Summers said the district is looking at using Title funds to send books home with students over the summer in order to combat the summer learning slough.
“Each book would be grade- and age-appropriate, and students could keep them over summer time,” he said. “We’re very excited to do that and be able to send those books home on the last day of school.”
Summers said the board discussed the proposed purchase of a two-city lot tract with a home on it. He said the board ultimately declined to purchase it.
The board voted to approve using Cloud storage to preserve information in case of a disaster.
“Everything we do electronically from grades to eSchool finance will be part of our disaster plan,” he said. “If we do get wiped out by a tornado, then everything will be stored on the cloud.”
The board voted to approve a resolution for a bus payoff, which states that the district has paid off a special needs bus purchased earlier this year ahead of schedule by using growth monies.
Summers said the board also voted to approve the legislative audit, which had no findings for the district.
Also at the meeting, the board voted to approve the 2019 Middle School Young Writers’ Camp, the 2019 High School Summer Program, the 2019 ACT Prep Program, 2019-20 Professional Development and the ASBA Model Policy Agreement.
In personnel moves, the board voted to accept the retirements of special education paraprofessionals Mary Badley and Linda Gordon and high school secretary Brenda Bell. The board voted to accept the resignations of high school counselor Jonie Standlee, middle school teacher Carl Steigman, middle school teacher and coach Bradley James and intermediate special education teacher Zoe Banks.
The board voted to create two new positions: an additional special education teacher and an additional elementary teacher.
The board voted to hire Steve Scroggins as high school drama and speech teacher, Alexxandrea Carter as elementary teacher, Emily McDonald as elementary teacher and Rachel Evans as special education paraprofessional.
The board’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday, May 20, in the high school library.