Green Forest board creates new bus route to NorthArk
By Samantha Jones
The Green Forest School Board voted Monday, Aug. 19, to establish a new bus route for students traveling to North Arkansas College in Harrison.
Superintendent Matt Summers said the district had been sharing a route with the Berryville School District, but Berryville doesn’t have any students going to NorthArk this year. Green Forest has approximately 31 students taking college classes at NorthArk, Summers said. He said these classes include welding, auto body, mechanics, nursing and more.
“Many of those kids are in their second year,” Summers said. “We’ll also stop by and pick up the Alpena kids on our way through. I anticipate them having nine or 12 students.”
After agreeing to create the new bus route, the board voted to hire Shannon Pearson as the NAC bus driver for the 2019-20 school year.
In other business, the board voted to combine two part-time cafeteria and custodial positions into one. Summers said the idea came from cafeteria director Shelly Fultz and maintenance and custodial director James Smith.
“We could never keep those part-time positions filled because of income restrictions,” Summers said. “It was four hours in the cafeteria and three hours at a custodial position. Combining those would make them eligible for retirement and benefits.”
Though the position has been created, Summers said, it hasn’t been filled yet. He praised Fultz and Smith for thinking outside of the box to find a person for both positions.
“It’s not my idea. It was theirs, but it was a good one,” Summers said, “so I stole it and ran with it. We need to give them props, because that’s who thought of that. That’s how we continue to be above the cutting edge on things. We’re continually looking for ways to get better.”
Also at the meeting, the board agreed to purchase two sets of classroom laptops and two Chrome charging carts with licensing for two classes in the high school for approximately $19,000. The board renewed its curriculum for the career-based instruction classes, Summers said, which are special education classes. The curriculum is called Teach Town, Summers said, and it cost $15,000.
“The great thing about it is it allows the kids to work at their pace and skill level,” Summers said. “It’s very differentiated for each child, knowing what each child needs from their individualized education plan.”
He added: “It’s one-on-one and user-friendly. We have used that curriculum for several years and our teachers have grown to really appreciate that. We’re very pleased to continue it.”
The board approved several personnel items, accepting the resignations of food service employee Tracy Miles and custodians Charlotte Jobe, Francisca Lopez, Angela Williams and Daniel Gonzalez. The board agreed to increase Edith Tipton to a six-hour position from a three-hour position for the 2019-20 school year.
The board’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 16, in the high school library.