BV schools see rise in enrollment

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Enrollment is up in the Berryville School District. Superintendent Owen Powell said last week that the district is serving 1,905 students in grades K-12, although he expects that number to change.

“It’s kind of a moving target right now,” Powell said Thursday. “Last year, we finished with 1,835. I expect that number to come down a little after the 10-day drops. When students transfer to another school or switch to home school and we haven’t received those papers, those records requests, after 10 days, they drop off. So that will come down just a little bit.”

Powell also had some other good news to deliver during last week’s meeting of the Berryville school board as he delivered an update on the district’s fund balance transfer, which included adding $1.1 million to the district’s building fund.

Owen Powell

In related business, the board also approved a motion from LeeAnn Ashford to construct an outdoor pavilion.

The agenda item that drew the most conversation, Powell said, was a motion made by board member Travis Gregory to add a mask mandate addendum to the district’s Ready For Learning Plan. The board heard from school nurse Kristy Evans regarding the number of positive tests for COVID-19 among students and staff at the district, numbers that Powell described as fluid, but still relatively high.

“We have 20 positive cases and about 255 people in quarantine right now,” Powell said.

Based on the number of positive tests and concurrent quarantines, the Berryville board voted to re-enact its mask mandate in a 4-1 vote.

Board president Chad Hipps cast the only dissenting vote.

The board made the mandate effective as of Aug. 24, and notified parents via a letter posted to the district’s Facebook page.

“During the August School Board of Education meeting, the board members voted to require students and staff to wear a face covering when social distancing of six feet cannot be maintained,” the letter read, going on to explain that the mandate will be revisited at the September board meeting. “With a mask mandate in place, the number of quarantined students will be reduced. Fewer quarantined students mean more students in the classrooms.”

In other business, the board voted to approve a number of fundraising efforts, including one from Larissa Allen to sell candy bars, one from Christy Skelton to sell student projects, two from Janeyce Sprouse regarding general merchandise in the school store and another — in conjunction with Judy Coleman — regarding the sale of T-shirts, lollipop suckers and smart healthy snacks in addition to a dime toss and a 50/50 competition.

Proposals from Emily Bolton regarding junior booth concessions, the sale of prom tickets, face painting at games and a craft booth at the Carroll County Fair were also approved.

A motion to approve out-of-state trips for gifted and talented students to the Titanic museum in Branson, Dogwood Canyon in Lampe, Mo., and a trip to Nashville was also approved.

Regarding personnel, the board accepted the resignation of Tiffany Parton from the cafeteria staff and approved the hiring of Abbygail Snyder, Jacklyn Morrell, Yuli Lopez, Unique Dunkin and Amanda Cunningham to the cafeteria staff.

Christel Cowan was hired as a substitute bus route driver and Penny Malotte as a substitute nurse.

The board also approved a pair of transfers, moving Arel Ferguson to Health/PE and Ryan Whetham to History.

The board’s next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 20, at the district administration building.

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