Manila School Board worked through a lengthy agenda during the regular July meeting. Topics included a new bus, installation of a time clock, pay for extra duty, and personnel.
Board members reviewed the financial report.
"I would like to mention that I am pleased with the outcome of our year. There were a lot of extra expenses and we were cut $95,000," Superintendent Charolette Wagner said. "We received $275,000 more than we spent so that's good with that cut. Our balance is $3,000,087.59.
Wagner informed the board that she had sent specifications to the transportation department which is handling bus bids.
"The lowest bid, $65,445, is from Ward Transportation Service. It meets the specifications we requested with a delivery date from 90-100 days," Wagner said.
Board member Jackie Hill asked the status of the buses.
Wagner explained when there are a lot of activities, especially during the spring sports, there can be a problem.
"We could possibility manage one more year but it was tight last year," Wagner said.
She said the budget is going to be tight next year.
"You may want to put this aside for later in the meeting after you see the whole picture," Wagner said.
The board then discussed extra duty salary for teachers. An act passed this year by the Arkansas legislature requires teachers to be compensated for non-instructional time over 60 minutes a week. Non-instructional time includes before school, after school, lunch, recess and other scheduled breaks.
Wagner explained that the junior and senior high should be able to manage the change but the elementary school is a different situation. Teachers have to watch children at recess, lunch, before and after school.
Wagner recommended to meet the provisions of Act 1398-2003 that teachers be paid a supplement of $500 per year for the above specified 60 minutes of non-instructional duty a week as defined in the act.
"If enough teachers do not opt to perform the duty, as an alternative I recommend the school use the money to contract teaches that are interested. In addition I recommend that classified employees be hired as aids if necessary at the regular rate of aid pay. This is not intended to be in place of or addition to the supplement already on the schedule," Wagner said.
The extra duty cost was estimated at $17,500 a year.
Board member Allen Donner said that was a starting point.
"We can offer this and see," he said.
Following a long discussion, the recommendation passed 6-1 with Jackie Hill voting no.
Classified personnel will be going to hourly salary and a time clock will be installed.
Wagner explained that the clock is on campus for a 30-day approval. She recommended the purchase from Time Clock Plus at an estimated cost of $11,354. That includes 12 month technical support, three year, next day replacement on the terminal and three years on the hand screening. Wagner explained that the software is complicated and a technician from the tech center will be needed to help set it up.
The board unanimously approved the purchase of the time clock.
Following an hour executive session, the board approved hiring Mary Ann Minton as secretary and Charles Quinn as a route bus driver. The board also voted 6-0 to reassign Ann Wells from the third grade to the fourth grade.
The board approved a one-year medical leave of absence for Jennifer Jackson for the 2003-2004 school year and approved Stacy Shelton to be a long-term substitute for Jackson.
The board also approved the possible hiring of a classified position if necessary for special education and extra duty. The board also approved the possible hiring of an Arkansas Public School Computer Network secretary if necessary.
The board agreed to let Billy Miles, custodian, live in the former superintendent's house in exchange for checking the school buildings on weekends and after hours and cleaning the gymnasium after ball games.
Mrs. Wagner said as superintendent she felt like she had to look at areas to save money.
"You mentioned last year we do not want to go above our revenue," Wagner said.
She explained that operating a bus has been estimated at $2 a mile and the cost of drivers will be more expensive this year.
She recommended that students be asked to pay a partial amount for trips.
"I did some figuring and most of the time it would cost $1 to $2 per student per trip.
Several of the board members disagreed with this suggestion.
Board member Donner said he could see looking at extended stay trips or even limiting the number of trips, but not at making kids pay.
Board member Johnny McCain asked that the board look for other discretionary expenses before charging students for trips. He asked if trips are the most discretionary expenses of the school.
It was asked about taking one bus to ball games instead of one for the players and one for the cheerleaders.
Wagner said the school does not have that many discretionary expenses and the trips were just a suggestion.
"It is not a problem for me as long as you know that I am looking for ways to cut," Wagner said. "Last year I asked people to copy on both sides of paper to hold down costs. I encouraged them to hold telephone expenses down and to make business calls as short as possible. It (charging for trips) is not something I want either but as superintendent, I have to start looking. We have to and want to pay the extra salaries. Interest rates are down. We can't just keep adding without taking away," Wagner said.
The board accepted the bid from Interstate Brand (Wonder) for bread and Turner for dairy supplies.
They also accepted the bid from Douglas Electric in replacing three air conditioning and heating units.
Wagner suggested that the board consider the model policies a section at a time. The first section will be reviewed at the August meeting.