Manila School Board officers elected
Rob Veach was elected Manila School Board president at the regular October meeting held on Thursday. Other officers elected include Jackie Hill, vice president, and Scott Misner, secretary.
Veach welcomed new board member Tony Crowell.
"If there is anything we can do to help you, just let us know," Veach said.
The board discussed the locations of surveillance cameras currently on campus, asking Superintendent Pam Castor and principals if there is a need for more cameras.
"Do we need more in elementary?" board member Hill asked. "I'd rather lose all of the computers than one child in the elementary."
Castor said it is just getting started in the elementary and there will be a need to expand.
Elementary Principal Diane Baugher said having the camera at the front door is great and allows them to see everyone coming through. She said they would eventually like to have one at every exit.
Four student transfers, Carey Keith, Brandon Hicks, Cayla Pullen and Shaunda Textor, from Buffalo Island Central were approved unanimously.
Board member Johnny McCain was elected to serve as ASBA delegate.
Superintendent Castor informed the board that teachers' aides will be able to take the paraprofessional assessment exam on campus. The school will have the results of the computerized tests the same day.
Castor also said the district is waiting on the reports from the facility assessment study that should be in by December. She explained that the state is reviewing all school facilities and projected enrollment to ensure that everything including electric, gas and buildings, are adequate.
Board member Crowell asked about the possibility of starting an after-school tutoring program.
"This was mentioned several times at last week's special meeting," Crowell said.
Castor said there has been an interest shown in an after-school tutoring program and a grant application had been made.
Connie Adams, staff member, said she had written a grant and hand-delivered it to Little Rock on Thursday. If approved, the grant would fund after-school tutoring three days a week for about 10 weeks. The grant would also provide Palm Pilots, full-size keyboards and software that would help target areas of weakness such as open-response math questions. She said the district should know about the grant, one way or the other, by Nov. 12.
President Veach said he was pleased with the community's input at last week's special meeting.
"I was glad to hear that education is the number one priority in the community. I know the interest for more activities is out there. We need to have parental and community involvement in our school," Veach said.
"We have a great group of parents, but we can always use more," Castor said.
The board members agreed they need to start looking at costs of the various activities mentioned.
"Hopefully once we get the facility assessment report, we will know more what we can do," Veach said.
Hill (also Manila's Police Chief) said he was pleased to see some of the young people that he sees on the street attending the special meeting.
"I'm not saying it is all football, but we need more activities for the students for an incentive to keep them in school," Hill said.
Board member McCain said he gets tired of telling people why "we can't, when other people can."
Veach discussed the possibility of forming an extracurricular activity committee to work with the board to gather more information.
Veach also pointed out that pre-kindergarten may be a new requirement coming out of the legislature.
Superintendent Castor pointed out that pre-kindergarten would mean facility space and transportation.
"Right now, we have no place to put additional classes," she said.
New board member Crowell asked several questions regarding the budget, how the money is distributed, how the special education fits into the financials, the testing process, and the end of course testing, and who determines the student's selection of common core or smart core.
Castor said she would get the class selections to him. She also said he was welcome to come by the office and bookkeeper Diane Sparks can explain the breakdowns on revenue.
Board members voted to change the meeting time to 6:30 p.m. The board meets the third Thursday of each month in the administration board room.