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School enrollment numbers up at Manila

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Pam Castor, Manila School superintendent, told board members at the September meeting that enrollment numbers are up over last year's enrollment of 995. This year 540 students are enrolled in kindergarten through sixth grade and 482 in junior and senior high for a total of 1022. A new kindergarten class has been added with 18 students in each of the five classrooms.

Castor said if the enrollment increase stays the same through Christmas there should be additional funds.

"If the enrollment is up through Christmas it will help," Castor said. "There is every indication that if enrollment is up, revenue is up. There will be an increase in assessment."

She presented a chart showing the farm revenue at an overall decrease of $9,868.

"A major factor in the budget is the state student funding formula stayed the same," she said. "Revenue is highly dependant on local revenue generated by tax. It will impact the budget. We make projections on how much we will collect based on economics. Tax revenue comes in month by month. We usually have a tax collection rate of 94 to 95 percent. We hope to have a high collection rate this year."

Castor pointed out some expenditures in the budget had rolled over including the air conditioning project and money for a marquee for the district.

She also pointed out depending on the outcome of Lake View case, the district may get additional funds.

"We will know closer to Christmas what kind of additional funds we will have, if any," Castor said.

She pointed out raises for classified and certified personnel are included in the budget.

"If we do receive more funding, we may be able to give a larger amount," Castor said.

The board voted unanimously to accept the 2005-06 budget.

Following the executive session, the board voted to hire Pat Jones, kindergarten teacher.

The board passed several resolutions to do business with companies that Manila School District teachers or staff has an interest in. Any contact exceeding $5,000 will have to be approved by the state. Businesses included Gibson Construction, First National Bank, Mace Auction Co., D&J Hardware, Debbe Scott Photography, and Tifco Industries.

Castor told the board the North Central Association (NCA) would be on the district campus Nov. 3 for a standards review. The state will also be on site this fall reviewing all programs.

President Rob Veach said he had received calls about staph infection and asked Mrs. Castor to update the board.

"We have been getting some calls from parents concerning the staph infection," Castor said. "We have a few isolated cases, which have been treated by doctors, and the school nurse is monitoring those on a daily basis and documenting treatment and follow-up treatment. At this time, there is no indication that staph has been spread from student to student or from exposure here. We are taking all precautions possible. The district has contacted the Arkansas Health Department and gotten a list of actions to take and taken all the steps required. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and do everything we are supposed to do. I don't think what we have now is a reason to panic. I believe in a matter of a week or so the cases will be cleared up. As any infectious disease such as chicken pox or measles, we take it very seriously."

The board also voted 7-0 to allow Castor to pursue an in-lieu of tax agreement with the City of Manila for Southworth. Castor said she would get the paperwork completed and present it to the board. Once it is approved, it will then be sent to Manila City Council for approval.

Board member Veach discussed looking into the possibility of constructing a new junior high/middle school building.

"If the enrollment increase continues and the revenue increase continues, I would love to see us start work on a new building," Veach said.

Castor agreed the junior high is a need. She said the district will be going through a needs' list and prioritizing facility needs as part of its facilities improvement action plan to be submitted to the state.

Other projects discussed included drainage issues and possible addition to the district's lunch room.



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