Manila School Board adopt model policies

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Manila School Board adopted model policies, discussed school facilities and approved a student transfer at the December meeting held Dec. 19.

Board members approved the minutes and reviewed the financial report before discussing Model Policy sections 3 and 8 of the Arkansas School Board Association.

Superintendent Pam Castor said Section 3 and 8 were not approved at last month's meeting because Manila's personnel policy committee had to review it and make a recommendation.

Section 3 of the policy pertains to reduction in force and had two options. Castor explained the difference in the two options is years in the District or total years of teaching. Castor said the vote of the teachers was 49 for Option B (total years) and 33 for Option A (total years in Manila District).

"It is important to have a policy in place," Castor said. "Regardless of the method if a reduction-of-force ever became necessary there would be hard decisions to make. You hope the day never comes."

Board member Rob Veach said, "You would like to reward those who worked in the District longer but you don't want to take away from those that have been teaching longer either."

The board unanimously approved the model policies with option B.

The board accepted Castor's recommendation to accept a student transfer request of Kayla Pullen, fifth grade student, from Buffalo Island Central.

Castor said the district had a second transfer petition from a ninth grade student who has been home-schooled for a couple of years. She explained some of the classes the student would need are at maximum.

"After the semester we may have the opportunity to switch around and space might be available," Castor said.

No action was taken.

Following a short executive session, board members voted unanimously to hire Cathy Rountree as part-time cafeteria worker.

"We are working on the 10-year facilities plan and it has to be turned into the state by Feb. 1," Castor said. "The plan is divided into two parts with years 1-3 submitted first. Next year we will detail years 4-10."

She asked board members to look at the list and prioritize the items.

"Add anything you think needs to be on the list," Castor said.

Board member Johnny McCain asked if any land adjacent to the school property would be available.

"We don't want to build on top of each other," McCain said. "We need to spread out and create a better traffic flow."

Castor said she would inquire about adjacent land, but the facilities plan will be based on land the district has.

"The state is coming out with a partnership plan that will start July 1," Castor said. "There is $50 million appropriated for the partnership plan and we are in spilt where we would pay about 33 percent and they will pay the remaining portion. Under the partnership we would submit our priority needs, which can be for construction of a new building, to the state, and they will notify us by May of our ability to have a matching amount of money for the project."

Castor said she is also looking into other funding options as well.

The board voted to hold a public meeting from 5:45-6:30 p.m. Jan. 19, prior to the regular scheduled board meeting to hear comments regarding the Facilities Building Plan.

Castor talked briefly about the Supreme Court's ruling that state legislature did not adequately fund schools this year.

"We know there is going to be some kind of action taken by December 2006, but we don't know what implications it will have on the Manila School District," Castor said. "Time will tell."

School Board President Scott Misner reported the exploratory committee members are Junior Wise, Dan Robbins, Monk Willyerd, Fred Fleeman and Rachel Gifford. The committee will be looking into sports activities the community and students are interested in adding to the Manila athletic program. Misner said the committee may be ready to report to the board in February.

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