BIC School Board explores Pre-K program

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Buffalo Island Central School board of directors met Monday night, Feb. 13, and made plans to implement a new Pre-K program in the district for the 2006-07 school year, approved renewal of building principal's contracts, and heard from two Riverside school board members on feasibility of combining districts.

BIC Superientendent George Edd Holland entered into a discussion with the board about the feasibility of starting a Pre-K school program.

Dr. Kima Stewart addressed the board concerning the need for a Pre-K program in the district. The board discussed the venture and discussed prospects for housing students, anticipated costs, benefits, etc. In order to begin the process of Pre-K program implementation, the Pre-K student preregistration will be held at the same time as Kindergarten registration. The district's goal is to have a program in place and be operational by August of the 2006-07 school year for both the East and West campuses.

"Early intervention and prevention is key in helping students be prepared to start school, especially non-English speaking children," Stewart said. "There is a head start program in Monette and a migrant head start program in Leachville. There is a private day care in Monette, but currently no private day care in Leachville."

The board discussed facilities for Pre-K students on both campuses or nearby.

"There would be advantages if we could have Pre-K on site, so the students could get used to the feeling of going to school each day with the other students nearby," Stewart said. "I have requested the Creative Curriculum literature and want to review it. First we will have to demonstrate we have enough kids to go into it, which can be done by registering them. Next we have to find faculty to staff it. There a lot of things to work out, but it would make a world of difference in the lives of the children."

The board voted to take whatever steps necessary to establish a Pre-K in both communities.

Contracts of all building principals were renewed for the 2006-07 school year.

Riverside school directors, Kenny Weathers and Mike Brickell, were in attendance at the meeting. Weathers addressed the board concerning the prospects for combining the BIC and Riverside school districts. Weathers presented his beliefs and views on the benefits and advantages of such an arrangement and suggested the BIC board conduct a survey to determine interest.

"By putting our schools together we could pave the road for Arkansas education and could save our taxpayers a lot of money," Weathers said. "We just want to stay open minded and see if we can go anywhere with this. We would keep our elementary schools where they are and consider having a new junior and senior high school, centrally located."

"We are all neighbors, and there is nothing negative about considering going together for a better education," Weathers said. "We could offer the kids more if we had a larger school."

"Would we be a better school than we are now?" BIC board member Nathan Sanders said. "There are many benefits to smaller schools in helping impoverished kids, as well as the one to one relationship with other students. An Iowa survey showed that small districts are a good place for students to learn."

"With the high schools together we would still not be a big school," Weathers said. "We could offer them more choices, more activities, not to mention a variety of sports. I just want us to consider it, and see if there would be benefits to grow together."

The board agreed to review the results of the upcoming Riverside survey before making any further decision.

In other business:

*Six Riverside students transfers were approved and included: Morgan James, 4; Zachary Boone, 10; Aaron Tucker, 11; Jodie Clay, 10; Jacey Sneed, 12; and Sharia Junyor, 10. The transfer of Manila student Blake Carr, 11, to BIC, and BIC student Tiffany Woodall, 16, to Manila was also approved.

*The board voted to proceed with construction of an administration building.

*Rita Scroggins was hired as cook for the West cafeteria.

*A resolution to certify the Dedication of Local resources to meet the district's share of financial participation was approved.

*Byte Speed's low bid of $28,883.75, was accepted for purchasing 25 new computers for the junior high computer lab, on the east campus. Other bids included CDW-G at $30,542.50 and ISCO at $29,708.25.

*The board voted not to allow cheerleaders to cheer at away conference games when four games are scheduled per night.

*The board made plans to clean up ball field concession stand and bathrooms before the season begins.

"We still need a softball field," Dale Wells said.

"We have not heard from the city on their plans for the remaining field," Holland said. "If the field is going to be a softball field, I would be willing for the school to share in construction."

The next regularly scheduled board meeting will be at 7 p.m. March 13, at BIC junior high library.

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