Manila School Board members voted at the March meeting held last Thursday to start an extracurricular activity fund for donations and in-kind labor in preparation of starting football and an additional sport for girls.
The vote was taken after a lengthy discussion on the subject with Superintendent Pam Castor making the recommendation to accept the donations with the goal of petitioning AAA to play a varsity schedule in football in the 2010-2012 cycle. The board voted 5-1 with board member Steve Metheny voting no.
Surveys reviewed by the board indicated a lot of interest for football throughout the community. Volleyball and a dance team were suggestions made for girls' extracurricular activities.
Board President Scott Misner said the district could start gathering support and forming a booster club for football.
Board member Rob Veach said he did not want to jump in all at once, spend a lot of money and it not work.
Veach suggested starting with a seventh grade team or seventh and eighth grade team playing a B schedule.
"I hate to start with ninth grade and them not be able to play during their 10th grade year," Veach said. "I hate to just leave them hanging out there."
The school has to have AAA permission to participate.
"Regardless of what we want to do, money is a factor," Veach said. "All of us want more for our students."
Board member Jackie Hill commented a football coach, able to teach other subjects, would need to be hired to help the district in getting a program started on the right track.
Misner asked about getting a junior high B team ready to play this fall.
"I think we have people ready to do it and I think it is time," Misner said.
Castor recommended starting out slow.
"We know we have the adult interest but we need to know if the kids are interested," Castor said. "Let's look at starting a seventh grade team."
Board member Johnny McCain said he felt it would be "dooming" football starting with just seventh grade.
"We could start with the seventh and eighth grades," Veach said. "It is not fair to play the ninth grade one year and then sit out the next."
The board agreed they would have to make sure the participation numbers are there before the details could be worked out.
The board reviewed bids for a sign. The board voted 5-1 (Metheny voting no) to accept the bid from Hinson Display Signs for $15,087. The double-sided, lighted sign will have a single-sided digital read out. The district will have to run an electrical line to the sign and purchase computer equipment needed.
Veach asked Mrs. Castor to ask Entergy about running a line for the school.
The board also held a lengthy discussion on the school-owned house on Lake Street. The board agreed to delay the sale of the house and rent it for $400 per month under the provision renters would be responsible any repair work on the house themselves.
Following an executive session, the board voted unanimously to renew certified contracts on a list submitted by Superintendent Castor.
The board approved a new bell schedule, which includes eight class periods for the 2006-07 year. School will begin at 8:05 a.m. and end at 3:15 p.m.
Castor announced Manila had been one of four schools in the state to be accepted in the Leadership Academy Support Program.
"Mrs. Adams attended a meeting and some schools are paying up to $90,000 for the services we will be getting as a service through the program," Castor said. "It will be positive for the district."
Board member Crowell praised Mrs. Castor for doing the application for the program.
She also announced the district is working funding through Carl Perkins for updating the lab and software for the students.
The Manila School Board meets the third Monday of each month. Castor reminded board members next month's meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m.