Girl's softball coach Mark Hurst addressed the Buffalo Island Central School Board concerning the need for a girl's softball field to be provided by the district at the council meeting Monday, April 10, in the school superintendent's office. Hurst currently uses a field provided by the City of Monette.
"We need our own place to play," Hurst said. "We need to get dirt brought in and the field established, for next year."
After discussion the board reported there was not 185 feet of playing space on the whole Monette campus, except on the BIC West elementary site.
"Would you consider having the field on the East campus?" Superintendent George Edd Holland asked. "We have space on that campus."
"If the park was in Monette, then I can devote more time into its upkeep," Hurst said. "I would prefer to have it here."
"The girls need a field," director Dale Wells said. "We have some real talent here."
"High school softball belongs on the high school campus," board member Gordon Miller said. "The senior high students are already here."
Board discussed feasibility of having a city girls' softball field and a request to turn the baseball field around to face the adjoining fields. Directors expressed concern over sun being in fielders' eyes if the field changed directions.
"The city has been nothing but good to our team," Hurst said. "They gave us a place to play and a place to practice. We have to move pitching mound, which is the only conflict. Those fields will be grass infields next year, as they make improvements to their facility.
"Unfortunately, every improvement for them is bad for a girls' softball field," he said. "We are not to have a grass field."
"The only other spot would be to have the field on the southeast corner of the campus," Holland said. "If I am not mistaken, the original deed calls for us to give the city access to the water tower. We could put the access road in another place. We need to physically measure it, to make sure we would have enough space."
"That would provide excellent parking also," Wells said.
"We don't want to give up any ground in the elementary direction and avoid the playground spot," Holland said.
"Is that access road ours?" Wells asked. "We would have to provide access. What if the city does not want that. Can they, by imminent domain, keep the road there where it is?"
"If we can give them access and move the road, then we should do it," board member Terry Edwards said.
"Yes, if it can be worked out, we should do it," Wells said.
"I just need to know something," Hurst said. "We are open to all suggestions. For me to start work on the field, the sooner we know where it is going to be, the better."
"One way or another, one place or another, we need the girls field," Miller said.
Hurst was instructed to begin gathering bids for the various phases of the project and to provide those to the superintendent prior to the May board meeting. Holland agreed to check into deed and access information, for field location. Holland also agreed to talk to Bob McMillon about getting a grant for a ballpark.
BIC Elementary Education Director, Kima Stewart, provided the board with an update concerning the prospects for a successful Pre-K grant application. Currently no funds are to be allocated for new programs but that may change.
"Two Pre-K programs are not reapplying," Stewart said. "We are going to apply for two facilities, anyway, one in Leachville and one in Monette. We are a high priority district. We may get funding in Leachville and not Monette, but we will take whatever we can get. We will continue to try for both facilities.
"We are looking at a full house of kindergarten kids next year," Stewart said. "We had 32 four year olds register, 18 in Leachville and 14 in Monette. Pre-K has a priority factor, and there is a lot of interest. This will be a wait-and-see proposition.
Stewart expressed concern for: elementary student transport on shuttles and questions of balance, tardiness percentage being higher than ever and the need for in-house punishment, and bringing up benchmark test scores.
"We have striven to create balance," Stewart said. "I applaud Mrs. Cato's input. She is the perfect person for the job."
"We are looking at some staff changes," she said. "We may need to a full-time nurse to our staff, due to the growing needs for one."
Holland praised praised technology co-ordinator Jake Ingels.
"Jake has done a wonderful job," Holland said. "He is the best we have ever had. We are thankful for the Adams Foundation for donating the money for us to hire him."
Other board action included:
*Approval of maternity leave requests for Tracey Yates and Melinda Wells.
*Approval of Freedom of Choice transfers for Blake Turner, 9, and Taylor Turner, 11, from Riverside to BIC.
*Participation in the Teacher Opportunity Program (TOP) as provided for in Act 2196 of 2005.
*Approval of the Employer Pickup Reduction Resolution as provided by the Arkansas Teacher Retirement System.
*Deletion of antiquated machines from the BIC inventory list.
*Moved to offer Stan Fowler the girls' basketball coaching position for the 2006-2007 school year.
*Moved to offer the position of half time West Elementary librarian and half time literacy co-ordinator to Cindy Crawford.
*Confirmed 2006-07 school calendar, which included: Aug. 21, 2006, first day of student attendance; Thanksgiving, Nov. 22-23; spring break March 19-23; and Christmas break Dec. 21-Jan. 2 (which is subject to change).
The board went into executive session to discuss employment and reconvened to hire personnel to staff summer school. These included BIC East Elementary staffers, kindergarten, Terrie Selby; first grade, Faith Rolland; third grade, Patricia McFarlin; fourth-fifth grades, Debbie King; and migrant tutor, Janie Ibanex. West Elementary employees included first grade, Regina Welch; second grade, Terri Cobb, third grade, Lynda Taylor; fourth grade, Karen McClelland; and migrant tutor, Phillis Moxley.
The next regularly scheduled council meeting will be at 7 p.m. May 8 on the BIC Junior High campus.