Manila PPC members meet with school board

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Town Crier News Staff

Several Manila teachers attended the February school board meeting to discuss issues of concern with members of the school board.

Paula Poag, chairman of the Personnel Policy Committee (PPC), served as spokesman thanking the board members for meeting with the group.

"The PPC hopes to encourage a positive relationship between the board and the faculty," Poag said. "We are glad to be here. We have a good relationship, but we want to have a great working relationship with you. We are all here for the kids. Like in sports, a winning team has to work together."

Poag told the board a survey, asking teachers topics they would like to see addressed, was taken earlier in the year. Teachers from pre-kindergarten through high school participated.

"After tabulating the results of the teacher survey and after discussion with Mrs. Castor (superintendent), the PPC amended some of the issues and worked on others," Poag said.

Poag gave each board member a list of the top five issues of concern as submitted by teachers.

The number one issue concerning teachers was allowing "in-house" certified employees to be considered to fill open positions.

"An example is if a second grade teacher wants to move to a fourth grade spot and is certified and qualified, when the slot comes open, she/he should get first consideration," Poag said. "We know it is not always possible or feasible because of shortages in certain areas. It was the number one concern of the teachers surveyed and we hope when possible you will look at the people who work here first."

Poag said number 5A, the need for additional copy machines, has already been addressed.

"A lack of copy machines may seem like a small problem to you gentlemen, but it is a major problem we face every day," Poag said. "When the teachers voted on that and we presented it to Mrs. Castor, I'm very pleased to report just yesterday we got two new copy machines in junior high. So there is progress being made already."

Other issues of concern included two summer in-service days be "protected" for working in classrooms; two increments for experience could possibly be added to salary schedule, as funding becomes available; pay date change, beginning with the 2007-08 school year with checks being issued the Friday before weekend or day before holiday.

"Our goal is to work with you," Poag said. "We know your job is not easy. We want the communications open."

Board President Tony Crowell thanked the teachers for their hard work.

"We will take this into consideration," Crowell said.

Other board members expressed their appreciation to the teachers.

Following a short executive meeting, Castor recommended hiring Tracey Bohannan as kindergarten paraprofessional for the remainder of the school year and renewing contracts for principals, Pam Chipman, Diane Wagner and Diane Baugher.

The board voted unanimously in favor of each recommendation.

The board voted to give a $500 stipend to the football cheerleading sponsor. Castor explained the football cheerleading stipend was not included in the other stipends approved earlier in the school year.

The board approved a change in the school calendar adding the two snow days taken at the end of the school year. The existing holidays will remain the same unless more days have to be missed.

The board approved a student transfer request. Castor explained the family has always lived in the Riverside District and has moved into the Manila District but want to continue to go to Riverside.

Castor announced the public meeting at Etowah had been rescheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday at the fire station.

A training date for the administration through the Arkansas Leadership Academy was set for Tuesday, March 6.

Superintendent Castor announced a bid opening for the construction of the new junior high building will be held on March 13 and be presented at the March Board meeting.

The next meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. March 15. The time will change to 7:30 p.m. at the April meeting.

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