Manila school receives donations for field work

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Town Crier News Staff

Manila School Board members worked through a short agenda Monday evening, Nov. 12, at the regular November meeting.

Superintendent Pam Castor was pleased to announce bleachers for the football field are scheduled to arrive the day after Thanksgiving.

"I am happy to announce Zachary Construction is donating the concrete and Mike Denton will do the finishing work and Barton Lumber of Manila has donated the materials for the forms," Castor said. "We appreciate the donations to the school."

School board member Jackie Hill said volunteers will be needed to construct the forms for the concrete work.

Castor updated the board on the progress of the new junior high building and invited the board members to stop by.

Board members approved a number of resolutions to conduct business with area companies/businesses with relatives who work for the district but do not have a financial interest in the businesses.

The board unanimously passed resolutions to conduct business with Pro Hardware of Manila, Sonic Drive-In, Spain Concrete Finishing, Allen Donner Farms and Charles Perry Farms. The board voted to conduct business with Farmers Market in Manila without Board member Tracey Reinhart (manager of Farmers Market) voting.

Castor said the South Mississippi County School District had approached the Manila District about trading or selling a portion of the farm land the two districts share.

"It isn't separated into our and theirs," Castor said. "It is a combined ownership and we have 28 percent of it."

She said the land south of Kochitzki Ditch is mostly non-tillable and they want to trade 16.8 acres of the section for land closer to their school. Castor recommended Manila district to retain its portion on the north side of the ditch.

"It will not change or cost our district anything," she said.

Several board members said they were not in favor of selling the land and accepted Castor's recommendation.

Castor announced the district had received notification of a settlement in a class-action judgment from Microsoft. Manila joined the suit earlier this year with no expectations of getting a settlement. Castor said the district received an $84,969 settlement in terms of vouchers to be used for Microsoft hardware and software.

"We are continuing to monitor the health issues with so many districts having problems with staph infections and flu," Castor said. "The district has increased the use of disinfectants and is taking other precautions to help prevent anything from happening.

"We are continuing to monitor our enrollment. It has been unstable. We started the year with 1,046 students and it is now 1,028. We will talk about salary increases in the spring when enrollment is stable and we see how we will end the year."

In other business:

*The board approved the transfer of Travis McCallie from Buffalo Island Central to the Manila School District.

*Reviewed the finances noting the school has spent $591,000 on the new construction and have been reimbursed with $322,000.

*Board members heard from junior high principal Diane Wagner on science grants received through the efforts of teachers Garry Jolliff and Steven Milligan. She said the teachers attended two weeks of training and applied for grants for hands-on units to be used in the science departments.

*High school principal reported on two AP grants for $1,000 each. She also said the district had received an $800 economic grant for the Operation 2011 program. All students in the ninth grade and teachers will receive planners through the funding.

"So far Operation 2011 has not cost the district anything," Chipman said. "It has all been funded through donations and grants."

*Castor congratulated Board President Johnny McCain for receiving Master Board Member certification. He has completed 50 hours of professional training.

*Castor said the district will be resubmitting to the state its elementary school project for facility partnership. The district will continue to work on the 10-year facilities master plan.

"We will be pulling information together and submitting it to the state for approval by February of 2008," Castor said. "We will need board approval for that."

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