Manila board names new building after Veach

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Manila School Board members unanimously voted at the regular July meeting to name the new building in memory of former school board member Justin Veach. The new elementary building under construction will be named Justin Veach Elementary Building. Veach, 32, died on July 10, 2008, while serving on the Manila School Board.

"Justin was extremely passionate about the school, the building project and our students," Board President Johnny McCain said.

Board member Brandon Veach, appointed to fill the remaining term of his brother, expressed his appreciation.

"Your kind words about Justin honor us when you honor his memory," Brandon said. "We appreciate it and so would he."

Superintendent Pam Castor said he (Justin) brought more to us than anything we could do to honor him.

Following the minutes and financial review, the board reviewed the proposed student handbook and athletic handbook approving both unanimously 7-0.

The athletic handbook had one change in wording giving coaches the discretion on how players will return from games.

"As I understand it, the sign-out sheets will be the same unless a coach decides to have all team members ride back on the bus," Castor said.

Castor said the athletic handbook has to be in the framework with the student handbook and policies.

Castor presented the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) allegation amounts and possible projects. Proposed amounts for the Manila District under the ARRA stimulus program include $150,132-Title 1; $247,564-IDEA (special education); and $530,006 Stabilization funds.

Caster submitted a break down of purchases to be submitted for approval. Principals and teachers worked on the list. Castor explained the Title I money and IDEA money are restricted. Castor said the district will petition for approval for a special education bus.

"It may or may not get approved but it is a need we will pursue," Castor said. "Any purchase from the funding will have to be submitted with an estimated cost and approved," Castor said. "Once it is approved, then we will have to resubmit the purchase with the exact cost and a narrative to receive reimbursement from the ARRA funds."

Items discussed included technology upgrades, a phone system throughout the school, specific software, hiring a consultant firm specializing in helping improve test scores for the subpopulation having problems, supplies, materials, tools, Reading/Math programs, Reading Recovery, and other items.

Castor said also included is the hiring of a paraprofessional for only one year.

"The state is discouraging using the money for additional personnel because the money is only available for two years," Castor said. "The position would only be for one year to help with the transition of our students."

Because of the building project, elementary students will be placed across campus in the former junior high building and other temporary classrooms.

Another suggestion on the list was a Student Resource Officer. Castor pointed out this could be helpful during the transition time due to the traffic.

"There will be a lot of movement on campus during the construction of the new building," Castor said.

Castor also pointed out there may be $300,000 to put in the building project.

"If we put any of the money into the new construction, it will fall under different regulations and the entire project cost would increase," Castor said. "Our construction manager and architect have suggested setting aside the money to purchase equipment for the cafeteria expansion project. If we use it for the equipment, it will not escalate the cost of the building."

Castor again pointed out every item on the list will have to be approved by the State Department and then revised with the exact cost.

Board member Tony Crowell commended the efforts of Mrs. Castor and her staff for the informative list and breakdown.

Board members voted 7-0 to approve the plan as presented.

In other business:

*Voted 5-2 (Crowell and Board member Jackie Hill voting no) to adopt the model policy from the Arkansas School Board Association under the Federal Fair and Accurate Transition Act, to not establish the district as creditors. Castor explained it will mostly affect charges in the cafeteria.

*Following an executive session Board members accepted the resignation of Pat Jolliff and approved Pam Bruce Chipman as acting general business manager.

*The board approved the bread bid from Interstate and the milk bid from Turner Dairy.

*President McCain read a letter from Debbe Scott, former school photographer, thanking the board for allowing her to do business with the district throughout the years.

*Castor announced the school has been awarded a $7,500 grant from Centurytel foundation for technology. Jason Baltimore, technology coordinator for the district, submitted the application.

*President McCain informed the board he had the opportunity to attend the Regional Board meeting recently and it was an awesome meeting.

"Chuck Leveritt, who has worked with us for three years, complimented our board for our interest and dedication to the District," McCain said.

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