Manila school board renews principal contracts

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Manila School board members voted unanimously, with all members present on Tuesday, Feb. 26, to renew principal contracts for the 2013-14 school year. Principals are Robin Baugher, high school; LeAnn Helms, middle school; and Dale Case, elementary.

Board members are Danny Robbins, president; Brandon Veach, vice president; Jeremy Jackson, secretary; Tracey Reinhart, Johnny McCain, Tony Crowell and Tommy Wagner.

Superintendent Pam Castor informed the board that Jeral Hudspeth had submitted his plans to retire at the end of the school year.

The board voted unanimously to hire physical education teacher Loressa Snow as assistant high school softball coach for the 2013 season.

Castor updated the board on a recent round table discussion on safety issues. Board member Reinhart was present representing the fire department; Board member Crowell, also a state trooper, was present; Jackson was on hand representing a community member.

Board member Crowell said it was a productive meeting. The group discussed having the ability to set up a mass treatment facility; collaborating with city officials, fire department, etc. They also discussed taking bids for summer work such as adding cameras, new doors and other ways to make the facilities safer. Also they discussed training awareness on how to respond and train for different emergencies.

Castor said they will continue to work on the safety issues.

The board discussed in length the construction of a new high school. The board was in agreement to move forward with plans for a new high school facility but the pros and cons of building on site or off site were discussed.

Several comments from the community were shared by board members. Board members looked over survey results from the community.

"We need to see what the community wants," Board member Wagner said. "With renovation or a new building, we need to fix the problems we have here. Even if we tear down and build here, we still have the drainage problems."

He went on to say they need to ask the community for a new high school, and enough millage to fix the problems including paving, sidewalks, etc.

"Let's do it all right when we do it," Wagner said.

"We have to do something," Veach said. "A new high school building is a must. We need to fix other problems, also."

"Paving and drainage will be expensive or we would already have taken care of it," Wagner said. "Mrs. Castor has to work within a budget."

Wagner said at some point the board has to make a decision on where to build.

Reinhart said the board has to move forward.

"I've heard people say they don't care if we build here or off campus as long as we offer a good education and a good place for the students," Reinhart said.

Board member Veach showed maps of where there was space to build south of the middle school if the board decided to.

"I can't see spending that much money and hiding the facility," Wagner said.

Board member Reinhart expressed a concern about the estimated extra cost of $200,000 to maintain two campuses.

Mrs. Castor said she is a conservative and when the numbers were down, and the discussion of a new high school was started she did not think it would be possible to build anywhere except on site.

"The enrollment has turned around," she said. "I have given a lot of thought of what is in the best interest of the kids, to remodel or build new.

She said she understands what it means to have it there because of tradition. But again, she said she thought about the students.

"I have come to the decision if we can build off site, let's do it," Castor said. "Our high school kids are kept in a little cocoon. I think they will be more college/career ready if we move off site. It will take a lot of hard work but if everything falls into place and we can find the right location acceptable to the board and the community, it can be done. It is worth exploring. My opinion has evolved over time. It will be up to the voters to decide. They may agree or disagree with me. They are our patrons."

Board member McCain asked the principals how many more students can be adequately educated "right here, right now?"

McCain also said he did not want to limit the teachers.

Wagner made a motion to pursue the construction of a new high school at an off campus site. The motion passed with Jackson, Crowell, McCain, and Wagner voting in favor of a new site and Robbins, Reinhart and Veach voting no to a new location.

In other business:

*The board held a closed expulsion hearing. The board voted unanimously in favor of Castor's recommendation of expulsion of the student for the remainder of the school year and providing for services.

*The board approved the 2013-14 school calendar. The calendar options were presented to the personnel policy committee and voted on by the teachers.

*The board voted to amend the bread bid. Castor said the price increase is still lower than the competitors' original bid.

*Superintendent Castor commended several students for taking honors at the ANC TOPS Challenge, and the ASU Weld-a-thon. Several of them received scholarships. One team won equipment for the school.

*She also commended Mrs. Helms for a good job at the state quiz bowl competition. Ambrette Veach made the All State team.

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