Manila school board works through lengthy agenda
Due to the power outage on Thursday, July 18, the Manila School Board held its meeting Monday, July 22. Business included reviewing the financial report, approving bids, adopting policies, viewing drawings of concession/restroom facilities for the football field, discussing new high school facility, filling positions, accepting resignations and approving student transfers.
The meeting was held in the new board room located off the cafeteria.
Superintendent Pam Castor reviewed the finances of the close out of the fiscal year commenting, "All in all it came out close to budget."
Castor said the revenue spent was 97 percent current and the carryover of $239,844.36.
"We have a beginning balance of $3,689,207.78 minus restricting or operating funds," she said.
The expenses were close. Eighty percent of all expenditures are salaries and benefits for personnel. The total expenditures were $7,628,241.10.
"As we go into the new budgeting season I ask you (the board members) to come by and visit with me and share ideas you have," Castor said. "We do not know yet how the federal funds will come in. We should know by the next meeting. All in all we had a productive year. We budget for the worst and hope for the best. This year it came out to the good."
The board unanimously accepted 13 student transfer requests into the district through School Choice.
John Mixon, architect with Cromwell, and Adam Seiter, senior project manager for Nabholz, presented sketches of a proposed stand-alone concession/restroom facility for the football field with a two estimated a three month construction time. John and Adam requested the board approve going forward with the project getting bid packages out.
The board voted 6-0 to go with bids for the proposed project.
Brock Cline, also with Nabholz, presented several diagrams for a new high school facility. Each of the diagrams made up an estimated 120,373 square feet. Mixon said projected enrollment will affect the amount allowed through Partnership funding.
Board members were presented a book with many school designs to look at and compare what would fit Manila.
"We want to know what you want," Mixon said. "We are looking at a two-story building unless you say no. It conserves the square footage under one the roof. It is early in the planning. We have looked at four possible sites
Board members can see what they like or don't like about the different buildings.
The board voted 6-0 approving the hiring of Paula Poag for high school English for the first semester of the school year.
The board approved the hiring of middle school teacher/coach Zachary Lisko.
Castor said Manila District did not have classified salary increases below what is mandated by the state. She said she is working on the high end and increases and should have it ready to present to the board at the August meeting.
The board reviewed policies from the state school board association. Many had no changes; others only slight changes and some were new if the law had changed. Some of the changes included: students will now go back to excused and unexcused absentees; revision of the tobacco products defining the property and adding to the list forbidding of electronic cigarettes; student medication; consent forms for emergency drills; bullying added cyber bullying; electronic device added to the cell phone policy; extra curriculum activities for home schooled students; mandated staff development; doing away with the EOC high stakes test resulting in promotion or retention; background checks for volunteers working in small groups or chaperoning overnight trips; the use of school buildings by the public; dress and grooming code; and more.
Two of the policies, background check and the use of buildings were discussed at length.
The board was in agreement to make the background checks as easy as possible for volunteers. Mrs. Castor pointed out the difference in parent involvement and volunteers.
"Parent involvement is welcome and parents will be here for special events," she said. "The background check is suggested for those who will be working with small groups, one on one tutoring or chaperoning/caring for other people's children on overnight trips," Castor said.
This policy was held for further discussion and study.
Mrs. Castor said the state school board association does not recommend allowing the school buildings to be used by the public because of liability insurance.
The board discussed having groups purchase their own insurance and other options.
Board member Johnny McCain asked assistant superintendent Chris Ferrell his opinion on the use of buildings.
"What I have to do and what I want to do sometimes are two different things," Ferrell said. "We have to protect the school from liability and lawsuits."
Board discussed going along with the state's recommendation of no public use of the buildings.
Board member Tommy Wagner suggested passing the no use policy with Superintendent Castor having the authority to offer a waiver.
Mrs. Castor said she will work on the wording and bring it back to the board.
The board voted to fill the vacant Board position of Tony Crowell, until the election in September, with an appointment of his wife, Tamra Crowell. Mr. Crowell resigned when he accepted a position as dean of students at MHS.
In other business:
*the board accepted milk bids from Turner and bread bids from Flowers Co.
*the board accepted technology bids for computers from Byte Speed for $46,341.94. Twenty-five will be in the middle school with more in different buildings.
*the board accepted bids from Video Reality for $27, 757.98 including screens, front row sounds system, Smart Boards , sound system, cable, and more in all three buildings.
*the board accepted the Dwight Jones Student Insurance Bids at$18,271.22.