Manila Board extends superintendent contracts

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Business conducted at the Manila School board meeting held Wednesday, Jan. 15, included renewing superintendent contracts, approving make-up snow days, recognizing the elementary for academic performance and discussing facilities.

Following an executive session the board voted unanimously (7-0) to renew assistant superintendent Chris Ferrell's contract for the 2014-2015 school year. The board voted 6-1 to extend Superintendent Pam Castor's contract for the 2015-2016 school year. Board member Tommy Wagner cast the no vote. Board members voting yes were Danny Robbins, Brandon Veach, Jeremy Jackson, Tracey Reinhart, Johnny McCain and Anita Cole.

The board unanimously accepted the resignation of bus driver Larry "Whiz" Davis. They approved naming Mathew Collie as long-term substitute driver.

Following the approval of the minutes from the last meeting and the review of the financial reports, the board voted to accept the transfer of high school student Mollie Beth Couch from the Riverside District. She has been attending Buffalo Island Central in Monette.

The board approved the revisions of the calendar proposals making up the snow days missed. The district missed three days due to inclement weather. Castor said the personal policy committee (PPC) has recommended moving the personal development days set for Jan. 20 and Feb. 17, and March 21 to the end of the school year and using those days to makeup the missed days. The board voted to accept the PPC's recommendation.

The board then voted to send several calendar proposals for the 2014-2015 school year to PPC for review and recommendation.

The Board considered a land exchange proposal made by South Mississippi County School District. Some school land is shared by different districts and the South Mississippi School had requested exchanging 180 acres (Manila's part) of 16139, off Victoria Road, for some of the other shared acreage. Mrs. Castor said they want to make long time contracts allowing for improvements and irrigation.

Board member Wagner said the board might consider the district would be gaining 80 acres. Wagner asked if Manila District is holding up improvements. South Mississippi County has the controlling vote.

Board member Veach made a motion to decline the offer at this time. The motion passed 6-0 with Board member Wagner abstaining.

In the administrative report, Castor congratulated Principal Jason Evers and the elementary school for being recognized for academic excellence from the state. She said a select number of schools get recognized. Manila Elementary will receive $33,153.59 as a monetary award for achievement.

"The vote for a millage increase did not prevail," Castor said. "In the future we will need to talk about our options."

The increase can't go back on the ballot until one year from the last vote.

Castor said the District had a visit earlier in the day from a representative with the Arkansas Division of Academic Facilities and Transportation Department.

"He looked primarily at Tipton Hall and the library," Castor said. "We know there are things he did not like."

"We actually could be placed on a facility distress list next week if they decide our buildings are not adequate?" Wagner asked.

Castor said she thinks it would be a process.

The district will be notified of what issues need to be addressed if the buildings do not meet the state facility requirements. The school would given a timeline to complete the renovations.

"This may not be the last visit," Castor said. "We know he was not happy. This may be the first round of visits. I expect to hear within two weeks. I should have more information before the next board meeting."

The board meets at 6 p.m. every third Thursday of the month.

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