Manila elementary rewarded for academic achievement
Manila School Board and administrators received good news at the Monday, May 19, meeting following the 2014 graduation, as Superintendent Pam Castor reported the District had been accredited in all schools by the Department of Education. This includes elementary, middle and high school.
Rep. Wes Wagner visited the board bringing more good news and a large check in the amount of $33,863.69.
"This comes from Act 35 money," Rep. Wagner said. "It is a great night for our graduating seniors and a good time to present the Manila District the incentive based money awarded to top performing schools. Manila Elementary was in the top 10 percent of the state on the Benchmark scores last year. On behalf of Senator Burnett, Governor Beebe, and the 89th General Assembly, I want to congratulate Manila's students."
Being a high performing school not only draws recognition and honor but it now results in direct financial incentives to build upon that success.
In the 2013-2014 school year, 206 public schools were recognized as high performing schools through the Arkansas School Recognition and Reward Program. The program recognizes the top 20 percent of schools based on academic achievement, academic growth and graduation rates.
A total of $7 million from the governor's allocation of the General Improvement Fund was designated for the program this school year. The Legislature supported Beebe's recommendation to fund the program with $7 million from the General Revenue in school year 2014-2015.
Schools receiving the recognition funds established a committee made up of the principal, teachers selected by the faculty, and a parent representative to determine the best use of the funds.
Rep. Wagner said he would be glad to come to the school and congratulate the students personally.
The funds are being using to purchase technology for classrooms and other classroom materials.
Rep. Wagner said the legislature will be meeting in special session and one of the topics will be teacher insurance.
"It cannot sustain itself as it is," Rep. Wagner said. "We may not get all we want but I need to know how it will affect the schools in my district."
Manila elementary principal Jason Evers and Board president Dan Robbins, Superintendent Castor and other board members thanked Rep. Wagner.
Superintendent Castor said for the district to meet the mandated lunch prices they would need to increase student lunch from $1.70 to $1.75 which is toward the federal minimum of $2.65 for this year. The board voted unanimously on the increase.
"The adult prices will increase also and we should know by August the exact cost," Castor said.
Castor said they have filed for a grant for a "Grab and Go" breakfast for the coming year. She said the students were polled and they were in favor of the change.
The board reviewed several policies for the 2014-2015 school year. Castor said there are no huge changes in the policies. She said all changes will be tracked and the board will know more about the insurance after the special session.
Following a short executive session, the board voted to accept the resignation of Josh Miller, high school/middle school math teacher, at the end of his contract. They also voted to accept the resignation of Michelle Barks, school nurse, at the end of her contract; and Melissa Cole, secretary.
The board voted unanimously to hire Chasity McCallie as secretary and Tonya Tucker as school nurse.
The board moved the June meeting to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 10.
President Robbins read a thank you note from the track coaches, Jerry Castor and Tim Bassing.
Castor recognized Mary Smith on receiving Family Consumer Sciences Teacher of the Year.
"We had a good graduation," Castor said. "We have good things coming up including a Space Camp trip. It has been a great year for us and the students. We appreciate the board's support."