Riverside board works through full agenda

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Riverside School Board passed a resolution authorizing the issue of bonds for construction of the new East Elementary during its meeting Thursday, July 17.

Michael McBryde, with Stephens Incorporated, presented the board with a resolution and paperwork for the bond issue. The bond issue is for $2.070 million with a maturity date of 2038. The district will pay the same amount every year and on Aug. 1, 2019 will have the option of paying off or restructuring. McBryde also presented the board with a proceed sheet that shows the flow of the funds. The board unanimously accepted the resolution authorizing the issue of bonds as written.

Superintendent Tommy Knight then told the board the district only had one milk bid, which was from Turner. Board members unanimously accepted Turners' milk bid. Board members also unanimously voted to accept Bimbo Bakery's bread bid as well as voted to continue to use the same two companies for diesel.

Knight then presented the board with a request for legal transfer to Riverside from EPC, which was accepted unanimously. Also accepted unanimously were five incoming requests to join the Riverside School District from school choice.

Board members went into executive session, and upon returning to open session it accepted the resignation of Steve Brown and Michael Adams as well as approved the transfer of a teacher from West Elementary to East Elementary. Knight explained that the Riverside West Elementary is overstaffed but there was a opening at East the district could fill by transferring a teacher solving both problems.

High School Principal Jeff Priest presented to the board an athletic handbook. Priest explained this would be something new for Riverside High School athletes but would give coaches, parents and students a more detailed outline of what is expected of players, coaches and the chain of command for dealing with any problems. Athletes and their parents will have to sign off on the athletic handbook just like is required with the student handbook. The board tabled the issue to allow time to thoroughly look through book before accepting or declining it. If the handbook is approved at the board's next meeting it will be placed online.

Priest then presented the board with proposed amendments to the 2014-2015 student handbook. He explained that a committee made up of administrators, two teachers, two junior high students and two high school students looked through the handbook to develop the amendments.

"It was interesting to hear the students' feedback," Priest said. "They pointed out a couple of policies we were not strict enough on and had good suggestions for those."

Changes include a 10 day suspension and recommendation of expulsion for the first offense on a bomb threat.

"We want to do this for the first offense instead of the second like it has been because we want students to know that a bomb threat is not a joke," Priest said.

Another big change is how the district handles the school debt. The current policy said any seniors that don't pay their school debt will not get their diploma but Priest said that really doesn't work. Instead the committee recommends seniors that owe student debt not be allowed to participate in the graduation ceremony. If the students pay the debt then they can participate but until then they will not be allowed to.

Board members talked about the piercing policy in the dress code section and carefully looked through each amendment before unanimously approving the changes.

Since there is only one board member up for reelection and he is unopposed, the board voted to hold early and absentee voting only for this year's school election.

In other business the board:

*voted to stay with The Learning Institute of Hot Springs.

*approved the purchase of a 71 passenger Blue Bird bus.

*approved the required resolution stating the board is aware of salary increase of 5 percent or more.

*approved replacing a torch kit for agri.

*accepted a bid from Jason Hutchinson to purchase one of the old torch kits.

*accepted a bid for asphalt work contingent upon the work being finished by Aug. 18.

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