Manila School board votes to build on campus

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Manila School board voted to move forward with plans to build a high school on the existing campus at the Thursday, March 19, meeting.

The discussion and vote followed the reading of a resolution passed by the Manila City Council in support of a new high school.

Board President Jeremy Jackson said the focus of the board is for the betterment of students and faculty.

"We have spent countless hours looking and searching for building sites and it is time for us to move forward," Jackson said. "It feels like we have been looking forever. Our jobs as board members is to move forward with what the public wants, and people I have talked to want a new school. After talking to people in the community, I think the building location they want is on the present campus. It is time we talk to the architects to make it happen. No matter where we go we will face challenges. We will work with the architects on the challenges we face and depend on them to give us solutions."

"I'll make the motion to rescind plans to move off campus," Board member Tracey Reinhart said. "I think the land prices have gone enormous and it is time to move on. Let's build it here and get it started."

"We can do that but we have a ton of information saying it won't work," Board member Tommy Wagner said. "I refuse to now say we lied and it will work. I can't say we don't have drainage and sewer problems at the present campus and plenty of room to build. We went through studies and tons of information. I can't support it. I know it is a difficult and tough decision to move the building but, as I've said before, 50 years from now will the people say they are glad we did that. If we get the growth of just 10 percent shown by the University of Arkansas study we are looking at 300 additional students."

He also talked about the problem of housing students for three years on campus while the building is underway.

Board member Dan Robbins seconded the motion of building on site. The vote passed five to one with Wagner casting the no vote and Dean Tucker abstaining. Tucker, the newest school board member, was elected in September.

In other business:

*Superintendent Pam Castor announced the district had received the 2014 audit report with no findings. Board members unanimously approved the 2014 audit.

*The board unanimously passed to renew the liability insurance.

*The board approved the Millenium 3 bid for technology supplies and hardware for the elementary school lab; two computer systems for the elementary lab/library; 29 computers for the middle school lab; computer systems for the high school lab and 80 laptops, three Wi-Fi boxes; and three projectors for the high school lab for a total of $54,69.12. The purchases will be made with Title One funding.

*Student snow days will be made up as follows: April 3, Good Friday; Tuesday, May 26 through Saturday, May 30. Professional Development Days (no students) will be Monday through Friday, June 1-5.

*The board voted to renew certified contracts on the list as presented by Superintendent Castor.

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  • Hopefully this decision will work, but I have my doubts. Had I been on the board, I would have voted with Dr. Wagner on his vote to build on a new land site with plenty of room and new lines for sewer and water, etc. I think some of the board members had already decided that they would not move a new high school to a new site, while others just wanted this to be over with. Had the school board gone about this differently from the outset, it is quite possible that the new facility would already be underway to being built. There was no blanketed campaign to inform the public of all the problems with both locations. There was no persuasive tactics to convince the public that a new site would be more desirable. So now we are stuck and here we will stay, come what may. Let's hope for the best. We are going to need it.

    -- Posted by DNA85 on Thu, Mar 26, 2015, at 6:20 AM
  • Great job Manila School Board on your decision to build on campus. As a taxpayer and a Manila High School graduate I feel we will all be proud of our new school when it's completed.

    -- Posted by dennis veach on Mon, Mar 30, 2015, at 12:19 PM
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