Manila School Board accepts resignations and fills positions

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Manila School Board accepted several resignations and filled several positions in preparation for the upcoming school year at the meeting held July 30.

Johnny McCain, Manila School Board member, discusses his recent trip to the Regional School Board meeting.

Following an executive session, Superintendent Pam Castor recommended accepting the resignations of Cindy Smith, elementary teacher; Tracey Routon, middle school secretary; Tracey Milligan, softball coach position; Pat Tyler, cafeteria worker; Pat Lloyd, cafeteria worker; and Jan Copeland, bus driver.

Board members voted unanimously to accept the resignations.

Members present included Jeremy Jackson, president; Brandon Veach, vice president; Danny Robbins, Johnny McCain and Tommy Wagner. Not present were Dean Tucker and Tracey Reinhart, secretary.

Board members voted unanimously to hire Kelly Belew, elementary teacher; Susie Parker, middle school secretary; Casy Wilder, full time cafeteria worker; Craig Wheeler, route bus driver; Chris Ferrell, route bus driver; Danny Helms, bus driver, and LeAnn Helms, route driver.

Castor and the board reviewed policy revisions and additions.

Policies discussed included the high school check out policy. Students over 18 living at home, as the younger students, must have parental consent to check out. Emancipated students or those 18 and over living alone will have to show proof and then they can be responsible for checking themselves out.

The Board decided to leave the no weapons on campus policy, including in vehicles, as is.

Castor also said taser guns would be added to the no weapons list.

The board also discussed the policy allowing board members to participate remotely three times a year. The recommended policy said board members can participate by remote in public meeting but cannot be connected or participate in discussions held in executive sessions.

Some of the other policies accepted included immunization requirements; adding computer courses required; and panic button alert system (which will be installed by the state).

Castor informed the board of an AAA ruling allowing volunteer coaches in junior and senior high school for sports excluding basketball, football, track and field. Volunteers must be at least 22 years old and go through a training process. They cannot be on the board of directors or the spouse of a board member.

In other business:

McCain addressed the board about his recent trip to the Regional Board meeting.

"It was very informative," he said. "We were asked how much time we focus on student achievement." He said a high percentage of the high achieving schools have staff members present to the board new, innovative ways they are teaching.

Attendants saw demonstrations on how cell phones are being utilized in AP Spanish classes and used for testing. Twitter pages are being used in the class and the students are interactively working with the teacher.

"As board members we need to focus on student achievement," McCain said.

McCain said while he had the floor he wanted to talk about the high school building project.

"We are looking at building the new building and we are paving the way 40 to 50 years down the road together," he said. "Sometimes we have been together and sometimes we have been at odds. I would like to have Mrs. Castor quickly check to see if there is a possibility to purchase land on the north or the south of the campus. I have fought this out with myself. We have decided to build the new building on campus and we have seen the drawings and it will work, but I think a little more room on campus could be an asset. If we can purchase south or north of us, in the long run I think it will be best for student achievement. I will support what the majority of the board wants. We all want what is best for our students and our staff for the short term and the long term. I am open to all ideas."

Several board members expressed no objection to Mrs. Castor pursuing the suggestion of acquiring land to expand the campus.

Board member Wagner said he had spoken with Johnny Key with the Department of Education and he questioned on tearing down two facilities, the elementary gymnasium and the bus shed, with no matching funds to build back.

"If we raise the millage to build on campus, will we have to later raise money to replace those facilities," Wagner asked. "Going forward we need to tell the community where it will come from."

Superintendent Castor said physical education space is included in the construction project. The district would have to add bleachers and that would be some cost to the district. Other options on campus for the bus shed would be the agri shop that will be vacated.

"It may be we can convert and not have to build from scratch," Castor said.

"The perception is we will ask for one millage and then ask for another," Wagner said.

*The board accepted the student insurance bid from Dwight Jones.

*Milk bids from Turner/Prairie Farm was accepted; and bread bid from Flowers Bread was accepted.

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