BIC Board hears updates
Principal Nicole Stewart presented the Buffalo Island Central School Board with an update on East Elementary activity and enrollment at the Monday, Nov. 9, meeting. Stewart shared a slide show along with video of students in the newly merged fifth and sixth grade East Elementary.
This year the elementary combined for all third and fourth grade students to be on the west campus in Monette and all fifth and sixth grade students are on the east campus in Leachville.
In the video students answered questions at the beginning of the year about what they expected going into the new structuring. Two months into the year, students were recorded answering further questions about how they feel about the changes they have seen and what they hope to see in the future. Stewart shared that the students have adjusted well and shared a positive message.
"The school year has probably been the smoothest year I've had in the last three or four years," Stewart said. "I couldn't have asked for a better year."
Stewart also expressed appreciation to the Board for their involvement stating she wanted to let them know how much they are appreciated.
"You sit here at this table and you have some hard decisions to make," she said.
Stewart and Jae Glass, teacher, recently attended the 2015 Arkansas Curriculum Conference in Little Rock.
Stewart gave details of the award ceremony at which Glass was honored as a recipient of the Arkansas Early English Arts Educator of the Year. The Board viewed a video of Glass receiving her plaque and giving a speech inspired by the book What Do You Do with an Idea by Kobi Yamada.
The Board took the opportunity to congratulate Glass and thank her for all of her work and involvement in the school. As part of her award, Glass will also travel to Minneapolis to attend the National Conference for English Language Arts Teachers.
Stewart informed the Board of grants received by teachers Rosemary Clester and Mandy McFall. The Board recognized Jill Sanders and EAST students for the Veterans Day Assembly.
John Mixon, architect, presented the Board with options and possibilities concerning cost effective construction for the junior and senior high school and elementary school buildings. Mixon shared new ideas brought about by the recent change in the millage request from .009 to .007.
The Board and Mixon considered a few locations for placement on the Monette campus, possibilities involving the consideration of existing structures and fire safety. The Board also discussed the placement and use of space for the new elementary building on the Leachville campus. A motion was passed for Mixon to explore cost savings to construct buildings for the district.
Superintendent Gaylon Taylor informed the Board that two representatives from Elbow-2-Elbow Educational Consultant Firm recently visited with faculty and staff concerning literacy, administration and math. Taylor suggested that the Board approve a contract for the 2015-16 year to use services offered by Elbow-2-Elbow for a total of 20 days at $1,400 per day. Services would involve two Elbow-2-Elbow employees working with k-6 literacy and math, as well as 7-12 math.
A contract with David Freeze for unemployment compensation was also approved.
Taylor handed out a fact sheet detailing information on the three millage proposals in order to address any confusion found in previous public commentary concerning the current debt $2,815,000 owed from two existing bonds to be paid off in 2026-27. The Board discussed and clarified that the previous two millage proposals did not include refinancing of any bonds; just extending existing millage that would expire in 2026-27 to the years 2044 and 2045.
In the third millage proposal, to be voted on Jan. 12, 2016, Buffalo Island Central School District will be asking for a .007 millage increase to build a new K-6 elementary school in Leachville and a new 7-12 junior and senior high school in Monette; $11,420,000 would be generated by adding .007 mills, refunding existing bonds and extending .008 mills through 2046; $8,845,000 would be made available for the building project. A difference in monies generated from millage proposals has to do with increased assessment and refinancing the existing bond amount of $2,235,000 from the Aug. 1, 2010 bond issue.
Taylor invited anyone interested to attend an early discussion and address financial questions before the public meeting scheduled Dec. 1 at 6:30 p.m. at the Mustang Athletic Complex. Marshal Hughes, of First Security Beardsley, will be available 30 minutes early to discuss any questions in hopes of clearing any confusion concerning millage.