Riverside Board accepts resignation, new hire

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

A resignation letter for the retirement of Brenda Wydell was accepted during the May 2 Riverside School Board meeting. The Board gave thanks, sharing their appreciation to Wydell for 27 years of dedication and service with the district.

Courtney Bowlin was hired in replacement of Matt Ziegler as EAST director. Bowlin, coming from another Arkansas school district, has had previous experience with EAST Programs.

The athletic financial statement was viewed and approved. Superintendent Tommy Knight shared the statement is current with one major exception. An additional $3,500 from the recent auction was received earlier in the day. The amount will be included in the total next month. The financial statement will be included in the monthly meeting packets provided the Board in the future.

Superintendent Knight took the opportunity to inform the Board the recent fundraiser, consisting of a dinner and auction, raised an estimated $13,000.

A list of students were approved for School Choice transfers. Eight students moved into the Riverside School District, two transferred out of the district.

A legal transfer requested by Jennifer Wilson for Austin Roach and Dylan Enmon from the Brookland District was denied.

During the Committee Report, a calendar for the current school year was approved by the Board. A faculty vote for the calendar ended with 82 percent approval and 17 percent against. The calendar, should there be no snow, allows for students to finish the school year before Memorial Day.

Results from online standards review have been returned. The results are based on course offerings and certifications among other aspects. All campuses were accredited including West Elementary under a citation. The citation for West is a technicality contingent on Miranda Wheeler who, Knight shared, is well on track for completing the certification plan.

The previous letter grades for the schools were as follows: High School, C; West Elementary, C; East Elementary, D. Following the findings, Superintendent Knight urged the formation of a plan to raise the scores. Current ratings have risen with the high school receiving a B, West Elementary, B, and East Elementary, C.

Superintendent Knight shared encouragement in looking forward to As and Bs by the end of the school year.

"I am proud on the step forward with that," Knight said. "We are getting there."

Jeff Priest, high school principal, shared student news. A group of high school students partnered with Arkansas State University through the Environmentors Program once a month throughout the year. A presentation was made at the high school. Three winners, Kim Wilson, Sam Shryer and Brittany Kellums, won all expense paid trips to Washington, D.C., to give presentations.

A bid was accepted for two sets of used lockers for $100, made by Rabbit Ridge Gin and Warehouse.

The Board heard an East Elementary construction update from Mark Cahoon of Cahoon Steiling Architecture. A tentative punch list was created a few weeks prior, during a walk-through. Some minor cosmetic issues for paint and floor touch-ups were found, along with a light fixture defect to be corrected over the summer break. The Board took a tour of the new building after the meeting. Cahoon stated that more can be added to the list as everyone has an opportunity to see the new building.

Superintendent Knight shared furniture installation was scheduled for Monday, May 9. Following the installation, the rest of the work will be completed as soon as possible. Students will begin the transfer and finish the year in the new elementary. Plans are underway for a ribbon cutting ceremony.

"I thank you for being a part of this and I will continue to work with you on anything that comes up," Cahoon said.

Riverside High School graduation is scheduled for 8 p.m. Friday, May 13.

The next School Board meeting is scheduled in Lake City at 6 p.m. Monday, June 6.

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