Riverside Board bids superintendent farewell

Tuesday, June 14, 2016
Riverside School Board President Greg Douglas thanks Superintendent Tommy Knight for his service to the district. Monday was Mr. Knight's last school board meeting before retirement on July 1.

Riverside School Board members said goodbye to Superintendent Tommy Knight at the monthly meeting June 7. Knight has been preparing to hand the reigns to Jeff Priest who will step into the role of superintendent July 1.

"We've had an outstanding relationship," Knight said. "I've enjoyed working with you. If you ever need anything from me I'll be there for you. I'm sure you'll do great things together for the district."

Following a presentation by Michael McBryde of Stephens Inc., the board approved a resolution to refund outstanding bonds. The district hopes to sell new bonds issued with lower interest to pay off the July 2012 bond with a higher interest rate. In doing so, the district may generate a substantial savings.

As explained by McBryde, the board has three options. The first, to refund the bonds, was suggested as the best option for Riverside School District. The final two, payoff and restructure, were not good options explained McBryde.

Currently the district owes $4,995,000. The estimated total repayment is $6,816,000 with principal and interest. The new interest rates are expected to reduce the overall payment made by the district.

The resolution passed is not binding to act on the refund. The resolution begins the process to file the application with the department of education. Following the filing, two announcements will be published in local newspapers 13 days before the sale and the district will be open to bids. If bids submitted are not to the district's satisfaction the board will be able to turn them down and the only cost to the district will be the cost of publishing.

Should the bonds be refunded there will be no extension of the schedule. The refunding will only adjust the overall payment.

In summary, McBryde stated that in doing so, the district will spend a couple hundred dollars to potentially save a couple hundred thousand.

The special education budget was approved.

Rhonda Gipson stepped down as junior class sponsor. The Board also accepted letters of resignation from Mollie Hill, elementary teacher at West, and Harmony West, high school secretary.

Jeff Priest was appointed ex-officio secretary as of July 1.

Chris Snyder will receive an increase to $14.90 an hour for additional responsibilities as head of transportation and maintenance.

The board approved adding five days to the 2016-17 contract of Tracy Haas.

Faculty teaching concurrent college courses at Riverside will receive an additional $150 per semester hour taught. The increase in payment will be covered by the NSLA fund.

The Board approved the hiring of Kim Emery as high school secretary.

With the expansion of the technology program an additional part time employee position was approved. Matthew Turner, a former Riverside student, was hired to fill the position for $12 an hour, effective in July.

First grade instructor, Amanda Eakins, will transfer from East campus to West campus for the 2016-17 school year.

In the past, five teachers acting as junior class sponsor received $300 each. Priest suggested only two people act as lead sponsor and backup. Payment will adjust to $1,000 to class sponsor and $500 to the backup sponsor. One hundred thousand dollars was returned to the operations fund from the building fund. Earlier in the year money was transferred from the operations fund until a more substantial amount was available in the building fund.

In other business:

*Gary Whitman purchased a stainless steel sink from the old high school for $50.

*Chris Snyder will purchase up to four school buses no longer in use by the district. The Board approved the purchase from Snyder for $100 a piece.

*Superintendent Knight purchased an iPhone 5s and iPad for $100 each.

*Chrome books for fourth, fifth and sixth grades were purchased from I.T. Outlet for a total of $22,780; $12,880 will come from NSLA funds and $9,900 from Title Loan funds.

*Lunch prices will rise from $2.45 to $2.55 for the 2016-17 school year.

*Two fuels bids were accepted from Central Kwik Shop and MFA.

*One bid submitted for milk by Turner Dairy was accepted.

*A bid submitted by Bimbo Bread was accepted.

*Service Master will refinish the high school floors for $19,470, the same price as last year.

*The Board will next meet in Caraway at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 12.

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