Manila School Board approves budget
Manila School Board members met in special session Thursday, Sept. 29, to review the 2016-2017 budget and consider resolutions to conduct business.
Newly elected board member Terry Carr was welcomed by board members. Present were President Jeremy Jackson, Tracey Reinhart, Danny Robbins and Johnny McCain. Tommy Wagner and Dean Tucker were absent.
Superintendent Pam Castor presented the budget for review. She explained the budget is different because of the building project underway.
"There is a lot of money in a lot of places," she said. "Some of the expenses such as testing are on the operating side. Because the final calculations on the bidding is not complete on the building project, we estimated on the high side."
Castor said the district should receive final price calculations soon.
"Hopefully, we have them by the October meeting," she said. "We did estimate high. We would rather be safe than sorry. We will know more when we receive the final bid costs and the estimated percentage of completion at the end of the fiscal year."
Castor went on to say they did not want to neglect anything in the budget that might be needed.
Board member McCain asked what the day's attendance was.
Castor said the attendance on Thursday was 1054, down 2.94 from last year at this time.
"Our enrollment has been in and out so far," she said. "We have had on a given day 1070."
Castor said most years attendance goes up.
"We will watch the enrollment numbers," she said.
Carr asked about the number of students the school can accept through Freedom of Choice.
"It changes each year but we can take about 30," Castor said.
The board voted unanimously to accept the budget as presented for the 2016-2017 school year.
Resolutions to conduct business were approved with Castor reading each one, pointing out that all contracts exceeding $5,000 must be approved by the state.
Castor started out declaring her relationship (niece) to Charles Perry, owner of Perry Farms, who rents school land from Rivercrest School District; and she is the wife of Jerry Castor, Manila coach.
Other resolutions to conduct business included TC's Restaurant, owned by Terry Carr; Southern Bancorp, where Danny Robbins serves as president; Walmart, where Jeremy Jackson is employed; and Farmers Market, where Tracey Reinhart is manager. Board members involved in the businesses left the meeting during the discussion and vote.
Other resolutions to conduct business approved included Tucker's Shop and Salvage, owned by board member's father Bobby Tucker, and Wagner Medical Clinic and Level Land LLC, owned by board member Tommy Wagner.
Castor announced a Community Listening Forum to be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 11, at the Cooper Alumni Center in Jonesboro. She said these community meetings will give the public a chance to get information on the ESSA law on accountability issues.
She gave an example of a question, "Our elementary was recognized in the top 10 percent in the state and received a B grade."
Castor said because our scores were high the formula did not show as much growth.
"Schools that may have scored less were given a higher grade than ours," she said. "Those are the type of issues we will be discussing."
She said it is an open meeting and she encouraged board members and all interested patrons to attend.
The forums will provide information abot the ESSA law and encourage participants to share their ideas on how communities can support quality schools.
To register or for more information persons may contact the superintendent's office.