Manila Elementary students send appreciation letters to board members

Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Manila Elementary Principal Jason Evers distributed books filled with letters thanking school board members for their service to the school and the community. (Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)

Manila School Board members were recognized by Elementary Principal Jason Evers at the March 16 meeting. Evers kicked off the meeting by presenting each board member a book filled with letters of appreciation from students. He said students chose a board member to write to and the letters were compiled in books. Also, the elementary staff provided a meal for the board members to enjoy following the meeting. Students created placemats decorated with the student's hand prints.

"These prints are the hands of our future," Evers said. "We all appreciate the service you do for our school."

Superintendent Pam Castor informed the board the third quarter enrollment was down maybe one student from last year's enrollment of 1055. Enrollment at the end of the third quarter is the number used for the next year's funding. She said the good news is enrollment has been increasing since then and is up to 1062 but the district will be funded on the lower number.

Manila Elementary Principal Jason Evers (left) and Board member Tommy Wagner look over letters from elementary students thanking board members for their service.

The board reviewed the 10 year master facility plan. Castor said the board will review it this year and it can be revised next year. The new high school construction is the number one priority on the list.

Castor presented a state bid for additional football bleachers.

For the district to qualify to host a playoff game, it would have to be able to seat 1,300.

Board member Terry Carr commented he thinks if the school is going to have the football program, it needs to give the kids a shot at it.

"In my opinion it would be bad to be able to host a playoff game and have to turn it down," Carr said.

The board reviewed the cost of adding bleachers on the football field at a cost of $197,000 with a wrap (vinyl banners placed on the back of the bleachers) and $149,000 without the wraps.

Board member Tommy Wagner made a motion to purchase the bleachers for $149,000 and exploring the possibility for the banners at a later time. The motion was seconded by Carr and passed unanimously.

The board went into executive session to discuss certified contracts for the 2017-2018 school year.

Following the executive session, the board voted 6-0 to renew certified contracts as presented by Superintendent Castor.

The board accepted the resignation of Assistant Superintendent Chris Ferrell as of June 30, 2017. Board President Tracey Reinhart read a letter from Mr. Ferrell thanking the board and the district for giving him the privilege and honor of returning to his home school in 2013.

Reinhart said Mr. Ferrell has been hired as superintendent at McGehee.

"We appreciate all his service to Manila and we wish him well," Reinhart said.

The board also accepted the resignation of elementary teacher Judy Shelton who plans to retire at the end of the school year.

"She is an excellent educator and we appreciate her time with us," Superintendent Castor said.

The board had no objection to moving the May meeting to 7:30 p.m. Kindergarten graduation will be the same night.

Castor also asked about moving the June meeting to June 22.

Council members also discussed a new motto for the district.

"We have had 'Striving to Achieve' for a long time," Castor said.

Board members agreed it would be good to get the students involved in creating a new motto.

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