Board members tour new high school

Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Manila School Board members and Superintendent Pam Castor take a tour of the new high school at the June board meeting. Pictured with board members are project manager Mark Troillet and assistant Grant Troillet. (Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)

Manila Superintendent Pam Castor led school board members on a tour of the new high school facility under construction at the June 22 meeting.

School officials were met by project manager Mark Troillet and assistant Grant Troillet who answered questions and pointed out what would occupy the spaces. Mark Troillett said the work is on schedule and the completion date should be in June 2018.

The project manager said all of the lower floor is basically a safe area but pointed to the safe room which is a wide hallway leading to the band and choral rooms, which are also safe rooms.

Manila Elementary Principal Jason Evers talks to project manager Mark Troillet during the tour of the new high school under construction.

The auditorium will seat 780 and will feature a sound room, LED lighting and acoustic panels. In addition to classrooms, the building will feature a cafeteria, computer labs, and all purpose physical education gym.

Members gathered back in the board room to work through a lengthy agenda filling a pre-k position, approving several job transfers, reviewing and approving budgets and approving purchases to update technology.

Board members present included President Tracey Reinhart, Vice President Jeremy Jackson, Secretary Danny Robbins, Johnny McCain, Terry Carr and Paul Hicks.

Superintendent Castor recommended the hiring of Jessica Morris as pre-k teacher and Kendra Lesley as high school science teacher for the 2017-2018 school year. The board voted unanimously to approve the hiring of both teachers.

President Reinhart left the meeting as the board voted on job position transfers. Transfers approved include Scottie Reinhart from student services to payroll clerk; Lisa Hitchcock from payroll clerk to human resources; and Susan Hollis from elementary secretary to student services.

Superintendent Castor addressed technology issues for the 2017-2018 school year. Castor said Jason Baltimore, district tech coordinator, has listed the current needs in terms of technology.

“In technology years, our fiber is old,” she said.

She went on to say the current system can't keep up. Castor presented a cost for switches, routers, fibers, and phone system with a total cost of $83,991.85.

President Reinhart asked if the upgrade would bring all of the buildings up to the same capacity as the new high school building. Castor said it would.

The board voted unanimously to approve the new phone system and technology upgrades.

In other business:

*The board approved the stipend list as presented by Superintendent Castor.

*Castor presented copies of proposed policies for the board to review. She asked the board to be ready to entertain any action at next month's meeting.

*Castor presented an overview of health screenings for the board to review.

*The board approved the projected budget for 2018-2019 school year. Ms. Castor said she added a one percent increase. Beardsley and Associates take the information and prepare it.

*The Board approved the special education budget.

*Castor said the photography company that has been taking care of the special events will not be returning next year. She went on to say Tonia Eubanks (yearbook sponsor) has recommended Soul Reflections Photography in Blytheville. Mrs. Castor said this company uses the same format and software needed. The board unanimously agreed on Soul Reflections to take the event pictures for the coming year.

*The board approved the transfer of an elementary student from Riverside to Manila. Castor said the family plans to move to the district.

*In the administrative reports, Castor informed the board changes will be coming in the school board election dates. This year will be the last school election held in September. School boards across Arkansas will decide if they want the elections held during the primary elections or the general elections.

“You may want to be thinking of which dates you prefer,” she said.

The next regular meeting will be 6:30 p.m. Thursday, July 20.

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