Manila School Board renews contract with First Security, Beardsley Public Finance

Tuesday, August 1, 2017
Marshall Hughes, vice president of First Security Beardsley Public Finance, addressed the Manila School Board at the July meeting
Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock

Marshall Hughes, vice-president of First Security, Beardsley Public Finance, addressed the Manila School Board requesting the board's consideration for continuing a three year contract.

“There will be no changes,” Hughes said.

Hughes said they do not get money from the district unless the district has the need to sell bonds.

“I am here to ask you to consider continuing our contract with the district,” he said.

The contract expired in late May.

Board President Tracey Reinhart and member Johnny McCain both agreed they have had a good working relationship with Hughes and voted with all of the members to continue the contract.

Following an executive session, the board voted unanimously to accept the resignations of Chelsey Mealer, pre-kindergarten teacher; Kendra Lesley, high school science teacher; and Sharon Hamilton, high school science teacher.

The board voted unanimously, on the recommendation of Superintendent Pam Castor, to hire Amanda Salley, pre-kindergarten teacher; Pam Fleeman, high school science teacher; Nathan Bell, high school science teacher; Robin Wilson, elementary secretary; Rita Scoggins, full time cafeteria worker; and Samantha Waters, from part-time to full time cafeteria worker.

During the financial review, Castor commented looking back from July, the district ended well considering the amount spent on the high school building project.

“We ended with ending balance of $3,891,285.95,” she said.

The district will receive some additional funding for student growth during the last quarter of the school year.

Castor also informed the board on a change in state regulations allowing districts only a 20 percent carryover. As of now the district's 20 percent is $1,714,110.46.

She said the board can transfer the funds into a building fund for future projects.

“In the next few weeks we will be analyzing and making decisions on future projects good for the district,” Castor said. “We have time to consider projects. I will keep you informed. Right now the money is not in the building fund but there is time to make a decision.”

Castor said the district is in a good place and she is looking forward to writing the new budget.

Board member Paul Wayne Hicks asked if all of the budget has to be spent or can it be transferred.

“Anything over 20 percent has to be transferred into the building fund,” Castor said. “It can be saved for future, long term projects.”

Board member Tommy Wagner asked about the school farmland.

“If they can do that with the cash, can they do the same with the land,” he asked?

Castor said she always thought the land was safe since the land came from federal land grants.

“I think schools and universities would have a lot of opposition to changes in the land regulations,” she said.

The board approved the purchase of 212 Chrome Books with licenses for the elementary and middle school. The total cost is $40,173.90.

The board voted unanimously to take bids for new air conditioning units for the gymnasium. Castor said the units have been repaired several times and a larger unit is needed. She will have the specs written for a formal bid request. Castor said she hopes to get the work done quickly.

The board went through policies and handbooks for the coming year.

Castor said any policies approved will be incorporated in the handbook.

The board approved the handbooks as presented.

Castor talked about new residence requirements. She went on to say military children can stay in the same school if their parents are moved and foster children can attend a school of their choice.

There are also changes in home school students enrolling in public school.

“It is a little more flexible for the students coming from home school to public school,” she said.

Home school students can attend a portion of the day and participate in extra-curricular activities in grades 7-12. Students have to declare 365 days in advance if they plan to participate in extra-curricular activities.

A discussion was held if there is a need for a policy for elementary home school students to participate in extra-curricular activities and it was decided to leave as is. In the past there has not been an issue. All of the board agreed they wanted to do what is best for the children in the school and children in the community.

The board set a date for a working retreat to discuss law changes, board training changes, election dates, and education information about moving the district forward. Board member McCain said he would like to discuss the matrix for the superintendent's salary. Board member Terry Carr would like to discuss test scores and how an involved board can effect students. He also suggested the possibility of setting goals for the students with rewards for those who meet the goals.

Castor informed the board if the school board election is uncontested and there are no changes in millage requested, the board can pass a resolution to not hold an election, which would save the district the expense of holding an election.

The board was in agreement that no election is necessary.

Filing for school board are incumbents Johnny McCain, Position 6; Tracey Reinhart, Position 2; and Monte Middleton, Position 4. Middleton will be filling the position held by Paul Wayne Hicks who was appointed after the resignation of Dean Tucker. Middleton will serve the remainder of Tucker's five year term which ends 2019.

In other business:

*The board voted to continue student insurance with Dwight Jones Co. with a two-year contract.

*The board accepted the milk bid from Prairie Farm/Turner Co.

*The board (with Reinhart leaving the room) accepted the low bid from Farmers Market for bread.

*Castor informed the board the new bus would be picked up Wednesday.

*The next regular school board meeting will be Thursday, Aug. 17.

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