Farmers Market presents BIC Board with $1,249.44 check
Buffalo Island Central School Board opened its monthly meeting Feb. 20 with two presentations concerning program and grants receipts.
Monette Farmers Market Manager Buford Hufford and Assistant Manager Connie Walker presented the BIC School District a check for $1,249.44 as part of the Partners in Education program, which helps foster relationships between businesses and schools. BIC students and staff members partnered with Farmers Market to collect sales slips from the store for dividends. Farmers Market paid 1 percent of the total transaction receipts back to the school. High School Principal Randy Rose and Junior High Principal Mark Hurst received the check on behalf of the school.
Sherry Petznik, BIC East Elementary teacher, reported on the Donor’s Choice program grant received in January.
“We are interested in creating lifelong learners,” Petznik said. “The acquisition of books through this program has encouraged students to read a wide variety of novels and publications of interest to them. Students found it hard to wait on us to unbox the books, so they could start reading.”
Principals Rose and Hurst gave updates on 7-12 grade school concerns.
“We have been busy getting things in order and looking to the future,” Hurst said. “Randy Rose and I have spent a lot of time looking through the curriculum, setting schedules and reviewing improvements in the current semester test policy. Many students have never had to take a comprehensive final, because they have had good attendance and good grades. We are looking into possibilities to expose college bound kids to comprehensive testing, as we feel they need this experience. Some can benefit, some not. Any recommendation we develop will be sent to the Personnel Policy Committee for consideration.”
“This could be a good idea, with options to allow test score to count if it improves their grade,” Jason Stewart said.
“This is a work in progress,” Rose said. “We spoke to faculty about the comprehensive testing idea, and they can see the merit in it. We always have our students' best interest at heart.”
Rose and Hurst reported spending countless hours working through class scheduling for the 2018-2019 school year.
“This is not an easy one,” Rose said. “Providing foreign languages has always a problem but can be solved by using the Virtual Arkansas class provided by the University of Arkansas. We have considered an eight-period day schedule, as well as a seven-period day with 30-minute lunch period. We will be working around two lunch periods, which causes a situation to make any schedule work.”
The principals discussed the feasibility of lowering the credits necessary for graduation from 24 to the state minimum of 22, to still provide structure and flexibility.
“The way we ran our school for the past 122 years is over, as we have to find new ways to be flexible,” said Superintendent Gaylon Taylor. “We have to use incentives for our students to stay in school.”
“We intend to maintain integrity of what we have and still be flexible,” Hurst said. “We won’t water-down anything but must meet the needs of our students.”
Principals cited students working, taking college classes, and other obligations as some of the needs for changes in curriculum and more flexible scheduling.
Directors approved the monthly financial report and adopted the proposed budget of expenditures with tax levy for the fiscal year July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020.
The board toured construction on the Leachville and Monette sites preceding the meeting and reviewed progress during the meeting.
“We have had to deal with wind, freeze and rain,” Taylor said. “We have also had to make corrections, but we are still managing to make progress through it all.”
Old business consisted of the board's desire to raise salaries by $500 for next year, if possible.
New business consisted of redoing the gymnasium (MAC) before the new school is completed. Estimates to take the flooring down to the wood and overlay with a new design were estimated at $21,000, with a few additional costs for finishing. The board approved the resurfacing project.
“This will be a good idea, as we are hosting the junior and senior high district tournaments next year,” Stewart said.
Superintendent Taylor brought up the ever-concerning issues of campus safety, and issues from the recent Florida school shooting tragedy.
“The administration is always looking at safety measures,” Taylor said. “We are discussing hiring two resource officers, one for each campus. Hiring local policeman or county officers to be on campus during their off days is one possibility. Its time has come.”
“I feel that schools should have the authority to carry guns,” Todd Edwards said. “We’ve got to take the lead on this.”
“We are looking to Representative Dan Sullivan and Senator David Wallace to work with the state legislators for the administration to carry guns in the halls if necessary,” Taylor said. Soldiers don’t go to war without weapons. We want to be able to save lives if necessary. We need state help on this. We need someone armed at school every day, in case an emergency arrives.”
“We need to make this protection happen,” Scott Colbert said. “We have to do something. We shouldn’t wait.”
In other business, the board voted to amend the salary schedule, and approved Johnny Boatman as a class facilitator/deaf interpreter.
The board adjourned at 8 p.m., but stayed an additional 20 minutes, as an afterthought, to discuss the estimated enrollment unbalance for pre-K on Leachville and Monette campuses for the next school year. Proposed pre-K enrollment in Leachville is 22, with Monette pre-K estimates at 7. This will involve teacher and staff considerations, and possible site changes. Considerations and decisions by the board will be made during future board meetings.