BIC Board talks building discrepancies

Tuesday, May 22, 2018
BIC Superintendent Gaylon Taylor (left) presents retiring school board member John Field with an appreciation plaque for his many years of service.

Differences in construction bidding packets caused concerns for Buffalo Island Central Superintendent Gaylon Taylor and board of directors during the May 17 board meeting.

“We are working through several discrepancies between the new buildings being constructed on the Leachville and Monette campuses,” Taylor said. “I am very frustrated with the differences in the bidding packets concerning what is included and what is not. Video cameras and 14 door locks are included in the construction on the Leachville campus, but not on the Monette campus. Somehow things seem to just get lost when the plans get to Little Rock for finalization. I see this as an architect situation. We are going to end up with quality security items, like cameras and locks, no matter what we have to pay, but there should not be inclusion in one bidding packet and not in the other.”

Taylor expressed his appreciation for Tom Puckett supplying tractor trailer trucks for use in moving furniture and supplies from the old to the new school buildings. Many patrons have become valuable resources during the transition.

Plans are to begin moving desks and furnishings into the new buildings on Monday, May 21. The junior high school will be emptied, using the Leachville gymnasium as a temporary storage center, so the structure can be demolished. Auctions for unneeded supplies and equipment will be held first in Leachville, then Monette. Open houses will be held for both Monette and Leachville campuses, with faculty in attendance.

The Aramark food services school contract was renewed. The meal count was up 23,000 meals for the 2017-2018 school year. Taylor expressed plans for the school to provide all elementary students with free lunches beginning in August.

The board approved the April 19 board minutes, May financial report, 2016-2017 legislative audit report, School Wellness Plan, and the special education budget totaling $178,572.93.

New employee Olivia Wilson was hired to teach high school English, after the resignation of teacher Molly Delp.

The board approved an increase of the stipend for the drama director to $1,000 for each play production, and $800 for choral director. A musical drama is being planned for October at the Melody Theatre, preceded by a dinner at the new BIC Elementary Cafeteria in Leachville.

Monette resident John Steele asked the board if the old elementary building on the Monette campus was going to be torn down after the students were moved to the new buildings. Taylor said an asbestos team would be evaluating the building soon. Should they find it does contain asbestos, the school would have no other choice than to tear it down.

BIC Elementary Assistant Principal Nicole Stewart reported on changes and planned transition of K-6 grade students into the new facility in Leachville in August.

Stewart explained plans for new kindergarten students, which will include meeting will all girl students and teachers on Aug. 20, and all boy students and teachers on Aug. 21 for evaluation and placement in one of three homeroom classes.

There will be a new pre-first grade class along with three regular first grade classes. The pre-first grade class will be smaller and allow students who need a little more time to be ready to finish first grade along with their other classmates. The first half of the 2018-2019 school year will be reviewing what was learned in kindergarten and second half will be new first grade curriculum. Letters have been sent out to the parents explaining the new class option, and conference time will be allowed for reviewing plans with parents.

“This new class is going to benefit all students who need a little more time getting started,” Stewart said. “It is well worth the time and money overall. This is not retention, just an extra chance to catch up. The class is planned to equip the students to enter elementary school with mastery over the skills they need to have continued success.”

Superintendent Taylor requested quarterly reports from the progress of the pre-first class for evaluation and continuance.

Elementary classes will contain two teachers, one certified teacher and one instructional assistant. Teachers will plan together to balance class guidelines concerning homework, student supplies, lesson planning, curriculum being taught, use of name tags, and welcome letters. No interruptions will be allowed during peak learning times 7:45 until lunch. School will be dismissed at 2:55. Two open houses are planned, one for the community and one for the parents of students.

Superintendent Taylor listed plans for a future high school auditorium, with the possibility of using student workers to help with additional school maintenance, and a board request for development of a Master School Facility plan.

A special dinner was provided preceding the board meeting to honor retiring board of director John Fields. Fields has served 16 years as a director and was presented with a plaque of appreciation from Superintendent Taylor. Taylor expressed his sincere appreciation for the many years well served.

The next regularly scheduled board meeting will be 6:30 p.m. Thursday, June 21.

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