Manila School Board explores turf and track field

Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Manila School Board members thanked Superintendent Pam Castor for 39 years of service to the Manila School District. It was Castor's last regular board meeting as she will be leaving at the end of the month. She will serve as director of the Crowley Ridge Educational Co-op. Board members are, from left: newly elected board member Casey Wells, Monte Middleton, President Jeremy Jackson, Dan Robbins, Johnny McCain, Tracey Reinhart and Tommy Wagner.

Manila School Board members welcomed newly elected member Casey Wells to the regular meeting on Tuesday, June 12.

Board members heard presentations from two companies on the construction of turf and track field around the football field. Companies included ATG Sports and Athletic Surfaces Plus (ASP) Consultants.

Each representative presented a slide show of work done by their respective companies and talked about synthetic turf for the football field and the track project.

ASP representative told ways to raise funds, overall cost, and management of the project.

The future plan to add a track around the football field is in Manila's master plan and the board is exploring options.

Following an executive session to discuss personnel, the board voted unanimously on Superintendent Pam Castor's recommendation on several hires and transfers.

New hires and transfers include Sarah Moore, 11th and 12th grade English; Corie Hill, pre-K teacher; Crystal May, clerical work in high school cafeteria; Sherry Mason, elementary principal; extended Nathan Bell's contract (high school teacher) for the 2018-2019 school year; Jessica Morris transfer to middle school; Jennifer Harrison, elementary teacher; transfer Casey Wilder and Glenda Carter from the cafeteria to custodian positions; approved Mark Manchester as golf coach; and approved other coaching duties for assistant football coach Jake Hill.

The board also approved a 215 day contract for the elementary/middle school assistant principal.

All board members, Wells, Dan Robbins, Tommy Wagner, Johnny McCain, Monte Middleton, Tracey Reinhart and Jeremy Jackson, were present.

McCain asked about looking into options for the finish on the gymnasium floor. He said the present floor finish will get slick with more physical education classes using it. Castor said it would be good to consider it on a year when there is not a building project. McCain said it is not the finisher's fault, it is the use. The board discussed a water versus oil base finish.

Wells asked if the district had considered purchasing equipment to do maintenance on a regular basis.

Castor said they had considered purchasing a scrubber. No action was taken at this time.

The board reviewed several policies with changes from the state school board association. Most were approved with two, one on therapy animals and another with two versions to review, being held until the July meeting.

Castor said she had discussed the changes in the absentee policy from the State Board of Education. She went on to say the district's present policy allows students more absent days than the state. Absentees will now be used as an indicator for the school's grading system.

Jason Evers, elementary principal and incoming superintendent, said the elementary attendance could make the difference in the school receiving a C instead of a B grade.

No action was taken and the board will discuss it further at the July meeting.

Castor asked the board for their opinion on Mayor Wayne Wagner's proposal at last month's meeting to give the city the old gymnasium and allowing them to lease it back to the school. She explained the building is scheduled for demolition soon and if the board takes no action, it will be torn down.

Board member McCain made a motion to accept the offer from the city to take possession of the old gym giving them time to look into the feasibility of keeping it.

McCain expressed his concern for elementary basketball teams that might need the extra court.

The board had a lengthy discussion on the subject of the cost to the district, the safety issue, state approval, having to reroute parking and traffic from the plan, reduction in partnership money for demolition and other concerns and possibilities.

President Jackson said good points were brought up and the board would have to consider what the fire marshal and construction people say. The building would have to be up to specs.

“I don't think there is a person at this table who would not like to save it if we could,” Jackson said.

Middleton said he is not sure if he has enough information to make an educated decision.

Board member Wagner commented once it is down, it is gone. The motion is to give the city time to look into the feasibility of keeping it.

Wells commented he did not hear the proposal last month but the board will have to know what will be on the school property.

Wagner seconded McCain's motion to give a 90 day stay on demolition of the old gymnasium.

McCain said he felt like the board was making it harder than it needed to be. He said other surrounding schools had done the same thing.

The board voted 7-0 on a 90 day stay.

President Jackson finished the meeting thanking Mrs. Castor for 39 years of service to the Manila school District.

It was Castor's final regular board meeting as she will be leaving at the end of the month. She accepted a position as director of Crowleys Ridge Educational Co-op.

“I want to say how much we all appreciate what you have done for the district,” Jackson said.

Castor said she appreciates the opportunity to have worked with the board and the district.

“This is a great, great place and you all are the reason it will continue to be great,” she said. “From time to time we have disagreed but you have been a great board to work with. Each one of you brings something to this table. You are all Lions at heart and you do not take the charge lightly. It has been my pleasure to be here. I can't think of anywhere else I would rather have been for the last 39 years.”

In other business:

*The board approved the purchase of 12 Smart TVs for classrooms at the new high school at a total cost of $79,557.73.

*The board approved the 2018-2019 stipend/classified salary lists as presented by Mrs. Castor.

*Castor presented handbooks for the board members to review to make any changes and approve at the July meeting.

*Castor also discussed a state change on how high school students will make grade level according to credits. She said it will not affect most students and the high school will work to get all students up to date with the changes.

*The board voted unanimously to give the maintenance building (the former Head Start building) to the city of Manila to be moved.

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