BIC School Board hears building reports

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Buffalo Island School Board met on Thursday, Oct. 18, to review federal budget funding, announce new high school building move-in dates, and hire two security officers for the elementary school in Leachville.

Director of Elementary Education Dr. Kima Stewart and High School Principal Randy Rose gave detail reports on federal budget funding and updates on new facilities on the Leachville and Monette campuses.

Dr. Stewart listed estimated federal funding receipts for the 2018-19 school year, which included Title I, Title IIA and Title IV, along with state funding of NSLA and Professional Development. Funding for English Language Learners and Rural Education will be announced at a later date.

Elementary enrollment is listed at 385 K-6 students and 40 preK students.

Stewart reported there was a decline in enrollment this year, but the poverty level went up, with 67 percent level for the district. Conversations with Maryln Looney, Mississippi County EOC leader, detailed potential use of the old portable buildings on the Leachville campus as birth through age 3 facility. A full time aide would be supplied for the dual enrollment students, and provisions for before school, after school and summer school programs.

“We might put these buildings on hold rather than sell them at this point,” Stewart said. “That would be more of a service to the community. We will be finding out about the B-3 program to see if it is feasible for us.”

Two EAST Initiative classes are being held for sixth graders this year, with students being transported to Monette classroom for a Monday/Wednesday class and again for a Tuesday/Thursday class.

“One-on-one technology is provided this year for all K-6 students,” Stewart said. “We are being very progressive and functional on all levels. We are much more productive being all under one roof.”

“We have operated as two campuses for junior and senior high school for 34 years, and now we are all on one campus,” Rose said. “That makes everything better. It is rewarding to see 350 students, ages 12-19, using one sidewalk. Our two security resource officers are with the students during class changes, as well as before and after school.

“Two open science labs are in use, with teachers coordinating double capacity, so everyone has their own space. The students have been very cooperative. We also have a new sound system in the cafeteria and will be hosting a pageant there on Dec. 6.”

Director Todd Edwards aired concerns about keeping up school spirit with pep rallies and special events.

“We need to get the students all fired up,” Edwards said. “Not just all business and all work, all the time, but some pep and excitement.”

“They need time to have fun, but right now it is hard to pull off,” Rose said. “We have special events and often let students in free for ballgames. We hope that opportunities will come easier when we get in the new building.”

“We have school spirit dress up days and hope to revive the Mustang Club for help,” Stewart said. “We want to offer a place for every student to fit. That trickles down to elementary.”

Move in dates for the new junior/senior high building will be Nov. 15 and 16. Furniture delivery will be Nov. 5 and 6.

Mississippi County Sheriff’s office employees Steve Lancaster and Larry Whitehead were hired to work on their days off as Certified School Safety Officers on the Leachville campus, at a rate of $20 per hour.

In other reports and business, Taylor praised work being done by the BIC Drama Department, and the success of their third drama held Oct. 11, 12 and 14. Author Tom Pace, who wrote “The Kid, Mentor and CEO,” will be on the high school campus Nov. 13.

The board adopted a resolution to establish a 457 Deferred Compensation Plan for BIC employees.

The board approved disclosures for employees Patricia Duffel and Melinda Wells, who are one third owners of Monette Feed and Hardware.

A five percent increase of salary was approved for 22 employees, which included Brandon Ballard, Callie Clark, Deanna Clifton, Freddie Clifton, Emily Collins, Curston Davis, Arlene Faulkner, Jimmy Fraser, Cherly Hicks, Lisa Hughes, Leigh Jackson, Brandon Jones, Heather Littlefield, Phillis Moxley, Bryanna Nix, Deborah Olive, Scott Petznick, Dana Poe, John Roundtree, Robert Shirley, Kenneth Stallings and Frank Turner.

The board went into a 15 minute executive session to discuss employment but reconvened without making a decision.

The next regularly scheduled board meeting will be 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15.

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