June 8, 2016

June 8, 2016


Superintendent Update

The following is a summary of our recent regular monthly board meeting.   Our next regular meeting will be on July 11.

                 I.            Call to Order
                 II.      Awards – Our Teachers of the Year were recognized.  They are Michelle Morse, Erika Easley, and Sabrina Thacker.  Our Classified Employee of the Year is Elaine Ealy.
            III.      Consensual Items of the minutes and the financial report were approved.
           IV.            Business Items
a.    The following expenses over $5,000 were approved:
Summit Truck Group for bus parts and labor, $6,228.63; Tiger Direct for laptops at MS, $11,949.04;  Arch Ford Education Co Operative for services, $69,229.28;  Conway Career Center for tuition, $17, 875.00; Arkansas Department of Education for Medicaid State Match, $9,011.45; Methodist Family Health for Therapy Day Treatment, $7,345.00.
b.   The following Student Transfers were approved:
Transfers Out: Levi Morgan age 6.
Transfers In: Kylee Ritchey age 8, Layton Ritchey age 6, Levi Ritchey age 5 and Noah Shields age 16.
c.    Election Budget
The election budget that is to be published in the local paper was approved.  This is part of the school board election process.
d.   Food Service Bids – Food, Bread
The bread bid was awarded to Harris Breads. The food bid was awarded to Ben E Keith. These bids were for our food service program.
e.    School Resource Officer
After discussion on the importance of safety to our students and the costs involved, the Board did approve to work with the City Council to get a School Resource Officer.  The next step is to take this request to the City Council meeting on June 28.   The plan is for the cost of the SRO to be shared between the city and the school district.
f.     Custodian Pay Schedule/240 day contracts
To be competitive in the employment market the Board approved a new salary schedule for custodians starting at $9.50 an hour.  It is hoped this increase will help keep our excellent staff and assist in filling our current vacancy in the elementary school with a competitive salary.  
g.    Student Handbook Updates
Mrs Koch has worked hard to update next year’s student handbook.  The proposed student handbook for next year was approved.
h.    Policy Updates
A few policy updates that were suggested by the Arkansas School Boards Association were approved.

i.      Staff Transfer Policy 3.19M
This staff policy is about teacher transfers.  There is confusion on what this policy means and how it is to be interpreted.  The discussion was about having the policy removed.  The Board did decide to present some changes to this policy for PPC feedback.  The decision would allow for vacancies to be notified to all staff, and remove the transfer request option. The idea being that all vacancies will be made open for anyone to apply.                                             
              V.            Employment Resignations
a. Resignations/Employment
            Kinsey Baker- Elementary Art Teacher
            Kim Lee- Pre K Teacher
            Katy Hoover- Choir Teacher
            Paige Hewitt- MS Aide
            Bethany Phillip- Elem Teacher
            Mary McCoy-Custodian
            Misty Sillavan- Elem Teacher
            Marty Krutz- HS Business Teacher
            Haley Storms- MS Teacher
            Cliffton Bran – Food Service
            Barbara Williamson- Food Service
            Leann Hammett- classroom teacher (Elem. Sp. Ed)
            Elizabeth Tapley- classroom teacher (Elem. music)
            Stacy James – classroom teacher (HS Sp. Ed)
            Anna Bell – classroom teacher (Elem. Art)
            Shannon Southern – classroom teacher (Pre-K teacher)
            Kristen Johnson- classroom teacher (Elem. Sp. Ed.)
            Lesley Forsberg- Bookkeeper 

Adjournment and the meeting took about 90 minutes. 
Have a great day.

John Gray

May 11, 2016

May 11, 2016

Last Monday was our regular monthly Board Meeting.  This meeting was preceded by a student discipline hearing that commenced at 5:30.

The meeting summary is as follows:

                I.            Call to Order shortly after 6:00
             II.            Educational Items
        a. Awards
Gladys McNinch – recognition of years of service in food service, she is retiring
Alice Thomas – recognition of years of service in food service, she is retiring
          III.            Consensual Items were approved
            a. Minutes of last Meeting
              b. Financial Report
          IV.            Business Items
a.    Inventory Deletions
Each year we send out a list of items that are worn out or no longer useable.  The list was approved by the Board.
b.   Special Education Budget
This was the Title VI budget.  It is required by the State earlier this year.  It was approved by the Board.  There were no significant changes represented in the budget.
c.    Community Disaster Loan
After the tornado the school district applied for a FEMA Community Disaster Loan.  This was approved by FEMA for over $2,000,000.00 and works like an overdraft.  The interest rate is 1.67%.  The Board decided to draw $300,000 on this loan as there is a chance that the loan maybe forgiven if the school district can show loss due to the tornado.  The idea was to try for this loan as the benefits are great if the loan is forgiven.   The loan will be used to pay staff salary payouts for the end of the school year.                                                     
             V.            Employment Resignations
a. Resignations/Employment
The following resignations were approved 
                         Gladys McNinch – Food Service
                        Alice Thomas – Food Service
                        Rondi Moix – Bookkeeper
                        Jennifer Dunn - Teacher
Employment of the following were approved
                        Hannah Scarbrough - Vocal Music/Choir Teacher
                        Jace Gadberry - English Teacher
                        Kathy Lehman - Special Education Teacher
                        Kari Barnett - Elementary Media Specialist

b. Food Service Staffing Plan
This plan was presented to ensure the Board were agreeable with the staffing plan for the lunch room program for next year. The plan moved some staffing positions but overall there was no increase in staffing hours for the food service program next year.    
c. Superintendent Evaluation
This topic was deferred to the Board Workshop.


Have a great day.

John Gray

April 5, 2016

April 4, 2016

Last night was our regular monthly meeting and it lasted nearly two hours.  The following is a summary of the meeting:

The meeting opened with the presentation of awards.  This started with recognizing our winning 6th grade basketball team.  They were undefeated this season.   High School awards recognized Alyssa Edwards- All-State Bowling; Candis Burdess- placed 3rd in the Central Regional Art Show; Callie Malone, Erin Bradley, Ivy Shelby and Alex Stark - maintained 4.0 throughout high school and Sarah Henderson- creation of maker space and use of Donors Choose.

We had two visitors representatives from the Leadership Academy presented an award to recognize Mrs Candie Watts on achieving Master School Principal.

The consensual items of the minutes and financial report were approved.   A presentation/training was provided by Mr Gray on school funding.
Business items started with a discussion on school colors and their use on school sporting uniforms.   Trade marking of a school logo was discussed and some suggestions were made on the direction we should go on getting a logo trademarked.  Some discussion was held on creating a letter “M” that can be used by the District.

On April 14 the School District in conjunction with the Arch Ford CoOp ALE program will be asking the State Board for a waiver.  The waiver will be for addition of a new HUB program for our students.  This program will give flexible study hours for some students so they can participate with the JAG Program.  The JAG program allows students to be prepared for the work place and allow them to go to work. 

The following transfers were approved.  Mr Jeff Cox to High School Assistant Principal effective July 1 and Mrs.  Pam Pipkins to Middle School Media Specialist for next year.

The new Elementary Assistant Principal will be Neely Claassen subject to licensure and becoming Tess Evaluator certified.

There was a short conversation about the Superintendent evaluation process.  The Board members were asked to bring ideas to the next meeting on items for consideration in developing a Personal Growth Plan.

Have a great day.

John Gray

March 9, 2016

March 9, 2016

Our regular monthly board meeting was held on Monday starting at 5:30.  The following is a summary of the meeting. 

The meeting started with a presentation by Sherry Koonce from the County Clerk’s office.  She was presenting about some proposed legislation that bring more millage taxation money to the school district.   She will keep us informed on the progress of this initiative.

Next, we had awards presented to our 4th grade pee wee basketball program who won their championship.  The pee wee program also presented the school district a check for $1,000 to assist the refinishing of the High School Gym floor.   Mrs Martin presented about Tuesday night’s Science Night at the Middle School.  (This was held last night and was very successful).   Finally, our Middle School Librarian, Kay McNeely is retiring this year and she was recognized for her 38 years of service to the District.  

The consensual items of minutes and finance report were approved.

There was one student transfer into the District, Christopher Griffin. 

Our annual audit findings were presented to the Board.   Overall we did well.  We did receive one finding to do with the completion of required forms that involved our federal lunch room program.  There were several supplemental findings that were presented.  The Board moved to show they had reviewed the audit.

Faulkner County has been working on renewing its Mitigation Plan since the tornado.   The Board reviewed and passed a resolution to adopt the county migration plan. The plan is important to us as it is a requirement for the Safe Room FEMA grant. 

There were many policy updates that were presented and approved by the Board.  Most of these policy updates were clarifications and were provided by the Arkansas School Boards Association.  The policies had been presented to both PPC committees for review.  There are some more policy updates due for review in the near future.  One student policy involving drugs and paraphernalia was approved effective immediately.

The school calendar for next year was approved.

The Board approved the contract with Signal Medial.  Signal Media is the Radio Station, 103.7.  We have been invited to play football on August 29, 2016 at War Memorial Stadium. 

An ethics Resolution was presented to the Board and was approved.  This was from Wandering Pig BBQ and Catering.
Jana Johnson of Greenbrier was approved as a long-term substitute for the Middle School.

Resignations were received and approved from Carrie Monroe, Sarah Keathley, Cindy Fowler and Kay McNeely.

Katy Hoover was transferred to Elementary Music for the next school year. Mr Joe Allbritton was transferred from HS Assistant Principal to HS Social Studies and Coach for the next school year.

The meeting was finalized with a discussion on the Superintendent evaluation process.  

John Gray

February 2, 2016

February 2, 2016

Last night the Board conducted two meetings.  The first was a student discipline special meeting.  The outcome was to expel the student for the remainder of the semester.

The regular meeting followed.   This commenced with the educational items of the meeting.  It was elementary school’s turn and recognition was given to Mrs Rhine and Mrs Hogue for the excellent efforts with STEM education for students.   Several students were also recognized for their excellent work on an interdisciplinary STEM project.

The Board heard a presentation from our school finance advisors on a school bond refunding.   The school has an October 1, 2010 Bond issue for $3,405,000 that was placed up for refinancing.  We received a high number of bids with the lowest being at the interest rate of 1.83776%.  The Board decided to accept this refunding offer with a resolution.  This resulted in a District saving of $165,038.30 in the life of the loan.  The money can be used on educational facilities.

The consensual items were approved.  The Superintendent presented a short educational session on the Building Fund account in the financial report.  The following expenses over $5,000 were approved.  Brock A/C Service for annual maintenance and two gas furnaces for Parent Center and Basketball locker rooms - $5,676.40; PCMI Willsub for substitutes - $9,969.92; Arch Ford Educational Co Operative for services and supplies - $71,093.18; BancorpSouth Insurance for legal liability policy - $7,711.00; Pioneer Foodservice Equipment and Supplies for Oven paid for through grant - $21,500.

One student transfer into the District for Christian Sanson was approved.

A resignation from Middle School teacher and assistant football coach, Mr. Dale Jones was approved effective January 27, 2016.

The last part of the meeting was an executive session to discuss the evaluation and contract of the Superintendent.  On return to the meeting the Superintendent’s contract was extended one year.

Another item of interest may include our makeup day for the snow day on Friday, January 22.  The makeup day according to our school calendar will be May, 27.   Hopefully we will have no more snow days and interruptions to school.  For those of you that are not aware of the procedure for closing school the decisions are normally made by 9:00 p.m. the night before or by 6:00 a.m. in the morning.

Have a great day.

John Gray


January 13, 2016

January 13, 2016


Superintendent Update

The regular monthly board meeting was held last Monday.  It was a short meeting as we were conflicting with the Fall Athletic Banquet.  The meeting lasted just over thirty minutes.
A summary of the meeting is as follows.  The highlight of the meeting was the election of a new board member as Jeff Duncan regrettably resigned due to personal reasons.  I would like to welcome Mr. Benji Post to the Board.  He will fill Jeff’s position until the next election.   This means we will have two positions up for election in September.  

The consensual items of minutes and the financial report were approved.   The expense over $5,000 from Instrument and Supply Inc. for a sewer grinder pump costing $5,777.00 was approved.

The Board adopted a resolution approving our Facilities Master Plan.   Also Elizabeth Tapley was approved as a long-term substitute for elementary music.   The meeting closed around 6:35.

The school administrators meet each Wednesday morning.   Several new initiatives for the district were discussed.   The most exciting would probably be the technology improvements we have coming.  Tomorrow The Department of Information Services will have representatives on the campus to upgrade our internet access.  Last year we increased our internet speed from approximately 15 Meg. to 50 Meg.   Tomorrow our network will be increase to just under 300 Meg.  This is a greatly needed improvement and we are lucky to be one of the first group of schools to be upgraded by the State.  

This internet speed will be followed by a wireless hot spot upgrade.  We will be going from a domestic quality wireless network to a more robust, commercial grade wireless network.  This is due to an Erate grant that was applied for.  

The other exciting technology improvement is the upgrading of our school website and getting a mobile app.   The new website will be mobile friendly and will be introduced at the start of the next school year.  The website address will be http://www.mayflower.school.   This website will allow teachers to create pages for their classes or grades if they choose to. One of the big advantages is that teachers, administrators and staff will be able to work on, build and upgrade the website as they need.

The last technology improvement discussed was the upgrade of our School Reach service.  This will be now done by School Messenger after January 22.   It offers more features and is more user friendly.  I am sure you will see the improvements when it comes on line shortly.

During the administration meeting we discussed several other topics including a very successful State review of our District Cafeteria program.  We received a great report and I am glad our lunch program is running so well.

The final highlight of our meeting was a discussion on the latest updates by the State and The Federal Government on the new accountability laws (ESSA Act).   We also have a continued flow of new curriculum being written and introduced by the State since we are moving away from the PARC curriculum.  

Have a great day.  Our next regular Board meeting is scheduled for February 1.

John Gray