School Board ap­proves salary in­creases

Free flu shots planned

The Times (Northeast Benton County) - - FRONT PAGE - DENISE NE­MEC Spe­cial to The TIMES

The Pea Ridge School Board of Di­rec­tors ap­proved 5 per­cent raises for em­ploy­ees and heard from prin­ci­pals and other school of­fi­cials on top­ics rang­ing from the school-wide learn­ing man­age­ment sys­tem School­ogy to the up­com­ing Ac­tive Shooter train­ing drill set for Oct. 25.

All school em­ploy­ees will re­ceive a 5 per­cent raise as per Act 1120. As­sis­tant su­per­in­ten­dent Keith Martin said some salaries will not re­flect that full amount due to sick and leave time taken and changes in du­ties or po­si­tion, and some salaries in­creased by more than 5 per­cent due to chang­ing from part time to full time, step and longevity mile­stones and ad­di­tional du­ties.

Martin also re­ported the Food Ser­vice Fund has a sur­plus of $216,550, and he has been told by the state he has to draw that num­ber down to be­low $100,000. Martin said one rea­son for the sur­plus is more food is be­ing pre­pared from scratch, which he said is “a lot less ex­pen­sive” than prepack­aged, pre-pre­pared foods, and “the kids like it bet­ter.” An­other rea­son is three of Pea Ridge’s schools meet the 40 per­cent mark of chil­dren qual­i­fy­ing for free lunches. He said some of the money will go to pur­chase and in­stall steam­ers in the food lines. Su­per­in­ten­dent Rick Neal said some of the money may be used to help pay for the new school.

Martin said free flu shots will be ad­min­is­tered to stu­dents Oct. 16, but many forms must be com­pleted be­fore­hand and must be submitted by Oct. 14. He said par­ents should con­tact their child’s school to get the forms.

The board voted to fol­low School Code 4.34 — Com­mu­ni­ca­ble/In­fec­tious Dis­eases to al­low the schools to “ex­clude” stu­dents who have been di­ag­nosed with com­mu­ni­ca­ble and in­fec­tious dis­eases from school for spec­i­fied pe­ri­ods of time. Board mem­ber-Jenny Wood asked what the word “ex­clude” means. Martin said the term is part of an Arkansas State Dept. of Health reg­u­la­tion that has de­ter­mined the amount of time a stu­dent di­ag­nosed with such a dis­ease may be ex­cluded from classes and reg­u­lar school ac­tiv­i­ties. He said it’s a state reg­u­la­tion and is “not meant to be puni­tive in na­ture.” Ill­nesses that would in­volve longer ex­clu­sions than one to seven days are per­tus­sis (whoop­ing cough), which could lead to a three-week ex­clu­sion if an­tibi­otic ther­apy is not ad­min­is­tered, and tu­ber­cu­lo­sis, with that ex­clu­sion to last un­til the state de­clares the stu­dent in­fec­tion free. Some dis­ease ex­clu­sion lengths were left open-ended to ac­count for the dif­fi­culty of their erad­i­ca­tion. One ex­am­ple of this is head lice. For the full list of the dis­eases, con­tact any of the schools’ ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fices.

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