Skillett honored by Gravette School Board
GRAVETTE — Jack Skillett was honored at the September meeting of the Gravette school board, his last meeting after spending 20 years on the board. Skillett’s fellow board members presented him with two framed collections of photographs showing scenes of improvements at Gravette school campuses that were made during his tenure.
Later in the meeting, board president Jay Oliphant asked Skillett, “What was your biggest dream for the district during your last few years on the board?” When Skillett replied, “I’d still like to see an elementary school in Bella Vista,” Oliphant presented him with a framed photo of the “Jack Skillett Elementary School, opening in 2030.”
Jeff Long, a parent of three children in middle school, addressed the board about his daughter in eighth grade and an incident in which she was removed from class for an alleged violation of the dress code. Long recommended the dress code be revised. Board member Hope Duke explained the code had been approved only after weeks of careful consideration and she felt rules must be enforced. Board members decided to form a committee, with Long as a member, to study alternatives to the current dress code.
Bill Hayford, business manager, gave the August financial report. He said it was traditionally a slow month and the majority of federal grants have not been received. He reported revenues were up about 3.3 percent and expenditures up $472,000 over last year at this time, due to building projects ongoing in the district.
Richard Page, superintendent of schools, reported the Arkansas school board regional meeting would be held Oct. 26 at Pea Ridge. Other upcoming events are the Project R.I.S.E. kick-off at the upper elementary school at 10 a.m. Oct. 6, open house for the vocational program Nov. 29 and northwest Arkansas coop board training Dec. 14.
Representatives of Nabholz Construction gave an update on the Upper Elementary library project. They reported the carpet installation was finished, fire alarms were being installed and a certificate of occupancy was expected by the end of the week.
Superintendent Page gave a vocational report and reported a West Benton County Career Center meeting would be held Oct. 10. He said the heating and air classes which are now being offered through Northwest Arkansas Community College will be going over to Northwest Technical Institute. This will ensure more consistent instructors.
Richard Carver, transportation department supervisor, gave a transportation financial report. He said there is an overall 2.9 percent increase in the transportation budget and reported district vehicles traveled 305,000 miles last year at a cost of $2.75 per mile. Carver also gave a student ride time report and said he had cut ride times so that no bus route now has a ride time of more than 60 minutes.
In action items, board members approved the Academic Comprehensive School Improvement Plan (ACSIP). Sharla Heltzel, assistant superintendent, first presented an overview of the plan including the homeless and migrant plans, parental involvement plan, K-12 Safe and Drug Free program, the local wellness policy and the teachers professional development plan. Teachers are required to earn 60 hours of professional development credit yearly, 18 hours of which are in summer or on weekends.
Heltzel also reported on the state categorical fund budgets and allocation for this school year and the federal fund (Title I and Title II) budgets.
Board members also voted to approve the minority report, presented by Heltzel, and passed the federal assurances. Federal assurances ensure that the Gravette school district is in compliance with all state laws and regulation standards for accreditation.
Richard Carver submitted a request to purchase an additional Chevrolet Suburban. He said an additional vehicle is needed for transporting small groups. The current Suburban, purchased in 2009, has an odometer reading of about 110,000 miles. Carver reported he has $25,000 in the vehicle fund. Board members voted to authorize Carver to seek bids for another Suburban.
Carver reported on the youth football league’s plan to install four new light poles at McAbee Field. The league has agreed to install electric lines to the poles and be responsible for their upkeep. Carroll Electric will put them in free. Board members voted to approve installation of the four poles.
Carver also said he hopes to install LED lighting at the field, which should significantly reduce the electric bill. Board members voted to approve the installation of LED lights at a cost of $18,934, to be paid from the building fund.
Following a short executive session at the end of the meeting, board members voted to accept the resignations of bus drivers Nora Sudduth and Donella Leeman.
A special meeting was held just preceding the board meeting to consider the expulsion of a student. Board members voted to expel the high school student for the remainder of the current nine weeks.