Skil­lett hon­ored by Gravette School Board

Westside Eagle-Observer - - FRONT PAGE - By Su­san Hol­land shol­ Jack Skil­lett (right), of Bella Vista, was hon­ored at the Septem­ber meet­ing of the Gravette school board, his last meet­ing af­ter 20 years of board mem­ber­ship. He lis­tened as his fel­low board mem­bers Hope Duke and John E

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.

Photo by Bill Hay­ford

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