Board honors choir student, card designers
■ Technology purchases postponed
GRAVETTE — Sally Bird, a senior at Gravette High School, was present at the December meeting of the Gravette school board. She was introduced and recognized as a finalist for all-region choir. Choir instructor Kris Schoeppey explained that Bird competed against 120 other girls in schools throughout the area to win the honor. Students prepared four pieces for the competition and performed three of the four for the tryouts. Bird is also a member of the GHS track team, whose members recently received rings for winning the 2018 4x800 relay state championship. Bird, Gracie Berger and Mikey Larson attended the meeting. Another track team member, Shylee Morrison, was absent.
Winners of the annual school Christmas card competition also attended the board meeting. Each year students from each school are honored by having their Christmas card designs chosen to be printed and used for cards sent out by the district. Second-grader Luis Escobar, winner for Glenn Duffy Elementary School, and ninth grader Chloe Lucas, winner at Gravette High School, were present and displayed their winning designs. Fourth-grader Hayley Fultz, winner at Gravette Upper Elementary, and Lydia Morales (Luis’ sister), winner at Gravette Middle School, were absent. Each winner received a packet of cards for his or her own use.
All the students who attended the meeting and were honored for being track and card design winners led the pledge of allegiance to the United States flag to open the meeting.
Dennis Kurczek, business manager, gave the financial report for the month of November.
Shannon Mitchell, high school principal, gave the ACT Aspire report with a comparison of 2017 and 2018 student performance. Carla Hicks, math instructor, also reported on an enrichment program that has improved student performance and said an after-school tutoring program has been started. She said interviewing was being done for a teacher for a quantitative literacy class.
Mitchell also reported on an expulsion alternative she has been investigating through the Arkansas Public School Resource Center. It would provide an online curriculum which could also be used for homeschooled students. A student participating would have to agree to certain guidelines, including weekly drug tests. The decision of whether a student could participate would be based on his history, and the board would have to approve each applicant.
Five student transfer requests were approved as presented. Two students who moved to Gentry requested to remain in the Gravette schools, one student from Gravette was approved to attend Springdale schools, and two students from Decatur will attend Gravette schools.
Board members voted to authorize Richard Carver, transportation, custodial and maintenance department supervisor, to seek bids for a new bus. Carver said he had updated the maintenance master plan but it is still a work in progress. He requested that board members submit any desired changes to him by Feb. 1.
Daniel Rice, technology director, presented recommendations for camera upgrades at Gravette High School so that the high school will have its own camera system and will not be on the same server as the elementary school. He wishes to replace 16 analog cameras with digital cameras which will have better picture quality. Richard Page, superintendent of schools, suggested that Rice present a chart of what camera installation has been done and what is still needed. Tracy Moorman, board president, said he would like to see a projection of what is needed overall, and board member Hope Duke asked that it include what will be needed in the future. Zane Vanderpool, principal at Glenn Duffy Elementary, stressed the importance of the cameras in helping prevent bullying, theft from backpacks and vandalism. Duke asked if any local businesses could supply the needed cameras, and Rice said there were only three providers in the state that could supply the desired equipment and none were local.
Rice was asked to come to the January board meeting with more information about costs of cameras, total cost of repairing all cameras and placing some new ones in the district and estimates of how many cameras were needed.
Rice also presented a request for additional Chromebooks for the district. He said the Chromebook carts have been replenished but he wishes to have enough Chromebooks to send one home with each child. An increase in breakages results in a need for more units. He said he is looking into leasing Chromebooks and presented a proposal to purchase 200 Dell Chromebooks at a cost of $50,292, to be paid from student growth funds. The motion failed with a 3-3 split vote.
Rice was requested to come back in January with costs and further info on Chromebooks as well.
Dennis Kurczek presented a proposal for purchasing cards. The present credit card system requires filling out purchase orders, and he said purchasing cards would save time and would be more efficient since there would be less paperwork. Credit could be loaded on the cards online and that would be convenient for such things as bus drivers needing to purchase parts or athletic department trips to state tournament games. Board members voted to approve implementing the purchasing card program through the recommendation of the APSRC and to use Arvest Bank with the condition that Kurczek reviews other bank’s services for competitive rates.
Board members went into executive session to consider the resignations of three personnel. After a half hour, they returned to regular session and voted to approve the resignation of Angela Catron, paraprofessional, effective Dec. 24. The board received the resignations of Karen Cervenka, special education teacher, and Mason Ingle, high school geometry teacher, but did not approve or accept those resignations.
The board reviewed the cost analysis sheet and eliminated items from the list for the new gym.
Sally Bird flashes a smile at the December meeting of the Gravette school board. She was honored at the meeting for being an all-region finalist in choir, having competed with 120 girls from throughout the area for the honor. Sally is also a member of the Gravette High School track team which won the 2018 4x800 relay state championship. She and her teammates recently received their championship rings.