Three new faculty members introduced at school board meeting
GRAVETTE — Three new faculty members were introduced at the August 15 meeting of the Gravette school board. New teachers, who each spoke briefly about themselves and their plans for the school year, were Andrea DeVaney, who will be a fifth-grade teacher at Gravette Upper Elementary; Bambi Hall, who will be a first-grade teacher at Glenn Duffy Elementary; and Natalie Bolick, who will teach career development at the middle school.
Board members voted to approve the consent agenda, which included accepting the resignation of food service worker Michelle Finnell.
Business manager Dennis Kurczek gave the July financial report and the ESSER/ART financial report. He said $1,094,038 in revenue was received in July, including $565,659 in property tax revenue and $418,065 in state foundation funds. Kurczek also gave a bond report.
Rebecca Sears, assistant superintendent, shared highlights and additional info from the ACT Aspire data report and noted more details were in board members’ packets. She noted that this is the last year the ACT test will be given.
Sears also gave a presentation on ELAchieve and recommended the purchase of ELAchieve materials. Board members voted to approve the purchase of the ELAchieve curriculum at a cost of $15,745.40 from the ELL fund.
Superintendent Maribel Childress gave an ARP/ ESSER funding update and all school district plans that were submitted to the ALC PEER committee have been approved. She said that the greatest concern from community members last year was about health and behavioral issues and the need for additional help with day-to-day needs. She said the reading curriculum had been purchased with ARP/ESSER funds and said she recommended that the school honor the original plan and consider using any additional funds for staff bonuses in the spring.
Superintendent Childress also gave the employment report, noting that there are three open positions in the food service department, and discussed recess and student discipline. She said the official statement requires that elementary students be scheduled for 40 minutes of recess time each day.
Finally, Childress talked about the district’s newly formulated vision, mission statement and truths and thanked all board members for their input. The vision statement is “We Are Lion Pride — We Lead the Way in Everything We Pursue.”
Board members voted to approve the transfer of $1.4 million from the general operating fund to the building fund to comply with state regulations.
Business manager Kurczek said the district did not get a clean audit this year and was late with reporting some information. He said some issues which were OK last year received criticism this year, but he would go ahead and address the issues and comply with the findings. Members voted to accept the audit findings.
Board members voted to adopt and implement a written curriculum aligned with the Arkansas Academic Standards for the operation of the district during the 20222023 school year. Reading, writing, speaking and personal success skills will be incorporated into all curriculum areas.
Also approved was the signing of the 2022-2023 Statement of Assurances confirming that the Gravette school district is in compliance with all state laws and standards of accreditation.
Amendments to the facility usage agreement were approved, and it was noted that users of school facilities would be required to reapply annually.
Board members voted to approve hiring Tara Youngblood for the position of pre-K-5 yearbook assistant, Noemi Smith as a special education paraprofessional, Karen Jenkins as a pre-K paraprofessional and Matthew McCue as a physical education paraprofessional at Glenn Duffy Elementary. Also approved was the transfer of Whitley Holland from a five-hour food service employee to a six-hour food service employee.
Board members voted to approve the transfer of one student to the Gentry school district, four students to the Decatur school district, and one tenth-grade student into the Gravette school district. Three students, a kindergartner, a firstgrade student and a ninth-grade student who wished to transfer in from Bentonville, were denied because those classes are already over capacity.
Superintendent Childress reminded board members that a board work session was scheduled for Thursday night.