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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • Superintendent prepares board for retiring staff

  • Hester informed the board that on February 15 the district will make up one snow day on that date.
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  • In a joking manner to school board members Superintendent Hester suggested they deny retirement requests from Cheryl Orr and Connie Moody when they retire at the end of the school year. “There’s going to be some voids,” said Hester. The board approved a third resignation from Ms. Johnston. Hester then recommended the hiring of Dennis Powell to drive a bus route in the afternoon which the school board members approved unanimously.
    Two used school buses purchased for $64,000 each should be in service by the end of January. Both buses were being lettered in Tulsa, Okla. and when they’re completed arrangements will be made to get them reported Hester. The school will finance the purchase from their line of credit with Eagle Bank on a three year payoff note at 2.5% interest. Payments will be six payments of $22,450 with a total purchase price with interest of $134,702.
    Hester informed the board that on February 15 the district will make up one snow day on that date. No action was required by the board.
    During the school reports High School Principal Justin Johnston praised the cheerleaders for being the 4A Coed State Champions and recognized 11 band members for their performances at the all-region band concert, eight Jazz members also made all-region and told the board five members of the jazz band will perform in Russellville for all State.
    Middle School Principal Connie Moody recognized two spelling bee winners from 5th through 8th grades. Six grade winner Tanner Tillman and runner-up Seventh grader Caitlyn Cox. Both competed on Monday at the County level with no results to report.
    Elementary School Principal John Mueller thanked Tom Hill and his bus drivers for handling the early out when it snowed heavily and school was cancelled. All students made it home safely in all the confusion. Mueller informed the board that all first graders have iPads and hopefully next year all second graders will have iPads.
    In other business Superintendent Hester informed the board that a 3000 Fund will be opened to help state auditors track the spending of unrestricted funds coming from the savings of bond restructuring. The total balance in the fund will be $74,000 when all deposits are made. “I mentioned this fund to see how the board wants to spend the money, we have three big projects, one we can pay off a bus or buy iPads or repair the track”, said Hester. “To repair the track will be estimated at $200,000 and we will host a state tournament this year”, concluded Hester.
    Brooks Jackson an architect handling the future wish list projects for the district gave the board a handout with budget estimates to consider.
    Jackson’s handout estimated a cost of $6.8 to $7 million for an 850 seat Performing Arts Center; a new cafeteria estimated $2.4 to $2.6 million, an improved and upgraded Security system estimated to cost $240,000 to $250,000. At this point Jackson asked his partner in the firm, James Vandiver, to speak on security. Jackson said, “Cameras are not your security system, your policy and procedures and what you allow on campus is your security system”. The policy and procedures to handle child custody situations and to create an environment to discuss security issues is what’s needed, suggested Vandiver.
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