“At no point in time did the city want to get rid of the SRO, nor did they say they wanted to cut her salary in half, nor did we want to remove the vehicle or no longer pay for uniforms. We have no problem with Mandee (the SRO). What we are asking is for the school to pay more. We were previously funded by a grant, but are no longer receiving the grant. The council is merely asking for the school to pay more of the salary of the employee they use the majority of the time.” Mayor Kerr said. She wanted to make it clear that the council is not trying to get rid of the SRO, they are merely asking for the school to pay more of the salary.

The Quitman School Board meeting began with Mayor Cyndi Kerr addressing the board regarding the School Resource Officer’s salary. She wanted to put an end to rumors that have been rampant in the town.

“At no point in time did the city want to get rid of the SRO, nor did they say they wanted to cut her salary in half, nor did we want to remove the vehicle or no longer pay for uniforms. We have no problem with Mandee (the SRO). What we are asking is for the school to pay more. We were previously funded by a grant, but are no longer receiving the grant. The council is merely asking for the school to pay more of the salary of the employee they use the majority of the time.” Mayor Kerr said. She wanted to make it clear that the council is not trying to get rid of the SRO, they are merely asking for the school to pay more of the salary.

In the beginning, they were to pay this for four years, the contract has never been renewed after the initial contract ended. In the surrounding schools where there is an SRO, Altus, Clinton, Glen Rose, Heber Springs, Mountain View, Nemo Vista, Southside pay the entire salary and vehicle. In Eureka Springs the school pays 80 percent and any overtime, the city pays 20 percent. In Altus, the city pays any expenses other than salary. In Greenbrier, Mayflower, Vilonia, Siloam Springs the school pays half the salary. In Greenbrier, the city pays half the salary and provides car. In Glen Rose, the county provides the car. In Mt. Vernon, the county provides an officer and car but they are not there all the time. Magnet Cove pays with NSLA, a $19 per hour County officer and the city provides the car. In Nemo Vista the school pays the salary and the county provides the officer and a car, the officer builds comp time so he doesn’t work summers. In Newport, the city provides car and half of the expenses. In Pangburn, the county provides an officer and car. In Siloam Springs the city pays the other half of the expenses and the school also reimburses the city $3,000 annually. West Side currently doesn’t have an officer, but when they have, the school pays $30,000 and the car. In Vilonia, the city pays the other half of the salary plus provides a car.

Superintendent Dennis Truxler asked for clarification of whether or not they wanted the school to pay the whole salary or just more of the salary. Mayor Kerr said they wanted them to pay the salary package but if they couldn’t, they would go back to the drawing board. The council is asking the school to pay 81 percent of the salary and package and the city will pay 19 percent. The SRO spends 95 percent of her time at the school.

Truxler then discussed the financial situation of the school. He said there is a misnomer going around that the district has lots of money, thanks to the gas company. This is not the case. If you take the gas wells out of the county, the school receives the same amount as they always have because the state pays the school so much per student. What drives our funding is the increase in students. With the minimum wage going up, it will cost the school $50,000. The increase in the base teacher salary will cost the school $252,477.00, not including extra days, stipends, indexes and only includes 190 day contracts. This will be an additional cost of $46,801.29. Cost per student are figured on assessments. In 2013 it was $178,052,390. In 2018 it was $135,190,146, a negative difference of $42,862,244. They project the future salary increase total cost to be approximately $350,000.

The safety of staff/students is a top priority and they have invested $1,022,398 in safe shelters, $201,698.12 in security cameras.

Moving on to the agenda the board approved the financial report. The board accepted two resignations of cafeteria workers. Board member Johnnie Walters left the room to approve summer employees (of which he was related to a couple of them).

Principal Michael Stacks then gave his Principals report. K-2 students assessed had 100% growth. All schools are fully accredited. He then recognized Kathy Brantley who was named AR Rural Ed Teacher of the Year. Additional college courses to take concurrently for 19/20 school year. To view the full list of accomplishments of QPS look to thesuntimes.com.

A successful school choice program was completed. A successful CTE program was implemented to offer students in surrounding schools the ability to take Conway Career classes on the Quitman campus. They have been awarded an Ag Power and Tech Grant. There were 81 Microsoft Office Certifications given.

The board approved contract addendums for two employees. They then approved salary schedule which will also cover the minimum wage raise. They approved American Fidelity cafeteria plan, they have been handling it so far.

The board approved 24 Freedom of Choice applications.

They reviewed bids for pest control, cleaning services and Elite services to do the floor work. They were able to get approval from the auditor to sell the bus they had put out for bids to the second highest bidder, because the highest bidder with drew the bid because they don’t have the title, as it had not been registered.

Truxler has been working on the elementary remodel and asked Michael McBride to come and discuss it with the board. McBridge is scheduled to attend the next school board meeting on June 10.