The Hope School Board met Monday April 15th at the Hope School Administration Building. Linda Haynes presided over the meeting.
Under the Superintendent’s Report, Dr. Bobby Hart noted enrollment is 2,225. He noted the band program will host several regional competitions in the coming year. This includes the ASBOA regional for region 2 in October as well as a spring invitational and the March 11th regional concert competition at Hempstead Hall.
Dr. Hart noted the district has received results of their recent audit. He noted with the usual”segregation of duties” finding the district had a finding on the band program’s failure to get proper bids on the purchase of $30,000 worth of band instruments so a plan will be implemented for proper bidding procedures.
Dr. Hart noted the district had received a letter from the Department of Education concerning suspension and expulsion numbers of students with disabilities. Dr. Hart says the numbers are a little higher than the state expects so the district will conduct a self-study to determine if policies need to be changed.
The board heard from School Improvement Specialist Carla Narlesky. Among other topics she talked about professional development for back to school in August. She also talked about curriculum.
Judee Gunter gave an update on Hope High progress. She had several very positive comments about Hope High Principal Bill Hoglund. Gunter said Hope High has gone from being an”F” school to being a “D” school and is now close to being a “C” rated school. Gunter talked about challenges including “reading and math” and “weighed achievement”. She also talked about incentives for students. Gunter noted churches have been involved in feeding students and the Lions Club will feed the students chicken strips. Another challenge Gunter mentioned was the high school losing one of their two counselors and will be losing the current one to the Collegiate Academy. Also under “loss of resources” Gunter talked about losing a reading teacher and two math teachers. She told the board the school needs the board’s support in these areas. She encouraged the board to visit Hope High and see the progress there. Board member Bubba Powers asked what could be done towards retention in math and reading. Gunter says she wishes the district could pay more but she understands there is a shortage of math teachers overall. She said she didn’t have a lot of insight on that matter. Carla Narlesky said studies have shown that’s not necessarily a money issue. Narlesky suggested the board sit in on “professional learning communities”. Gunter said she hates to see the reduction in math and reading teachers although she understands that may be necessary. Jill Self also talked about what could be done for new teachers and she noted these teachers need to understand they can say “no”. She noted it can be difficult for teachers to lose their conference period. Another teacher echoed Self’s remarks. Powers thanked Gunter for her remarks.
The board considered renewing their contract with Aramark on food services. Board member Linda Haynes noted the students are requesting more variety and asked what is the procedure is to get more popular items such as Asian dishes. The Aramark representative noted how they are learning what the students want and are also using up some “commodity” type ingredients. She said they can work on practically anything as long as it fits child nutrition guidelines. The board voted to renew the contract for another year.
The board looked at a Science Curriculum for grade three through eight. The proposal was for six years. The curriculum, which will cost $71,000, was approved.
The board looked at student insurance. Dr. Hart noted they have been with the Dwight Jones Agency for many years and he recommended they accepted the Dwight Jones proposal of $31,150 per year for two years. The bid was accepted.
The board looked at facilities requests. The board looked at a request from Mario McClinton for Pee-wee Basketball at the Yerger Gym. That request from the New Millennium Ballers was approved. The board approved another request for a basketball group and looked at a request for five games for Hammons Stadium from the Arkansas Silverbacks semipro football team. The board approved the Silverbacks’ request. The motion passed 3 to 2.
Personnel matters closed out the meeting.