Watson Chapel schools hire ten employees


The Watson Chapel School Board hired 10 employees by a unanimous vote at a regular meeting Monday night.

The new employees include David Small as a junior high science teacher; Josh Brown as a high school physical education/health teacher and coach; Nathan Sullivan as a special education teacher and coach; Kacy Bradshaw as an elementary teacher; Debra McNeely as an elementary teacher; Marcia Merritt as an elementary teacher; Sandra Williams as an elementary principal; John Hayden as a high school co-principal; Marcus Bishop as a bus mechanic assistant; and Nathan Sullivan as a bus driver.

Superintendent Danny Hazelwood noted the resignations of the following employees in a written report: Tim Taylor as principal of L.L. Owen Elementary School; Michael Hartmann as English teacher from Coleman Elementary School; Kelli Clement as a first-grade teacher; Windy Cantwell as a third-grade teacher from L.L. Owen Elementary School; Troy Soukey-DeBill as an art teacher; Lyndee Riggins as an elementary school teacher; Bryan Bearden as a biology teacher; Donna James; Crystal Capps; Yasamyne Korban; Lauren Anderson; and Rachel Scott.

The board amended its handbook to specify its protocol in an instance when a student has failed to advance to the next grade and is in danger of being held back a second time. In accordance with the law, the district will then test the student to see if he or she belongs in special education. In addition, the district will not promote the student to the next grade through social promotion, in accordance with the law.

“We hope no student is retained twice but there are rare occasions,” Hazelwood said.

In other business, the board heard from Jack Truemper of Stephens Inc. regarding the refinancing of a bond in the original amount of $2,380,000 as issued on July 1, 2009. Truemper said the district could save about $273,000 through refinancing during the course of 25 years.

Board president Donnie Hartsfield asked how much the district would spend to refinance the bond.

“It would be close to $70,000 in a worst-case scenario,” Truemper said.

The board approved a motion to petition the Arkansas Department of Education for permission to proceed with action toward any refinancing of the bond.

In financial news, Hazelwood said that the district received $3,052,182.10 in June and spent $3,961,111.36 in the non-activity fund, leaving an ending balance of $4,016,748.17. The board accepted these figures without discussion.