White Hall School District to partner with SEARK

The White Hall School Board agreed Tuesday to open its classroom space during evenings to Southeast Arkansas College, which plans to offer college credit courses beginning in the fall 2014 semester.

Michael Gunter, SEARK’s vice president for student affairs, said that the courses will be offered both to students as well as members of the community.

“White Hall is a growing community and we want to establish a presence here to make us more accessible,” Gunter said. “The courses will be for-credit first-year college courses in the natural sciences, the humanities and social science, mathematics and computer science and language and communication.”

Gunter said that the setup will be ideal for high school students who would like to complete basic college courses prior to attending a post-secondary institution.

“The credits are transferable and any student that is determined to be ready for college-level classes can take them,” Gunter said.

White Hall Superintendent Larry Smith was enthusiastic about the partnership.

“I have spoken to Dr. Gunter and [SEARK President Stephen] Hilterbran about this and I’m excited,” Smith said.

The board members all agreed that such a move would be a good one for the school district.

Gunter said that classes will be set up in two blocks of time Monday through Thursday, with the first group of classes offered from 4-5:15 p.m. and the second group offered from 6-7:15 p.m.

In other business, Smith informed the board that the school district has received 113 school choice requests for the 2014-2015 school year.

“Six of these are from students in the Dollarway School District and because they have opted out of school choice, we have to reject those requests,” Smith said. “That leaves a net of 107 possible applicants. We will check with each district to make sure that choice applications are on file in both districts as required by statute. If they are not on file in both districts, those applications will be rejected.”

Smith said that students requesting school choice will be placed in order of receipt of each application by date and time and by grade level to determine if space is available.

The board approved a series of bids for insurance coverage, including a $14,724 bid from the Dwight Jones Agency for student athletic and activity insurance; $16,156 from the Arkansas School Boards Association for vehicle insurance; and $94,547 from ASBA for property insurance.

The board heard the May financial report, in which total revenue was reported as $3,591,484; total expenditures of $2,048,265; and a total balance of $4,194,883.

The board approved a series of personnel recommendations from Smith, including the hiring of certified employees Tim Taylor as principal of Gandy Elementary School; Beverly Brown as a music teacher at Moody Elementary School; Kelli Clement as a teacher at Gandy; Jeannine A. M. Foucault as a biology teacher at White Hall High School; Donna Golden as an English teacher at White Hall Middle School; Tabitha Edwards as a special education teacher at White Hall Middle; Kristen Jasso as White Hall High yearbook sponsor; and the conditional hiring of Brandon Murphy as a math teacher at White Hall High and Troy Soukey-DeBill as an art teacher at White Hall Middle.

The board approved the hiring of classified employee Ursula Gassett as a food service worker at Gandy and Joyce Henderson as a custodian at White Hall Middle.

The board approved the transfer of classified employee Teri Lanni from a physical education/lunch aide at Taylor Elementary School to a computer lab aide.

The board approved the resignations of certified employees Kathy Benton, Donna Coker, Joetta Davis, Welda Harper, Laci Webber, Stacey Ritchie, Andrea Hathcote and Debby Scroggins.

The board approved the resignations of classified employees Shannon Whitehurst and Synthia Hayes.