PB Board approves $2k teacher signing bonuses

The Pine Bluff School District Board of Directors voted unanimously to approve one-time $2,000 signing bonuses as a way to attract top quality educators to the school district upon the recommendation of district superintendent Linda Watson at the board’s regular monthly meeting Tuesday night.

“We want to offer incentives to attract teachers who we have had difficulty recruiting including those who teach math, science, foreign languages and language arts,” Watson said.

In other business Watson told the board that her administration is making progress in its assessment of which schools may need to close because of falling enrollment.

“At its last meeting the board authorized my administration to study closing schools and towards that end we have met with principals and staff,” Watson said. “The next step will be to have a community meeting to discuss the reason why this is necessary. Over the next couple of weeks we will continue to visit with staff and hopefully we will have all of the information we need by the March board meeting or the April meeting at the latest.”

The board approved a bid of $205,894 submitted by Arkansas State Security Inc. for the installation of 43 interior cameras and 22 exterior cameras at Jack Robey Junior High School; as well as 40 interior and one exterior camera at Pine Bluff High School. The bid includes nine microphones as part of the system at Jack Robey.

The board approved the low bid of $27,411 submitted by Otis Elevator Co. for the repair of the freight elevator at the Central Office.

Arkansas Elevator LLC submitted a bid of $30,700; and Kone Elevators/Escalators submitted a bid of $32,750.

The board approved the low bid of $10,880 from Jeff Roberts Plumbing, Inc. for the installation of a Cross-Connection Control Assembly at Pine Bluff High School for identifying potential health hazards in the water system as required by the Arkansas Department of Health.

Roberts Plumbing, Inc. submitted a bid of $15,500; and another company submitted a bid of $12,750.30.

The board approved the resignations of classified personnel Bradley McCuller, a custodian in the maintenance department, effective Jan. 3; and Joshua Handley, a bus driver in the transportation department effective Feb. 5.

The board approved the termination of classified employee Charlotte Davis, a food service assistant in the food services department, effective Jan. 22.

The board voted to move the date for the March regular board meeting to March 12 from March 19 in order to avoid meeting during spring break, which runs March 18-22.

The financial report for the month ending Jan. 31 showed a beginning balance of $13,391,509; revenue of $3,789,330; expenses of $3,266,553; amount available for operating of $16,286,354; and a total balance for all funds of $21,190,714.

The board recognized the death of former district superintendent Roy Scoggins.

“Those of my generation knew how much he did for this district,” board president Piccola Washington said of Scoggins.

Washington said the National Football League will host a Hometown Hall of Famers ceremony for recent Hall of Fame inductee Willie Roaf at Pine Bluff High School Feb. 27.

“Willie Roaf will get there at 12 p.m. and the event will go from then until 2:30 p.m. with a reception afterwards,” Washington said.