Pine Bluff School Board approves policy updates


The Pine Bluff School District Board of Directors adopted three policy recommendations that were submitted by district superintendent Linda Watson during its regular monthly meeting Thursday night.

The first recommendation provides an updated procedure for the adoption of school board policy and includes a first reading by the school board for any proposed policy that will be followed by a period of time for feedback from interested persons.

The proposed policy may then be modified or changed before returning it to the board for a second reading which will be followed by a board vote.

The board also adopted a new system for the school district to address disability-related accommodations requests and complaints and appeals for students, employees and others in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Last, the board approved a policy that authorizes the superintendent to purchase items up to $10,000 required for bidding at any one time in recognition of the fact that the superintendent needs to make purchasing decisions during the daily operations of the school district.

The policy regarding the superintendent also gives her or him the authority to mediate legal cases up to and inclusive of $10,000 with the understanding that the superintendent should inform the board of settlement agreements.

The policy provides that in emergency mediation situations that exceed $10,000 the superintendent shall inform the board.

School safety

In other business board member Phyllis Wilkins asked Watson to brief the board on efforts by the administration to increase security at district schools.

“We are working on the issue and [deputy superintendent] Mr. [Rudolph] Howard has spoken with the elementary and secondary school principals to get their input on what they think is needed,” Watson said. “A [bid request] has been submitted for cameras for Jack Robey Junior High School and Pine Bluff High School. We did include other schools in the bid request. A public address system for PBHS is also on the list. We will do another walk-through of the schools to assess whether any additional measures are needed. The bid closes at the end of the month and we will hopefully have a report by the February meeting.”

Personnel

The board approved a series of personnel recommendations including the hiring of Tameka Hunter as a middle school teacher at Belair Middle School effective Jan. 7, replacing Darrell Adams who resigned.

The board approved the resignations of Wanda Jones as a history teacher at Pine Bluff High School effective Dec. 21; and Karah Williams as a paraprofessional at Belair Middle School effective Jan. 4.

The board approved the retirement of Ronald Moragne as a remediation teacher and head basketball coach at PBHS effective Jan. 31.

Finance

The December financial report as presented by district director of business and finance Pam Winkler showed a beginning balance of $13,391,509 with monthly revenue of $2,496,548; monthly expenses of $3,305,923; amount available for operating of $15,763,577; and a total balance for all funds of $20,911,815.

Board remarks

Board president Piccola Washington expressed the board’s congratulations to Pine Bluff High School head football coach Bobby Bolding for being selected as the Coleman Dairy Class 6A Coach of the Year; and to PBHS football player Walter Ashley for being selected as a finalist for the Landers Award recognizing the top high school football player in the state.

Washington also recognized students from Oak Park Elementary School who traveled to Little Rock on Dec. 22 to sing Christmas Carols for the KATV Channel 7 ‘Daybreak’ program.

Washington said that the National Football League is in the third year of a program recognizing the hometowns of members of the NFL Hall of Fame.

“One of our graduates, Willie Roaf, is in the Hall of Fame and the NFL is finalizing a date for its Hall of Famers program and will let us know when it is finalized,” Washington said.