The Watson Chapel School District Board of Directors voted Monday night to approve a $1,000 bonus for all full-time district employees employed as of May 29.
District superintendent Danny Hazelwood recommended the move during the board’s regular monthly meeting and said that the bonuses would be paid out of district reserve funds and will be distributed during the month of June.
In other business the board listened to an appeal by special education teacher Katherine Guynn.
“Our department is in compliance with state Department of Education requirements thanks to the support of the consultants who have helped us with due process paperwork,” Guynn said. “We have been told that the consultants will be removed by the next school year but we need them. I have been at work from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. every day to make sure that we stay in compliance and that is with the help of the consultants. We are getting to the point that we can’t teach because of the parent conferences that we must hold.”
Hazelwood sought to set the record straight regarding the plans for the 2013-2014 school year in the special education department.
“Now, it is true that we are eliminating the consultant positions,” Hazelwood said. “We just don’t have the money in the budget for them anymore. They are expensive hires because they are retired special education teachers who are at the top of our salary scale. Last year we spent $2 million on our special education kids who are only 8 percent of our total student body.”
Hazelwood said that the three consultants will be replaced with less expensive due process clerks who will be trained to assist the special education teachers.
“I think we can train other people to do their work,” Hazelwood said.
Milk and bread
The board approved bids from Hiland Dairy for dairy products and from Tankersley Foodservice for bread products for the 2013-2014 school year.
“Hiland Dairy is what used to be Coleman Dairy,” Hazelwood said. “We have been using them in the past and they are the only vendor in this area to supply milk. We have also used Tankersley before.”
The board approved several changes to district handbooks to make corrections and allow the school district to be in compliance with state law.
“We will have 60 seconds of silence as a part of the instructional day as required by Act 576 passed by the Arkansas Legislature,” Hazelwood said. “The Watson Chapel School District parental involvement policy and plan is also included in the handbook changes. The district policy on emergency medical treatment and medication administration is also included. There are a number of other small changes as well.”
The board approved the hiring of Lenette Burns as a high school secretary; Sara James as a junior high secretary; and Shawn Poindexter as an auto mechanics instructor.
The board approved the retirements of Lynette Mitchell, Beverly Boyd, Christopher Nelson and Minnie McAfee.
The board approved the resignations of Rony Jones, Taryn Echols, Jennifer Barbaree, Matt Holcomb, Kelly Stone, Dorothy Armstrong, Karen Stewart and Marcus Aynes.
The board approved the financial report for May, which included revenue of $2,250,103 and expenses of $1,886,541 with an ending balance of $7,397,550.