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School board meets

The White Hall School District held its first board meeting since summer break officially began for students and teachers. There were several items on the agenda for the June 11 meeting.

The board approved a proposed budget of expenditures for the 2014-2015 school year. According to records, the school district enrollment was up by approximately 17 students to a total of 3, 012 in the first three quarters of the 2012-2013 school year. The number of students enrolled within this time frame determines the amount of funds that are allotted to the district by the state for the following year.

Bids on athletic, activity, vehicle and property insurance were approved along with bids to extend the copier contract, for intercom expansion at the middle school, and for termite control at various locations.

District administration reported on areas of finance, facilities, transportation and instruction. All reports were positive. Assistant Superintendent Dorothy Welch told board members that the results of this year’s Benchmark exams came in the day of the meeting but more time was needed to assess and evaluate the data before an official report can be given.

Superintendent Dr. Larry Smith reported on the school choice requests. Students wishing to come to the district via school choice were required to submit an application by June 1. The district received a total of 162 applications from students the Pine Bluff, Watson Chapel, Dollarway, Sheridan, and Drew Central School districts. These applicants must turn appropriate applications in to both White Hall and the school district in which they live in order to be considered.

Smith informed the board that Dollarway has opted out of the school choice program for the upcoming year which means they cannot accept students from outside of their district boundaries nor can students that live within their district enroll in any other school district. This eliminates 66 of the applications that were received by White Hall.

The meeting continued with an address from Redfield Mayor Tony Lawhon who expressed a desire to find a constructive use for the building in which Redfield Middle school had been held. Lawhon said that Family Church Pastor Bill Fitzhugh had expressed a desire to possible use the facility as a satellite church.

Fitzhugh was on hand to explain what the churches intentions were. He explained that they would like to lease the building for approximately one year while they work on constructing a permanent church in Redfield.

Smith explained that at this time the buildings need to remain empty for at least three months so that the district can gage fixed costs maintain the facility. Smith also said, “There is the issue of the Redfield Athletic Association. The board has already approved for them to use that facility for this coming year.”

Other concerns that were expressed by Smith included the fact that another organization has already asked about using the facility. Smith said, “I think it would only be fair for at least the board to hear from them as well.”

Smith and the board agreed that it there is sufficient time to consider all parties interested in use of the buildings while they wait for the three months needed for them to remain unused. No motions were made on this issue.

The board also went into executive session to approve new hires, resignations, transfers and contract adjustments. New certified teachers to the district are April McCampbell, Morgan Jessup, Chris Johnson, and Justin Holt.

The next board meeting will be held July 16 at 6:30 p.m.