The White Hall School Board has more issues on its agenda during the coming year than normal. It may be six months or more before directors even learn the answers to some pending questions.
The issues were detailed to some degree last week when the board held a three-hour work session in which no votes were taken. The board may be able to prioritize the issues when they meet Tuesday evening, but patrons should not expect quick solutions.
The economic issues include declining state aid dollars because of slipping enrollment, how much money the state will make available for school physical plant improvements and programs, and the soaring cost of health insurance premiums for the district’s classified and certified employees.
The answers for many of the economic issues won’t be resolved until after the Arkansas General Assembly begins meeting in January. That means it may be six months down the road before the board can act with any confidence.
Harold Franklin “Bunny” Brown, project architect for the district’s first phase of construction projects, briefed directors on the projects that are on the list for the tentative second phase, including an auditorium and a structure to house potential vocational-technical programs.
In addition to the very tentative cost estimates Brown furnished, directors were briefed on the status of the school bond market by a representative of the firm that has handled the district’s bonds in the past.
An issue that certainly will surface involves the potential closure of Redfield Middle School. The old Redfield district was dissolved in 1949 under the state School District Reorganization Act in 1949 after district enrollment fell below 350 students and was merged with the White Hall district in 1950.
Enrollment at the Redfield school, a WPA era building, continues to fall, and the board may be asked to merge its classes into White Hall Middle School.
None of the decisions will come easily or quickly.