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Lee’s contract extended at Blevins

By Staff, 01/10/17 10:42 AM

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BLEVINS – Following a 44-minute executive session, the Blevins School Board voted to extend the contract of Superintendent Billy Lee another year.

This was done at the board’s January meeting Monday night. The extension gives Lee three years as superintendent of the Blevins School District at his current salary. Board President Justice West said the board discussed a cost of living raise for Lee, but decided it needs to reevaluate a COLA for all teachers before giving the superintendent a raise. The idea, he continued, is to improve teacher retention and recruitment by providing a decent salary.

West also said the board will work to devise a policy to implement a written evaluation for the superintendent for the future. Such evaluations, he told the packed house, are a new thing from the Arkansas School Board Association (ASBA).

The rest of the meeting went quickly. It began with Lee telling the panel the district is $33,000 ahead of where it was this time last year financially.

Lee also suggested the district bid on two used school buses from the Wickes School District. The buses, he said, are 1999 and 2001 models with around 130,000 miles on them. Both are diesel buses and were made by Bluebird. They have also passed inspection and would be a welcome addition to the Blevins district as spares. Lee told the board he expects them to go for $6,000, adding the Arkansas Prison System is also expected to bid on them. The board approved bidding $6,000 for both buses.

The public address policy, tabled at the December meeting, was brought up, but died for lack of a motion. West said the idea was the public address policy would be similar to people being on the agenda, with the exception the board couldn’t vet what would be discussed in advance, and people could bring things up the board doesn’t need to hear or couldn’t address. He pointed out the district has an administration in place to handle discipline problems, and this isn’t the board’s responsibility to deal with.

West also said he’s talked with the Arkansas Department of Education, and the district’s attorneys and was told having such a policy would be a bad idea.

Board member Laura Clark suggested the public be informed on how to get on the monthly agenda. West read the district’s policy concerning getting on the agenda, telling those gathered anyone wanting to speak before the board must provide the subject of their discussion with the superintendent five days prior to the meeting. The superintendent would be required to discuss this with the president of the school board and decide if it’s an appropriate topic for the entire board to hear. Nothing could be discussed that allowed conflict with other policies or violated the law or that would affect or impair the judgement of the board. Those approved would have no more than five minutes to speak, unless given permission to speak longer. The board is also not allowed to respond to any such discussions at the meeting, but may talk about the issue(s) later, but doesn’t have to.

According to West, this policy is used by several other districts in the state and has been approved by the ASBA. School board meetings, he said, aren’t participating meetings, but observation meetings for the public to let the public know how things work and what’s being done. He pointed out a lot of things people want to talk to their board members about aren’t appropriate for board members, but should be taken before the superintendent, a teacher or principal.

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