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NSB discusses cell phone issue

By Staff, 05/26/17 10:28 AM


ROSSTON – For the most part Nevada School Board’s May meeting, Thursday night, was routine business.

However, the board was presented with a 58-page list of proposed policy and handbook changes recommended by the Arkansas General Assembly. The panel was told it would be getting another section next month concerning licensing groups which will include around 80 changes. Nevada Superintendent Rick McAfee said the handbook committee will also be meeting on these changes. Some of the core requirements, he added, are different and the new policy must include sections on Coding and home schooling among others.

Nevada Principal Michael Odom said he thinks the current handbook the district has works, but the issue of cell phones needs to be addressed. The current policy, he added, works well, but there have been some issues, so the district is looking for different solutions. One, he suggested, would be to collect the phones at the start of class and have them in a basket to be collected when the class ends. He said the problem is academic dishonesty with students in early classes taking pictures of their tests and sending them to other students.

In state testing, McAfee said, phones must be turned off. He said baskets could be put on each desk with cell phones placed in them. This way, he continued, teachers could see when and if students were trying to use their phones. No action was taken on the issue.

Odom said the award ceremony, held Thursday morning, was a success with things done differently. Because of renovations being done in the gym, he said, the school was prepared to hold the ceremony in the cafeteria. Instead, students were split into two groups, which placed more of the focus on the students and there was no rush.

He continued, saying Nevada is still a focus school under the old No Child Left Behind program, but new legislation could give the district more flexibility in what it can do educationally and this should make Nevada more competitive with other area schools.

McAfee said once the award programs were done, work began on the gym, with sections of the home bleachers being taken out. Dumpsters, he added, will be brought in Tuesday for the refuse and the district should be ready to cut metal next week. The bleachers should be completely removed within two weeks, he told the board, with the new ones arriving in late June. The company installing the new bleachers said they should be in place by July 15. However, McAfee told the board, the district is allowing an Aug. 1 deadline in case there are any problems. The press box will also be bigger and have more room inside.

He told the board the Prometheus board it approved in January are being shipped. The district will be getting the newer version 5 boards which became available last week. These boards have the new 4K resolution and 75-inch screens. However, he said, there is a holdup on the stands, but they should be in by July 1.

Nevada, he continued, was one of two schools below I-30 to make it to the state coding competition. The other was Texarkana. The district received a $20,000 grant and used some of the money to purchase 27-inch curved monitors for the coding class. Part of the money, with the board’s approval, was used to give the coding instructor a $3,000 stipend, half for a summer boot camp she attended and half for completing the essential computer programming class.

Financially, McAfee said, the district will see an increase in the interest it receives from the Bank of Prescott, which has more than doubled what the district was formerly bringing in. The district, he continued, is down about $100,000 from last year, but hasn’t received Title I funds from the federal government. These funds should make up the difference.

The board approved a budget for 2017-19 as required by law. McAfee said This budget doesn’t mean anything, but has to be approved. He told the board he used the current budgets with projected income and expenses to make the one presented.

Nevada School District will again be participating in the Lunch Community Eligibility Provision, which provides free lunches for all students. This will be the third year Nevada has participated in the program. McAfee said it’s been successful and more students are eating lunch than did before. However, the program will have to be reevaluated next year.

The board also approved federal program budgets for next year, along with the 2016 legislative audit. McAfee said this was the cleanest audit the district has ever had as there were no findings, but a few supplemental findings. This, he continued, shows how closely the district watches its funds.

The Dwight Jones Agency of Nashville was approved to provide student accident insurance for 2017-19 at a cost of $6,627.18 per year. McAfee said Dwight Jones provides this insurance for about half the school districts in the state and the plan covers students from the time they leave home until they return home.

In other business, the board agreed to move its next meeting to June 20 because of conflicts.

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