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PSD gets good rate on bond sale

By Staff, 06/28/17 9:51 AM


PRESCOTT – Ray Beardsley, with First Security, gave the Prescott School Board some good news at its June meeting Tuesday night.

He said the bonds from the recent special election had been sold and the interest rate was less than expected. Initially, it was thought the interest would be 3.72 percent, but, he told the panel, rates have been dropping and the bonds sold for 3.13 percent. This, he continued, will mean lower payments.

FTN had the winning bid and will be using First Arkansas Bank and Trust to handle the funds. Overall, the bonds sold for $8,735,000. The amount the district owed on its bonded indebtedness, plus accrued interest of $7,904.75 will be subtracted from this amount and leave the district with $813,701.62 for construction purposes. Superintendent Robert Poole reminded those gathered the projects the money will be used on include a new roof for Prescott High School, new seating for the PHS auditorium, more security cameras for the entire campus and air conditioning for the Prescott Sports Arena. He said there should be more information about these projects at the July meeting.

Beardsley said the district has up to three years to spend the money, but it’s best to spend it in the first 24 months after the date of close. He said the district’s first payment of $508,000 will be due in Feb. 2018. After the second payment, the payments will decrease.

Poole said all the projects but the PHS roof will be done before the end of the 2017-18 school year. The roofing project will begin when school’s out next year and should be finished for the 2018-19 year. Bids are being sought for the other projects.

Poole began the meeting by telling everyone the district had a successful year. He said 100 percent of the seniors graduated, the Wolves won state titles in football and track, while the band also won a state title. He said there will be some changes coming next year he’s excited about and he hopes it will be another good year. He recognized the students who earned athletic and academic scholarships, said his brother, Tommy Poole, head coach and athletic director, was named Coach of the Year, while the PHS coaching staff was also named staff of the year. He added, his brother will assume the duties of PHS principal next year as well.

Shannon Henderson talked about the Open Court Curriculum. The program will be paid using Title I, professional development, NSLA and operating funds. A pilot program was done last year in the first grade at Prescott Elementary School. Two classes were under Open Court, while two others used regular teaching methods. At the end of the program, the Open Court classes scores had increased 28 points. The teachers, she added, liked the program.

The board followed by approving a purchase order for $77,346.85 to purchase the curriculum from McGraw Hill. A second purchase order was approved in the amount of $36,815.76 to buy 14 new touch screen boards to replace smart boards. Poole said 10 of these will be paid through Title I funding and the rest through NSLA. He added, 10 will go to PES and the others to PHS.

Debbie Thompson and Haley Cummings talked to the board about the community program that will be used in PES next year. The two visited Waldron Elementary School last year, meeting with the superintendent. He told them how the Waldron district had formed the system with the teachers and administrators. The toured the school and saw how things were set up there, taking pictures and talking with teachers.

They also toured the lunchroom where they learned students were responsible for cleaning up after themselves and held accountable for keeping the lunchroom clean.

Overall, they said, the teachers they talked to love the program, with one, who’d been teaching for 28 years, saying she regained her passion for teaching because of it.

Poole pointed out the community system isn’t a new idea, but has been around since 1975 and is in use in more than 5,000 schools around the country. It is a new idea in Arkansas, he said, and is a good program that should be beneficial and help raise scores.

PES Principal Kim Grimes said it should be easy for the parents to transition to the new system.

In other business, the board approved the Arkansas School Board Association’s licensed and classified personnel policies, which had been examined and approved by the district’s Personnel Policy Committee. It also approved a statement of intent and assurance concerning special education, basically agreeing to follow the rules and regulations set out concerning special education.

Financially, Poole said the district will end the year in the black. Most of the budgets have been zeroed out and balanced, but there is still money outstanding from the state and federal government. However, he added, these accounts should all be balanced by the July meeting.

He reminded all the new building’s library will be dedicated as the McRae Memorial Library during a community coffee from 9:30-11 a.m. on July 3. The dedication will be done at 10 a.m. Board President Patricia Blake thanked the district for naming the library after the McRae School, saying there will be a section on McRae history there.



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