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Board upgrades ‘certified’ salary base

By Staff, 03/22/18 1:59 PM

HOPE – The Hope Public School District Board adopted an upgrade to the base “certified” staff and faculty salary Monday night to bring starting teacher pay in the district closer in line with that of other districts in Southwest Arkansas.
The unanimous action of the board on the recommendation of Superintendent Bobby Hart puts the starting teacher salary for the district at $34,275, an increase of $1,250, according to Hart.
“We’ve been conservative in our budgeting approach, and we need to stay that way,” he said.
But, Hart said districts such as Nashville and Magnolia still pay almost $3,000 more in base rate salary schedules. He said the action is the third such increase in the last six years.
The recommendation also includes a .02 salary “multiplier” increase for district wide “certified” administrators.
Hart said the increase can be accommodated using excess funds previously set aside each year in the district building fund, and other available funding totaling about $500,000. He said the move will require some $354,000 per year of that $500,000.
Also Monday, Hart rejected a proposal made last month by a transportation leasing company to outsource busing for the district, saying the district was in good shape financially to continue to operate its own bus fleet and services. He said the Arkansas Department of Education also discouraged the practice.
Hart recommended that the district purchase two buses this year through the state’s vehicle purchasing services from Central States Bus Sales in Conway at a cost of $82,505 each. The board adopted the recommendation unanimously.
The board also agreed to sell by sealed bids four buses a car and one van presently in service. Hart said should bids not be acceptable or forthcoming, the district will sell the vehicles for scrap.
Hart also recognized the Environmental and Spatial Technology (EAST) lab programs at the Hope Academy of Pubic Service and Hope High School for their participation in the regional EAST conference last week in Hot Springs.
He said the participation by the two programs, and the forthcoming participation by a newly-awarded program for the Yerger Middle School campus, will spur innovative creation among students on those campuses.
HAPS Principal Dr. Carol Ann Duke said this is the first year her campus has participated in the event.
“Now that we have a year under our belt, we know more about what to do,” Duke said.
She said the HAPS EAST team made an impressive showing in its presentation, and in the interest shown its projects program.
Also Monday, the board:
–Approved the purchase of federal Title I technology updates for the YMS campus from Howard Technologies at a cost of $77,268.
–Approved the purchase of federal Title III English as Second Language curriculum materials at a cost of $23,395.
–Approved the purchase of school supplies from Walmart for the 2018-2019 academic year for the HAPS and YMS campuses.
–Adopted model Arkansas School Boards Association policy updates.
–Set a June 13 date for participation in a school-based youth mental health awareness conference hosted by the district.
–Set a special workshop on district finances for April 6 at 6 p.m.
–Adopted recommended certified hires and resignations.
–Adopted proposed new positions for a campus nurse and a campus counselor on the HAPS campus.