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Assurances, updates and changes dominate board meeting

By Staff, 08/29/18 10:13 AM


PRESCOTT – Policy updates and assurances, along with handbook changes, dominated the August meeting of the Prescott School Board Tuesday evening.

The meeting began with Linda Benton being recognized as the Arkansas Family and Consumer Science Teacher of the Year. She was presented a plaque by Superintendent Robert Poole. Benton thanked Prescott saying she loves what she does and is here for the students.

From there the board approved transferring a student from the Prescott School District to the Hope School District. Poole said several students had to be returned to their original school district because they didn’t follow the proper procedure for transferring during school choice.

The panel also approved an interlocal agreement between the PSD and City of Prescott for two school resource officers.

As far as the assurances went, the board approved the every child succeeds act and Title I assurances, stating the district will comply with all rules and regulations involved in these programs.

Where policy updates were concerned, the board approved changes to the district’s drug testing/chemical abuse policy which replaced one test with another and changed screening companies. It also approved the “elopement” policy. Poole explained elopement as the act of running, walking or escaping from a safe environment. This, he added, is primarily for special needs students.

Kim Grimes presented handbook changes for Prescott Elementary School, telling the board the start time and student checkout have changed. The main changes dealt with retention and promotion where reading was concerned. Previously, students had to score 16/24 on a reading test to advance, but now simply need to pass the test to advance. The PES handbook, she said, removed all references to grades five and six as these are now junior high grades. In addition, teachers must document evidence to retain a student. “Our goal is to meet the needs of the students without retaining them.”

One other change is students in PES are not allowed to have cell phones or smart watches. Students showing up with these items will have them confiscated to be picked up by their parents.

Prescott Junior High’s handbook was basically unchanged, with the exception of adding grades 5-8. The board was told this is a new handbook, as the PSD returned to a junior high format, and follows all Arkansas School Board Association policies.

The main change for the Prescott High School handbook dealt with tardiness, which could see students end up in ISS (in school suspension).

Any student bringing a weapon onto campus will be automatically expelled. Anyone issuing death threats toward another will be sent to an Alternative Learning Environment (ALE) and those attempting suicide will be suspended until they’re determined not to be a threat to themselves or others.

In addition, all cell phones must be out of sight after the first bell and smart watches aren’t permitted.

The board approved the purchase of computer equipment using NSLA funds. Poole explained the district isn’t spending just to spend, but these are state funds and must be spent or sent back to the state, in which case they’d be given to another district to spend. These expenditures, he continued, will help the students.

One purchase was for 120 chromebooks and four chromebook carts. This purchase was from CDW Government, Inc. for $35,326.85. The other was to Insight Investments for 10 Apple computers for PES and the PHS art program. These will be desktop computers and cost $18,513.17.

Enrollment for the district is down from what it was at the end of the 2018 school year. The total enrollment is 947, though the ending balance was 971. There are 347 enrolled in PES, 317 in PJHS and 293 in PHS.

The board also approved a monthly automatic clearinghouse payment (ACH) payment for payroll deductions. Judy Clampit, district treasurer, said monthly voucher registers will be printed out to keep up with these deductions. This program, she added, also allows the district to keep up with deductions on a daily basis without having to wait for bank statements.

As far as the financial report, Clampit told the board the district is in good shape for the start of the school year.