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Nevada off to good start

By Staff, 08/31/18 9:24 AM

ROSSTON – School is off to a good start in the Nevada School District.

This is what the Nevada School Board was told at its August meeting Thursday night. The board’s first action was to approve a resolution to pay those who earned more than 5 percent of their contracted amount. This is a mandated law and districts must comply.

The pay is for services rendered, including retirement, aides becoming certified teachers and being employed full time, earning a higher degree, and, for drivers, completing the certified driver’s license course (CDL).

Nevada Principal Jason Arrington told the board the start of the year was smooth with the student falling into place from the beginning. He said an assembly the first day let the students know what was expected of them. The school, he added, will participate in the Arkansas Hog call at 1 p.m., right before school lets out for the Labor Day holiday. This is to get students involved and interested in college. The call will be recorded on video and sent to the University of Arkansas to be played at Saturday’s game. Schools across the state are participating in this.

Arrington told the board of important dates in September. He said Sept. 7 is grandparent’s day at the school, and progress reports will be mailed out on Sept. 12. The sale of year book ads starts n Sept. 19 and an interactive 4H program will be held on Sept. 19. This program will focus on personal finance with students being given a “debit” card for college expenses. They will be required to use the card to pay for things like food, rent, books, etc … and must budget accordingly. Booths will be set up representing different businesses for the students to visit.

Superintendent Rick McAfee said the number of students at the start of school was just under 400, with around 200 in Nevada Elementary. The district received 22 new students for NES, but also lost some. He told of a transfer student coming from a nearby district who was shocked at the way he was welcomed to Nevada. According to McAfee, the student said new students in his former district were ignored.

McAfee voiced concerns about the state’s congressional delegation, specifically Bruce Westerman who, at a meeting in Hope, said he’s signing on to a farm bill that will cut 740,000 adults with children out of the SNAP program. This, McAfee said, also cuts the children from the free and reduced lunch program in schools across the state and in some cases the two free meals children get at schools are all they get to eat during the day. Should this bill pass, he added, no district in the state would qualify for the CEP program (which provides free breakfast and lunch for students). He told the board he wrote a letter to Westerman explaining his concerns and urges others to do the same. “The program helps working parents. We’re due to be recertified for the program next year unless this bill passes. It would be a tragedy for the lunch program across the state and I hope he reconsiders how he’s attacking this program.”

Should the measure pass, McAfee said, districts across the state will have to explain to parents they’ll have to start paying for their children’s meals again. In many cases, he continued, this will have to be factored into their budgets.

The date for graduation at Nevada has been changed from May 15 back to May 9. The date was first set for May 9, but changed to May 15 due to AP testing. McAfee said this only affects six seniors who have agreed to return on May 10 to take the tests. Because of this, the board approved changing graduation back to May 9. The handbook students received also had the graduation date as May 9.

In other business, the board passed assurances stating the district would spend federal monies according to the rules and regulations set forth for their use.

It also accepted bids from Synergetics for seven Promethean active panels and stands at a cost of $28,557. This is a TIPS contract meaning the price has already been approved by the state and bidding isn’t required.

It also accepted a bid for leasing two Xerox copiers for five years for $29,580. McAfee said the purchase of two smaller copiers, capable of printing 65 pages per minute (ppm) from Vanco would cost $32,350. This, he added, was the low bid received.

By going with a lease, he continued, the district could purchase the copiers for $1 at the end of the agreement. During the interim, Xerox would be responsible for everything except furnishing paper for the copiers. McAfee said the copiers will be worn out by the end of five years and will have printed more than a million copies. These copies, he added, are capable of printing 85 ppm. The agreement includes a clause which will allow the district to cancel the contract if Xerox doesn’t respond in a timely manner to make needed repairs to the machines.

The final order of business was to approve an $8,000 stipend for the GT coordinator.

The next meeting of the Nevada board will be at 7 p.m. on Sept. 27.