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No speaker at BHS graduation

By Staff, 02/7/20 9:40 AM

BLEVINS – Graduation for Blevins High School will take less time this year.

This is what the Blevins School Board was told during its February meeting Thursday night. Graduation will be held May 15 at 7 p.m. at Hempstead Hall. The main change to the program is there will be no featured speaker. This was done to cut time. Pretty much everything is in place for graduation, with the exception of who the valedictorian and salutatorian will be, along with the lead ushers.

In other business, the board approved the 2020-21 salary schedules. The board had no option in approving the schedule for teachers as it’s been mandated by the state. However, the problem will be year after next when the district has to pick up the full tab for the pay raises. Another problem is the state’s schedule is for 15 steps, while Blevins has 21 steps. This year, those with 16 or more years’ experience won’t be getting a raise, while those with 15 years or less will get the state mandated increase. According to Stephanie Dixon, Blevins superintendent, those with more experience will be getting an increase next year.

In addition to teachers getting raises, the minimum wage increase brought up the salary of all non-certified personnel as well, including bus drivers. On the topic of stipends, which is pay for work done after hours, it also was increased due to the minimum wage hike. One major change was for the technical coordinator, who was removed from the step program and will be paid a flat salary of $52,411 a year.

The board approved a calendar for the 2020-21 school year. School will start on Aug. 13 next year at Blevins.

The panel also approved spending $10,470 to purchase 30 chromebooks to fill out a cart and have enough for students. The chromebooks will be purchased from CDWG.

The district’s minority teacher and administrator recruitment program was approved. Dixon said the district has had success going to teacher fairs and will continue to do so.

Eighty-two students at Blevins Elementary School received dental sealants through a recent program, and 50 participated with the party bus on Jan. 27. Grandview Plantation brought an alligator to BES to show students.

Those students who are failing and might not pass are being met with regularly to try and help them get their grades up so they can advance. There is also a program where classes with 100 percent attendance get an extra recess, but this has been curtailed due to recent illness.

The board was also reminded Blevins will be hosting the junior high district basketball tournament next week.

Enrollment at Blevins High School is at 208 and ACT testing will be done on Feb. 25. If there’s perfect attendance at the ACT test, those students will get a surprise. The Blevins Future Business Leaders of America (FBL) team competed at the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope (UACCH) and six of the 11 students qualified for the state event in April.

The board also accepted the resignation of BES assistant principal Emma Burke.