Hope School Board

By Staff, 07/20/20 8:17 PM

The Hope School Board met via Zoom on Monday for their July meeting.  Following the approval of the finances and minutes, the board moved into a report from Assistant Superintendent Josclyn Wiley.

Mrs. Wiley gave an update on Special Education.  The report was detailed and shared a variety of activities, grants, Imagination Library, and some monetary savings as well.  Dr. Bobby Hart said during his tenure this was the cleanest special education audit the district has had.  Board member Kathryn Dickinson asked if students were receiving books through the Imagination Library and it was noted they were.

Dr. Hart gave an update on the virtual academy.  He said around 450 students have enrolled in the district’s virtual academy.  He envisioned that possible up to 600 students could sign up for it.  He noted anywhere from 22 to 39 students per grade have opted for virtual classes.  Dr. Hart gave the complete numbers for each class.  He also discussed some of the needs for teachers for the fall semester and that the district may not have to fill some vacancies.  Dr. Hart answered some questions on the virtual classes such as how teachers count attendance.  School Improvement Specialist also fielded some questions on how the virtual learning would work.  Jeff Madlock also fielded some questions.

Dr. Hart discussed the reopening plans.  He noted that he had planned to bring a “face-covering” piece to the board but the Governor had mandated it first.  Dr. Hart says the Governor is mandating those 10 and up but Dr. Hart is advocating a “K-12” implementation.   Board member Jimmy Courtney asked if there was any way the students could social distance and remove their masks, especially if teachers can remove their if they’re 12 feet away from students.  Dr. Hart said most teachers will be moving among students and will rarely if ever be in a stationary area 12 feet away.  Board member Bubba Powers noted the board is social distanced and some aren’t wearing masks but he thinks there will be public push-back on this.  That being said Powers said the district’s obligation is to protect students, faculty, and staff.  He said he is in support of the policy.  Board member Viney Johnson asked if students refuse to wear a mask.  Dr. Hart said they will reach out to parents.  He noted the parents may choose for the student to go virtual.  Dr. Hart says there is an enforceable mandate from the Governor although Dr. Hart said he didn’t know how that would work.  Also, medical conditions that would prevent the child from wearing a mask would be taken into consideration.  Board member Alvis Hamilton asked who provides the masks.  Dr. Hart noted the students and staff will receive three cloth masks each and the district has over 10,000 masks.   Jimmy Courtney asked about the breaks from the masks for students.  Dr. Hart said they didn’t know about breaks at this point but that it was agreed 45 minutes without a break was too long.   The board agreed to the k-12 mask policy by acclimation.

The board approved some changes to the calender for the coming year.  Some of this had to do with professional development from the teachers.  Dr. Hart said about 165 out of 189 classroom teachers responded.  Some of the professional development will cut in to the Thanksgiving holiday but it will be virtual and the teachers will not have to go anywhere.  Dr. Hart noted the calender still requires 178 student/teacher interaction days.  The calendar revision was approved.

The board looked at a personnel policy which was not acted upon at the last meeting.  The board voted to retain the previous policy as opposed to a revised policy that was presented by the personnel policies committee during previous meetings.

The board approved the “statement of assurance” for federal programs.  This is essentially a “housekeeping” move  approved every year by the board.

The board looked at 3 “school choice” requests.  Dr. Hart noted these requests are generally acted upon in July and December.  The first request came from a parent who wishes to allow her daughter start kindergarten in Prescott.  She said they hope to move to Prescott in the future and wanted her to start school there.  Also there is a family member in Prescott who can pick up her daughter from school.  The mother works in Hope in an office.  The board voted against the request by a vote of 4 to 2.  The board also rejected two school choice requests.

The board discussed some “biostatic disinfectant”.  For about $30,000, the company would disinfect the entire school four times a year.  Dr. Hart didn’t have the specific bid so the board took no action and will discuss it in the future.

Personnel matters closed out the meeting.  The board handled this in executive session and took action when the meeting reconvened.  The meeting then adjourned.