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Board sets ‘classified’ increases

By Ken McLemore/Hope Public Schools, 04/20/21 10:32 PM
HOPE – On the heels of providing a base salary increase for all “certified” personnel, the Hope
Public Schools Board voted unanimously Monday night to increase “classified” position salaries.
The increase will boost salaries for “classified” paraprofessional personnel by $1,000 per year
while raising the district “classified” salary schedule index for other personnel by 0.02. The move
will also provide an increase of $500 per year to all bus drivers.
Board President Linda Haynes said the change was deserved.
“They have worked extra hard this year, not just because of the pandemic,” Haynes said. “They
are appreciated in lots of ways, but this is one small way we can show that appreciation.”
The board approved a base salary increase of $2,000 per year for “certified” personnel,
primarily to teachers, in March.
Superintendent Dr. Bobby Hart recommended the board meet in special session again this
month to take care of year-end personnel matters that need to coincide with the close of the
academic year. The board will meet April 26.
Dr. Hart also recommended the creation of a districtwide psychological examiner position for the
special education program. He said those services are typically provided through the Southwest
Arkansas Education Cooperative but the SWAEC provider is retiring.
The examiner will coordinate and conduct state-required testing of students who qualify for
special education services and will be funded through federal monies for the first two years, Hart
said. The district typically tests more than 100 students annually, particularly at the
primary/elementary school level, according to HPS SPED Director Josclyn Wiley.
Hart said SWAEC is not likely to continue the services and the board can evaluate the need for
the position in two years.
Hart and HPS Facilities/Transportation Director Maurice Henry also updated the board
concerning plans for HVAC and environmental upgrades at Hope High School and Clinton
Primary School.
The plan calls for window replacements on the HHS campus, HVAC upgrades on both
campuses, environmental upgrade to the Yerger gymnasium weight room, deployment of CO2
sensors, continuation of a deep clean/disinfect contract with Ecovasive, addition of bus cameras
and other environmental controls.
Hart said the board will need to act on those projects after the funding allocation for new
COVID-19 based federal funds becomes clear. He said the district is eligible for some $9.9
million in funding, but Arkansas Department of Education guidance on funds usage remains
“Right now, we are on hold,” Henry said. “We’ve been working on this for a while and we can
get it done by next school year.”
Hart said direction from the state should be available within three weeks.
In other matters Monday, the board:
–Agreed to contract with Sherwood Lawn Services for upgrades to the American Legion Field at
Hope Fair Park for the high school baseball program at a cost of $113,000.
–Approved facilities use requests for Yerger gymnasium contingent upon applicants working out
a suitable schedule.
–Approved a contract for visa retention legal services for a resident-alien teacher contingent
upon repayment of legal fees.
–Approved personnel recommendations.