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Board service honored

By John Miller, 01/21/22 4:05 PM

PRESCOTT – It was board appreciation month for the Prescott School Board at its January meeting Thursday night.

The board was presented gifts for their service and plaques for completing their required hours of training. Superintendent Robert Poole talked about how being a board member is a tough jobĀ  with no pay and little appreciation at times.

Prescott Elementary School Principal Kim Grimes gave the members gifts from PES, saying it’s been a bittersweet year as the millage was passed to build a new elementary school, but leaving the old one won’t be easy. She told the board she hoped they enjoyed their gifts and made sure there was something for each of them to remember the old PES – a framed photo.

Poole said the new building will be ready by the start of next year and demolition on the old one will begin then. He told the board, and audience, construction is experiencing delays as it can’t get the foam required for the cafeteria freezers, which is on back order.

Enrollment for the district is at 899, with 330 in PES, 269 in Prescott Junior High School and 300 in Prescott High School.

Financially, he said, things look good for the district as it’s bringing in more than it’s spending.

In talking about the mask policy, Poole said four employees are currently out with Covid, as are 22 students. He pointed out other students are absent with other illnesses, such as strep-throat and the flu. “This is good considering other districts,” he said, “We’re able to remain open and as long as we have the staff, we’ll stay open.” He added, it’s important for teachers and students to be in school, pointing out the district does have a mask policy in place and it will remain so as long as needed.

In other business, Julia Wood was named preschool director.

The panel was given copies of Fouke’s student drug policy and told to look over it. This policy will be discussed at the February meeting and, if approved, be instituted for the 22-23 school year. Poole said this policy is for students only, but the district also tests all those who transport students.

The questions was raised about coaches having commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs). Reed Koger said this is something the district needs to do as CDL testing is changing and will be more expensive in the future.

Jo Beth Glass disagreed, saying some people aren’t CDL material, adding she wouldn’t want to be responsible for driving students. She pointed out coaches have other things to think about than driving.

Koger pointed out there’s a national shortage of bus drivers and being short of drivers could get the district in a bind. The district, he said, is already short of drivers and there could be problems especially with spring sports coming up with a lot of teams being on the road.

Poole said he could see both sides of the argument and will look into it. He agreed some people don’t need to be bus drivers.

Glass suggested offering teachers the chance to get CDL licenses if they want. Koger upped the ante suggesting the district offer a stipend for those who drive for extracurricular activities. This will be looked into.