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Hope School Board

By Eric Mclaurin, 03/17/23 4:57 PM
The Hope School Board met Thursday (3/16) for their March meeting.  Dr Johnathon Crossley cordially greeted those in attendance. Mrs Linda Haynes called the meeting to order.  Dr. Crossley rapidly presented his superintendent’s report which included talking about Yerger and the STEM Academy there. On April 7th from 5-7 PM there will be a grant ribbon cutting ceremony for Start Academy.  On April 17th the 5 year magnet grant strategic plan will be discussed. There is a $15 million magnet grant.  There will be a middle school magnet fair giving the students much more of a choice what they study.  Issues discussed will be millage, physical plant planning,and student foundation. One of the issues is the drainage project which will cost up to $24,000 fix.  Dr. Crossley announced the HAPS “Bot” Project will be going to the World Championship in Dallas. The district wants to create a K-12 magnet program.
   The recently passed state education bill, “LEARNS”, was discussed.  Financially, it will mostly affect districts like Hope on salaries.  Literacy and math standards are being rewritten. There is also discussion around “value added” measures. There was also discussion  about possibly seeking a millage increase.   Hope’s millage hasn’t changed in 35 years.
       Dr. Crossley talked about the aim to become the best paid district in the ArkLaTex area.  The base pay for teachers would be $50,000. The tentative financial amount to achieve this is $1.3 million dollars, which does not take into account federal funds.   Dr. Crosssley said the numbers would be checked to make sure they work. There will be a disparity based on property taxes.
     The school calendar was discussed including professional development days and inclement weather days. School will dismiss right after Memorial Day. Two times during the year there will be extended weeks. May 3rd will be a flex day. The school calendar was voted on and accepted.
     The Center for Strategic Leadership was discussed and the amount that could be awarded – a $3100 bonus was said not feasible but $1500 was. The goal is to take care of classified employees.
    Dr. Crossley stated the Arch Ford Coop is pulling out of the district and that the district lost $230,000 on the Alternative Learning Environment. The district has talked with Dawson Coop , which has been chosen. They have also talked with other coops. They will have flex classrooms next year. What would cost $483,000 to do on their own,  Dawson Coop can do for $397,000.   A memorandum of understanding which is ready to proceed. The composition amount came out of the CPPC (Classified Personal Policy Committee).
    Dr. Crossley wants to post a job by Spring Break for a social worker position with outreach to the homes.  While the ability to speak Spanish would not be required, it would be helpful with the large Spanish speaking population.
   The board looked at some work on library book shelves.  The lowest bid for this was $79,000. This would also involve seating and the funds are already available from an inside magnet grant for Clinton Primary. The question was asked and answered affirmatively if there were only two certified librarians. The motion to accept was put forward by Jimmy Courtney seconded by Alvis Hamilton and approved by all. Carpeting underneath the bookshelves is part of the upgrade as there currently is none.
Following this Crossly talked about an Memorandum of Understanding with Southern Arkansas University.  This is an attempt to help with teacher shortages by pairing teacher interns with mentor teachers. This would involve future teachers during their last semester. They would be getting paid as well as working and learning. As long as things went well,  the interns would have the opportunity to work for the district afterwards. They would be interviewed as a part of the process with the option not to hire.  Margaret Miss put forward a motion to accept,  Viney Johnson seconded and the board approved.
   The board met in executive session.   Upon reconvening, the board approved some hiring.
   Two student hearings closed out the meeting.  One student was expelled following the hearings.  The meeting then adjourned.