Mena School Board Meeting
Tuesday, May 17th, 2022
The meeting began with special guests and a presentation. Mena High School yearbook advisor Andy Philpot, yearbook editor Lexi Dilbeck and student life human interest editor Leilani Knight spoke to the board about their strategies and experiences while producing the 2022 yearbook. The trio presented each board member with a copy of the yearbook.
Superintendent Dr. Lee Smith then reminded those in attendance that early voting is currently underway through May 23rd and that election day is May 24th. Smith also reminded everyone that the board will be required to restructure at the June meeting.
Next Dr. Smith notified the board that he had learned that the district will be able to use ARP Funds to replace the tile floors with polished concrete. Polished concrete has been shown to be
A cleaner option. Approval was given that will allow Smith to seek proposals and act on them accordingly.
Mena High School Principal David Maxwell then shared the plan for the 2022 Graduation Ceremony on Saturday, May 21st, at 10:00am. A total of 94 graduates will receive their diploma at Bob Carver Bearcat Stadium. In the event of rain the ceremony will be moved to the Union Bank Center with overflow set up in the cafeteria and performing arts center.
Maxwell was then asked to address the board about academic options at Mena High School that have been or will be implemented in order to maximize the 716 academic days that are afforded each student. These include increased offerings in science, math, ag science and business. A streamlined course catalog, continued efforts to engage students and more.
Assistant Superintendent Bridget Buckley then spoke on summer school and the summer camps that will be held during the summer months. An impressive number of students have signed up for summer school including 45 students at Louise Durham Elementary, 91 students at Holly Harshman Elementary and 35 students at Mena Middle School. A number was not available for Mena High School. The summer day camps are planned in June at all four campuses and so far 95 students have signed up with more expected.
District Maintenance Supervisor Danny Minton then updated the board on projects. He stated that the location for the new outdoor classrooms at each campus have been selected. A new dishwasher has been ordered for LDE. A new freezer will be installed soon at HHE. Turf replacement at BCBS is scheduled to begin on May 27th and should be completed in three weeks with paving of the “D” zones to follow. A number of projects are scheduled for this summer including power washing the stadium bleachers, moving gas lines at MMS, replacing flanges on bathroom toilets at MHS and remodeling one of the kitchen classrooms at MMS.
Next on the agenda was the renewal of the contract keeping Aramark as the food service management company. As well as the renewal of the agreement with Horizon for free and reduced lunch fund software. Both passed with no discussion.
Dr. Smith then spoke about a communication gap that was recently exposed in the school bus fleet.
He recommended and the board approved the purchase and installation of two way radios at a cost of $41,000.00 to help insure the safety and security of the students.
The board next approved the use of Emergency Connectivity Funds to purchase 830 Chromebooks for student use.
Dr. Smith then explained how additional COVID duty pay will be made available to employees through the American Recovery Plan. This will be for 116 school days during the pandemic.
The board quickly approved the new salary schedule. It included an increase in pay for all employees that was discussed and finalized in previous meetings.
The school choice deadline ended on May 1st and Dr. Smith notified the board that 7 students chose to leave the district and 8 students will be coming to Mena from surrounding districts.
The board approved the financial reports after Smith stated that revenue is outpacing expenses and the district is on pace to complete the year on target. He also noted that in the first year partnering with Aramark on concessions there was a profit of $11,000.00.
Finally there were a large number of changes in personnel.
Corey Collins – Jr. Boys Basketball /Asst. Baseball / MMS instructor
Kelly Bowen – Bus Driver
Max Hartwig – AE Para / Bus Driver
Susan Tyler – MHS SPED Teacher
Jamie Copelin – Lead PreK Paraprofessional
Rebecca Sprague – LDE SPED Teacher
Crystal Reed – MHS SPED Para
Sandra Spencer – LDE SPED Para
Reagan Hansard – HHE Para
Robert Gallego - From a “C” bus route to a “D” route.
Wanalynn Alexander – From MHS SPED to MMS SPED due to increased student count.
Bethany Meaders - From SPED to general education.
Debbie Hankins - From LDE SPED self contained to SPED resource classroom.
All were approved as was the early release of Amy Montgomery effective May 31st,2022. Montogmery submitted her resignation at the April meeting.