All certified personnel in the Caddo Hills School District were rehired for the 2016-17 school year following action by the board Monday night. The motion to accept Superintendent Deric Owens’s recommendation was made by Tammy Young and seconded by Terry Foshee.
Prior to the motion to rehire, the board went into executive session to discuss the superintendent’s recommendation.
Owens told the board that the district has received notice that a request for state Partnership status has been received and acknowledged by the Arkansas Department of Education (ADHE). Partnership funds are dispersed by the state to help build or renovate school facilities throughout the state.
Partnership Funds go through a lengthy process, beginning with an application by school district officials. After acceptance of the application, Arkansas Department of Education staff will review the application to determine that it meets existing criteria for funding. If all criteria are met, the district will receive a major portion of the costs involved for a particular construction project.
According to Superintendent Owens, “Our application was made for funding for the second year of state appropriations.” If final approval is received, the district will proceed with renovation of the cafeteria, which will include removal of the existing small stage area to allow additional seating for food service.
The second portion of the funding application would go to construct a full-size stage within the newly air conditioned Physical Education building to allow productions and activities on a year-round basis.
The board voted earlier this year to add a cooling system to the P.E. building to make it usable for school activities such as plays, concerts, school assemblies, graduation, and possibly some community events.
Owens told the board that electricity usage by the district had not declined as much as anticipated following installation of energy efficient lighting. He will monitor the savings and report to the board monthly for the next several months.
Owens noted that this winter was a difficult one to, compare since the schools were closed due to weather for six days last year and none this year.
The board voted to renew its participation in the Arkansas School Boards Association (ASBA) Policy Plan. The district will have access to a series of model plans suggested by ASBA that set suggested standards for schools throughout the state. Use of the model plans helps district personnel concentrate on student education rather than writing education policies. Cost of participation is $950 per year and can be renewed in 3-year increments.
Josh Bright, elementary school principal, told the board that Jaydin Waggoner, a 2nd grade student won, 1st place in the Youth Poster Contest sponsored by the Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission (KAB), and that Arlenee Rojo received an honorable mention .
The two students’ art will be displayed at the Thea Foundation’s Art Gallery March 14-18. The gallery is located at 401 Main Street, North Little Rock. The artwork can be viewed on KAB’s Facebook page within the next few weeks, according the Commission’s announcement.
Bright noted that the winning entry encouraged recycling and was captioned, “Keep Arkansas Clean and Green.”
Bright told the board that 3rd and 4th grade students will take the Aspire test April 26, while 5th and 6th grade students will take the Aspire test on May 2.
Parent Teacher Conferences will be held in the cafeteria for all district parents March 17. In addition, there will be a Financial Aid Night for junior and senior students conducted by Rich Mountain Community College that night.
Todd Baxley, high school principal, reported that Caddo Hills High School Student Council members have received a Gold Award of Excellence which will be presented at the Arkansas Student Council Conference April 1-2 in Little Rock. Justin Neel is faculty sponsor for the group.
ACT Aspire Testing will be held for 7th and 8th grade students April 11-14 and for 9th and10th grade students April 18-21, he noted.
Caddo Hills High School has been awarded a National Beta School of Merit based on a number of projects conducted by local students, he added.