Board adopts new election month
Board adopts new election month
Ken McLemore, Hope Public Schools

HOPE – Conforming to a change in state law which requires school elections to fall in line with either preferential primary or general election dates, the Hope Public Schools Board opted Monday night to begin conducting school elections in May, beginning May, 2018.

The September, 2017, election date will be the last fall election date for the district.

Act 910 of 2017 requires school districts to conduct school board elections in conjunction with either May or November dates when political preference primary and general elections are conducted on the county/state or national level.

The Arkansas School Boards Association has not made a specific recommendation to school boards, except to strongly favor school districts making a decision between the two months prior to Jan. 1, 2018. That, according to the ASBA, will allow the district to both notify the county clerk of the change and provide for a full filing period in 2018 beginning Feb. 22.

“There are currently many unanswered questions on Act 910 and the related issues,” the ASBA said in a statement to districts. “We are told that officials will be reviewing the Act and developing recommendations. ASBA hopes to be involved in that process.”

The board adopted the change Monday night without discussion.

Also Monday night, HPS Superintendent Bobby Hart commended the work of Hope bands program director Julie Gladden and Creative Action Team School (CATS) Principal Mike Radebaugh for their quick development of their respective programs.

Gladden told the board that the HPS bands program has grown through the summer into the first week of school from about 50-60 students to some 200 in grades 5-12. She said the Hope High School Band currently has 35 members, and the “beginner band” program has some 150 students on the Beryl Henry Elementary, Yerger Middle School and Hope Academy of Public Service campuses.

The HHS band performed at a back to school pep rally Monday morning and the HHS drum line has performed at two other public venues to date, Gladden said.

“We are proud of the program, so far; we thank you and your staff for your time and hard work,” Hart said.

Radebaugh said his program currently has seven full-time students and expects two others to enroll by the end of the week. The program currently has students in grades 8-12, and has been strongly supported by parents, he said.

“He has done a tremendous job of getting everything started and certified,” Hart said.

In other actions Monday, the board:

--Adopted a policy change to increase the travel stipend for commuting teachers from $180 to $360.

--Adopted for purchase of a science curriculum at Clinton Primary School at a cost of $28,825.50, paid through Title I funds.

--Received a copy of the Southwest Arkansas Arts Council program for the year which will be available free to public school students.

--Adopted a South Arkansas Migrant Education Cooperative grant proposal.

--Accepted the bid of Oak Farms Dairy for milk products and Flowers Baking Company for bread products.

--Adopted an updated internet safety policy for students using district online and web-based technology.

--Nominated Board President Willie Buck to represent the district as its regional ASBA nominee.

--Approved use of the HHS cafeteria by the Hope Kiwanis Club for its annual Dean Murphy Pancake Supper, and Yerger Middle School for the Women of Hope/Men of Valor Youth Conference.

--Changed the status of the assistant food services director to food services secretary.

--Adopted the district’s annual statement of assurances under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.

--Accepted resignations from Stephanie Crow, Nancy Kenworthy, and Justin Clark.

--Affirmed classified position hiring of Amber Butler, administrative assistant to CPS principal; Ashley Smith, paraprofessional CPS; Kayla Moore, principal’s secretary YMS; Lynn Mclleland, Don Hall and Billy Rook, bus drivers; Timothy Boyd, maintenance Samantha Crocker and Kenyetta Vaughn, HHS secretarial; Casey Norman, cafeteria staff; Heather Smith, cafeteria manager; Wendi Marlar, Renata Bishop, Myleigh Jones, CPS paraprofessional; David Williams, HHS paraprofessional; Doreen Banks, custodial; Jayevon Rhodes, BHE aide; and Chiquita Arnold and Diana Sharp, lead custodians.

--Affirmed certified position hiring of Mandy Drews, HAPS literacy; Cassie Schoenberg, CPS library/media; Zack Pinson, CPS Special Education; Penny Walker, HHS math; Sarah Burns, HHS Special Education; and Shonda Young, YMS/HAPS technology teacher.

--Affirmed building level stipends for Cassie Schoenberg, CPS parent facilitator; Courtney Howard, HHS student council sponsor; Christie Tucker, HHS yearbook sponsor; and Patti Roberts, HHS testing coordinator.