HOPE – Two major changes coming to the Hope Public Schools were the focus of discussion and action Monday night for the Hope Public Schools Board as it reviewed the first draft of a policies manual for a planned school-based health clinic and voted to increase substitute teacher pay in keeping with changes in state law.
The single point of concern among board members regarding the policies manual draft for the school-based clinic planned for the Hope High School campus revolved around responsibilities under the Health Insurance Privacy and Portability Act (HIPPA).
Zone 8 Representative David “Bubba” Powers expressed his concern about language in the draft that seemed to limit parental notification under the policy; but, Superintendent Dr. Bobby Hart explained that the language was draft language and had been pulled from Arkansas Department of Education and other policies.
Powers also asked how the policy manual distinguishes between school district employee liability and that of the contracted medical health provider for the clinic.
Dr. Hart said district employees are covered under HPSD liability insurance, while the contracted medical health provider is responsible for providing his or her own medical malpractice insurance.
The board took no action on the policy manual, pending submission of a final version and a recommendation from Hart.
The board voted unanimously among members present to adopt an increase in substitute teacher daily pay rates. The current rate required by state law is $8.50 per hour, which translates to $68 per day. The new rate, based upon a change in state law, is $9.25 an hour, or $74 per day.
Zone 4 Representative Jimmy Courtney and Powers asked how the changes in the state minimum wage law adopted by voters in November will affect the district.
Hart said the district will see some affect upon contracted costs, and he is watching the impact of the change statewide.
“Ours is not going to be great; we don’t have a huge classified staff,” Hart said.
In other matters Monday night, the board:
--Accepted for review a recommended memorandum of understanding from the University of Arkansas at Hope regarding the structure and operation of the Hope Careers and Professions Academy on the UAHT campus.
--Approved the use of Hope High School facilities for the annual Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Military Ball.
--Accepted the resignation of junior high coach Terry Daniels.
--Acknowledged the recognition by the University of Arkansas Office for Education Policy of the Beryl Henry Elementary School, Yerger Middle School, Hope Academy of Public Service, and Hope High School campuses as schools that are “Beating the Odds” in academic assessment growth by their students in the 2018 administration of the ACT Aspire.