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Board approves purchase of radios to increase bus safety

The Lonoke School Board approved the purchase of hand held radios to improve bus safety for students and bus drivers.

Superintendent Suzanne Bailey said she feels it is important to have some avenue of communication between the district and the bus drivers.

“Number one, for safety,” Bailey said.

Bailey said while the district does have some out-of-date radios, those radios are useless once the driver pulls away from campus as they have a limited range. She said even those who have cell phones can not use them while driving by state law, unless they pull over.

“We’re communicationless, basically,” Bailey said.

The board unanimously approved the purchase of Motorola radios from Grace Communications of North Little Rock, found through the state contract list, for $44,729.21. This includes a base for the administration building and 27 mobile radios for the buses.

This fall, elementary and primary school teachers and students will have a new math book resource available. Due to older textbooks not in conjunction with the current common core teaching methods, teacher requested updated material. Upon the recommendation, the board unanimously approved to purchase Math and Focus textbooks for the primary and elementary school. Primary books for students in kindergarten through second grade will cost $14,3755. Elementary school textbooks will cost $21,371.

Board members Mike Brown, zone 1, position 4 and Tony Kellybrew, zone 1, position 3, are both up for re-election in September. Due to Brown and Kellybrew running unopposed, the board unanimously voted to pass a voting resolution asking that no polling sites be opened and only allow absentee and early voting for the September school board election.

Due to the death of board member Chris James on July 28, the board unanimously voted to appoint to Mike Brown as disbursing officer for all district check. James was the school board secretary and represented zone 2, position 1 of the district for the past four years. The board will appoint someone to take James’ place on the board during an upcoming meeting.

Following executive session, the board voted to unanimously to accept resignations, transfers and new hires for the district. Resignations accepted were from food service secretary Carolyn Walls and first grade teacher Megan Loney.

Teacher transfers approved were Anthony Ponder from elementary physical education to special education and physical education at primary; Sonya Scroggins from elementary special education to middle school special education; Rhina Odom from pre-kindergarten to first grade.

New employees hired for the high school are Jennifer Holland, math teacher for high school and the Committed to other Routes of Education program and Paul Brown for Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps.

Middle school new employee is Elizabeth Doyle, EAST Facilitator.

New elementary school employee is Belinda Lawrence, Special Education.

Primary School new employees are April Cox Davidson, pre-kindergarten teacher; Amber Starks, pre-kindergarten teacher; and Krystal McCoy, enrichment/interventionist.

Also during the meeting, the board unanimously approved:

•The purchase of athletic insurance through Health Specialty Risk of Carrollton, Texas

•To authorize contract with Allied Therapy and Consulting for special education services

•Board Policy Changes from the Arkansas School Board Association

•All handbook changes for the Primary, Elementary, Middle and High School handbooks for the 2013-2014 school year

•To update district agreement with The Learning Institute (TLI) for $46,807

•Four legal transfer requests, three out of Lonoke School District to Cabot School District; One from Cabot School District into Lonoke School District

•To renew vehicle insurance through Arkansas Public School Insurance Trust for $13,295

•Food service bids from Flowers Baking Company of Batesville for bread products and Highland Dairy for milk services

•Extend the contract of head volleyball/softball coach Laura Park from 11 months to 12 months.

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