Personnel issues weighed heavy at board meeting

Friday, May 16, 2003

In the regular meeting of the Marked Tree Board of Education on Monday, May 12, questions were brought to the board by area residents concerning a former district employee. Jerry Webb, of Marked Tree, addressed the board about its acceptance of a faculty member's resignation and questioned the board's knowledge of accusations against the former employee.

Masters was advised by counsel not to discuss anything involving any district employees or former employees. He did say, however, that he personally interviewed students concerning the accusations of the former faculty member immediately upon the first indication that warranted an investigation.

"I intend to let the police determine guilt or innocence," Masters said. "Facts will not be hidden," he said. "We will make no attempt to shelter or protect anyone who has done wrong."

Masters has offered professional counseling to the students interviewed and their families may contact the counselors at their discretion. "They have to make no contact at all with the school at access counseling for their students at any time," Masters said.

Master explained that there is a state requirement in effect that requires fingerprinting and background checks for new hires, and this requirement has been in place for at least three years, when concerns were voiced that the current situation could happen again.

On a positive note, Masters announced to the board that the district had been removed from the fiscal distress list. Masters received a letter from the Arkansas Department of Education, written April 15, congratulating the district. Marked Tree Schools had been listed in Phase I of Fiscal Distress.

In other business, the board

*accepted a two-year projected budget developed by Rainey and Beardsley

*accepted the resignations of Terry Henthorne and Claudette Jennings, effective at the end of the school year

*voted to transfer sick days between teachers

*voted to hire LeeAnn Ferrell as family and consumer science teacher, Crystal Cline as first grade teacher, Amy Gean as third grade teacher, Kristy Shrable as third grade teacher, Terry Carter as full-time sub to work in the alternative school

*voted to hire Tim Branum as Dean of Students for next year with a stipend of $3,000

*voted to offer an 11 month contract to LouAnn Blagg as Technology Coordinator

*voted to rescind the motion to non-renew Sandra Casteel

*reviewed the technology plan presented by LouAnn Blagg

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