Marked Tree School Board raises fee

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Marked Tree School Board raised the rental fee for its elementary school cafeteria a substantial amount at its regular monthly meeting on Monday night. Whereas the district previously charged $25 for non-school related usage of the Marked Tree Elementary Cafeteria, it will now charge $200.

"The $25 fee has been in place for a very long time, and its not enough for the usage of the facilities anymore," Superintendent Annesa Thompson said. "We are not trying to come out ahead, we just need to raise it to where it is not costing the school."

The superintendent said the school is contacted on a weekly basis from several interested parties in renting the facility out, as it is one of few places in Marked Tree with a large enough space to house particular events.

Thompson added that the school's previous practice in charging extra if a cafeteria worker was needed at an event will still be in place. The practice was to charge the worker's compensation for however long they were needed at the facility.

The board also talked about saving money for the district by participating in a new program provided by Entergy.

"In an effort to conserve energy, Entergy has programs available for consumers to get involved in," Thompson said.

The program of interest to the board involved placing a device on the school's server, which would cause the computers to go to sleep when inactive for a few seconds.

The board voted to participate in the program that will cost nothing to them, and save the district an approximated $20,000 to $30,000 a year. Marked Tree High School Principal Matt Wright said the estimation was based on the savings of other schools.

In other business, the board:

*watched an overview of Tina Hotchkiss' 3rd grade and Jessica Li's 4th grade math classroom teaching and learning styles.

*accepted the resignation of Holly West at the end of her current contract.

*voted to extend Superintendent Thompson's contract by an additional year.

*recognized board members Glenda Drace, Brian Parrish, Lee Whitfield, Vickie Green, and Jessica Fernandez for their service on the board in honor of January being Arkansas School Board Recognition Month. Thompson said Whitfield was the longest serving board member with the most service hours, 240.75.

*discussed the Digital Learning Grant. According to Thompson, legislatures recently passed Act 1280 which requires students, beginning with the 9th grade class of the 2014-2015 school year, to take at least one digital learning course for credit to graduate. Thompson said the Digital Learning Grant is available to pay for the tuition of in the courses for students. She added she will bring it back up in the February meeting, as she only wanted to inform the board members of the new requirement.

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