Marked Tree School holds annual public meeting

Friday, August 25, 2017

The Marked Tree School District held their annual public meeting Monday prior to their August School Board meeting.

During the meeting, Superintendent Matt Wright said enrollment was currently at 525 students K-12. He said that since 2011, the district's building fund--which was started by previous Superintendent Annesa Thompson--has been built up to $522,767. Last year, the district did a plumbing and locker room renovation at the gym with help from the state. This year, Wright said they hope to do renovation at both the elementary and high school if the six mill increase passes on Sept. 19. This would raise the district's millage from 33.5 to 39.5.

As stated in last week's Democrat Tribune in greater detail, Wright said the millage increase, along with $4.3 million offered by the state, would go toward demolishing and rebuilding sections of the high school and elementary which are between 60-70 years old. "We wanted to have an environment that was safe," Wright said. The plan will connect buildings so that students will no longer have outside transitions between classes, will make sure each school has one central entrance that visitors must be buzzed in at, will increase the buildings' energy efficiency both for HVAC and technology, and will put in hardened areas at both campuses to act as storm shelters. Wright said he is going to be out in the community talking to people about the millage vote and that students will also be handing out information at events prior to the election.

For 2017-18 goals, Wright listed continuing to improve the facilities and continuing contributing to the building fund, continuing training and support in technology, providing intervention and enrichment for struggling learners, improving reading levels across the district, and continuing professional development for teachers.

Elementary Principal Lisa Gray and High School Principal Kim Smith also presented on the elementary, middle school, and high school.

During the School Board meeting, the board approved a resolution to do business with several people who are either school employees or related to school employees. These included: Lee Whitfield, electrician; Vicki Green, catering; Brad Parrish, umpire; Tommy McCrary, lawncare; Lisa Rains' husband, who does lawncare; Brenda Criswell's son, who does construction; Kathy Johnson, who owns Santa's North Pole; and the Marked Tree Water Department. Wright said since he is now superintendent and his mother works for the Water Department, the board had to approve doing business with the Water Department for auditing purposes.

The board also approved this year's career coach payment. The state grant for career coaches ran out a few years ago, but schools could choose to continue the program on their own. Marked Tree partners with EPC and ASUN for this program, and Marked Tree's portion of the career coach salary is $6,629.08.

In other business, the board:

*Set the school board election for May.

*Approved Arkansas Department of Education recommended breakfast and lunch increases for adults. Adult breakfast is a five cent increase to $2.10, and adult lunch is a ten cent increase to $3.55.

*heard building reports from the principals.

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