The Crossett School District’s business manager told the board of education Monday that he would be watching the upcoming legislative session to see if the General Assembly votes to require further teacher raises.
Business Manager Norman Hill had already told the board that the district was absorbing an additional $230,000 in annual payroll costs this year after the state cut off the supplement that it was sending for previously mandated pay raises.
“The state stopped paying for state-mandated raises,” Hill said. “They paid for it through last year, but this year they refused to pay for it any more.”
Hill’s comments about the session came when board member Eddie Goodson asked him what proposals for the coming session he would be keeping an eye on.
Hill said the legislature may be mandating another pay raise for licensed personnel and an up to $2 an hour raise for classified personnel.
“Depending on the wording of the law, that would put us $275,000 short of paying for state mandated raises,” Hill said.
Hill said he is not opposed to raises, but that if the state is going to mandate them he would like for the Assembly to look at the school funding formula as well.
The business manager also told the board that the district’s tax collections were down $381,000 compared to this time last year, which he said was a surprise since the assessment for the district was the same.
“I am hoping it is just a collection (delay) and around January we will make that up or it will be a loss,” he said.
Goodson said he believed that the inflation experienced in the last year had caused many people to wait to pay their taxes until later instead of earlier.
In other news, school administrators filled the board in on what they are doing as part of their professional learning community training and to improve student performance.
Crossett High School Principal Stephanie Brooks told the board that the core subject teachers are beginning to use a tracker program.
“Every student, every essential standard, they are tracking their progress,” Mrs. Brooks said. “In January, (teachers) will use that to map out their units for next semester. If I have 120 students and 100 of them have already mastered that standard, the remaining 20 of them will receive (a) tier II intervention.”
Having the trackers will also help with parent-teacher conferences in February, she said, because it will show parents, “what has my student done, what can we do to help them?”
Crossett Elementary School Assistant Principal John Brooks told the board that CES is getting ready for NWEA testing.
“We are really excited about that, we are really confident in what our students are going to produce in the upcoming testing,” Mr. Brooks said. “We are going to get some parent letters that we are going to send out promoting being there for the test, getting rest, getting a good breakfast at home or getting to school on time to get a good breakfast.”
Crossett Middle School Principal Nick Adams said the CMS team has been doing a lot of work with its professional learning community contacts and is working on essential standards.
“We are doing good work in that direction, the right work, and now we just have to assemble all the pieces,” Adams said.
In other news:
+Superintendent Anthony Boykin recognized board President Debra Barnes for receiving the master board member designation for earning at least 50 hours of board training.
+Members of the Crossett High School robotics team demonstrated their work for the board, and the Crossett Middle School choir performed three songs during the meeting.
+CHS student Ryan Green spoke to the board about her experience of becoming a licensed Certified Nursing Assistant while still in high school.
+English teacher Bryan Clark spoke to the board about the game system he has developed to increase student engagement.
+Barnes told the board that while at a board training she attended a presentation about a four-day school week, and that one of the presenters had indicated a willingness to make a similar presentation to the board if they were interested.
Barnes said she was bringing it up to find out if the other board members would be willing to think about it or run the idea by the district’s teachers to get their feelings about it.
While the board members briefly discussed the possible issues with implementing such a system, they did not express an immediate desire to hear the pitch from the presenter and the discussion moved on without a clear “yes” or “no” to the question of hearing more.
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