The Crossett School District’s finance director reported that a proposal about teacher salaries during the upcoming legislative session could affect smaller school districts, including Crossett.

Finance Director Norman Hill told the Crossett School Board Monday night stating that the district is in “good shape.”

But when school board member Eddie Goodson asked Hill if there were any upcoming issues in the state legislature that the district should be concerned about, he said there is discussion of increasing teacher’s starting base salaries to $36,000 statewide. The Crossett District has a starting salary of $33,000.

“It sounds bad to say we don’t want to increase to $36,000, because I would like to see it go even higher, to $40,000 or more, but we can’t fund it though the smaller schools,” Hill said.

The finance director told the board there was already a deficit between the money the school receives as teachers move up on the pay matrix. The small increase could cost the district hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“It sounds bad to send a group of people to say don’t increase the starting salary,” Hill said, adding that if the government would fund more of it, then it wouldn’t be a burden to the rural or poor schools.

Goodson asked that Hill keep the board posted on the issue.

In other news:

-Superintendent Gary Williams reported that enrollment was currently down from last year by a small amount, but the kindergarten class was larger than average and he hoped that would set a precedent for future kindergarten classes, which will increase the numbers as those younger grades move up through the system.

-The board approved the purchase of new office furniture for the high school in the amount of $36,719.78.

-Maintenance Director Phillip Kelley said the recent bus inspection went well and that the new bus is in. Kelley also reported that discipline was down on the buses and he credited some of the new policies. Kelley said they are having trouble with the new cameras, but he hopes to get the kinks worked out.

School bus safety week will begin on Oct. 22. Among other activities, Jennifer Buffington with transportation will speak to the lower elementary schools about school bus safety.

-District Construction Manager Mike Webb said the new CHS building is on track and some buildings are ready to start moving furniture in. Webb said they will start moving furniture into the classroom buildings Oct. 15.

-The board approved the hiring of Ginger Rutherford as a Crossett Elementary Special Education teacher.

-The board approved the Minority Recruitment Plan as presented by Barbara Garner, the Demonstration of Compliance: Supplement, Not Supplant Under ESSA as presented by Gary Williams and the Annual Equity Compliance Report as presented by Williams.

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