The Vilonia Board of Education, at the May meeting, gave the nod of approval to enter a partnership with the University of Arkansas Little Rock providing incoming ninth graders, entering the Freshman Academy, an opportunity to earn concurrent college credit and ultimately graduate high school with an associate’s degree.
“We are at a point we are ready to pull the trigger on this,” said Dr. David Stephens, addressing the board. “
Board members had several questions including who would be teaching the classes prior to approving the measure. Teachers are in place, Stephens said. Qualified teachers, he said, are already employed by the district. However, Cathy Riggins, assistant superintendent, said there will be some adjustments in teaching roles and student schedules to participate. Yet, she said, it “will not be a big change.”
She estimated there may be around 80 students to begin the program. Students, she explained, must qualify.
“You don’t get in by just signing up,” she said. It was said the opportunity to earn the concurrent college credits will help families economically as well as help students get on track for college. Several schools across the state, Riggins said, are already participating in concurrent enrollment.
“I think we have to remember this is an opportunity for a student to graduate with an associate’s degree,” she said. There is no guarantee that every student who begins the process will graduate with an associate’s degree but even if they don’t, she said, they will be ahead with some college courses.
The cost for each course is $50, she added.
In other business, the board:
--Approved the purchase of 7,400 gallons of diesel fuel from Green and Chapman at a cost of $1.7819 per gallon.
--Approved the purchase of 84 chromebooks from White River Services for $22,611.54.
--Approved the special education application regarding funding.
--Gave a thumbs up to student Harley Miflin on his Eagle Scout project to clear brush off the school’s walking trails, replace some boards and nail down rebar. Also, add six loads of gravel and clear trash around the pond and dig a deeper ditch. The work, he estimated, can be done in two weekends. “Sounds like a good deal,” said Randy Sanders, board president.
--Representatives of the Vilonia Eagle Football Foundation provided information regarding some of their latest projects including a Lift-A-Thon where football players will lift weights to raise money. Last year, it was said the fundraiser raised $13,000. This year’s goal is $30,000. The foundation hopes to purchase a new inflatable tunnel, measuring 30 ft. long and 20 ft. tall, at an estimated cost of $11,000 with a portion of the funding. It was said the foundation, recently, purchased end zone cameras. The VEFF representatives said that the foundation recently had a third year anniversary. It was also said since its beginning, the foundation has put more than “six figures” back into the football program.
--Approved School of Choice applications