School board deals with several issues at February meeting....

The Vilonia Board of Education has paved the way for a new access route to Frank Mitchell Intermediate School.

A discussion of traffic issues regarding entrance and exit issues at the school, the board approved the purchase of 1.8 acres of land from a nearby neighbor Darris McClure for $20,000 to build a 30-foot-wide, two lane road from South Coker Road. The road will also provide access to a planned saferoom and additional parking.

“It will give three points of entry in case of an emergency,” said Dr. David Stephens, school superintendent, addressing the board. Stephens also said that he has met with County Judge Jim Baker who has committed to helping with the project. Other stipulations, on the land owner’s end, Stephens said, is that a new fence must be built, a right of way must be adhered to and the road must be named in honor of Deidre McClure.

Also, the board approved bids for the building of a safe room and adding a canopy over a walkway at the school for $1,733,618. It was said the saferoom project will take about seven months to build. The cost of the canopy will be about $65,758.

Other business:

--A request from Pastor Nathan Kilbourne of the Vilonia United Methodist Church, the board approved the Vilonia Ministerial Alliance sponsoring baccalaureate and the senior breakfast.

--Approved the purchase of two Chromebook carts with 30 Dell Chromebooks each for $10,527.29 for the Frank Mitchell Intermediate School. Principal Andy Pennington said a portion of the money for the purchase was raised by students. The purchase will allow each “team of teachers,” he said to have a Chromebook cart.  

--Sherry Koonce of the Faulkner County Collector’s office addressed the board regarding potential new legislation involving veterans that, she said, would increase school district revenue. She asked for the board’s support of the legislation.

--The board approved the update of current polices including duties of the board disbursing officer, licensed personnel employment, student transfers and volunteers. It was said the board will now have flexibility regarding student transfers and some volunteers, who work under supervision, will not be required to have a background check. Those going on overnight trips, however, will be required to have them.

After nearly two hours in executive session, the board accepted the resignations of Kathy Payne, Irma Ramirez and Vincent Rappold (bus driver). Approved the employment of Greg Clements, maintenance, and Lori Daves as a bus driver.

Approved hiring substitutes including Kaylee Dobyns, Jordan Reeves, Jennifer Briggs, Ashley Moreno, Janet Ray, Wendy Bundick, Joshua McEntire, Stacy Simpson and Sarah Price. Also, the board approved a contract change for Jessica Castle as Beta sponsor.

Extended the contract of Dr. David Stephens thru June 2019. Approved renewal contracts for the following administration including Cathy Riggins, assistant superintendent; Ed Sellers, assistant superintendent/athletic director; Matt Sewell, high school principal; Ronnie Simmons, principal Freshman Academy; Lori Lombardi, middle school principal; Andy Pennington, intermediate school principal; Kelly Walters, principal at the elementary; Susan Loyd, principal at the primary. Other contracts renewed included: assistant principals Rick Kelley, Tim Bullington, Rodney Partee, Amy Goers, Kim Lacy and Jody Brewer.

Other contracts approved for administrators include Elizabeth Kelley, special education director;  Josh Hart, assistant special education director/examiner; Kevin Luck, business manager; Evan Beavers, technology director; Teresa Alcon, director of transportation;  James Ellison, director of transportation;  Cynthia Booker, director of ABC/daycare services; Sophia Hogan, director of food services;  Vandy Nash, curriculum specialist program administrator K-6; and Deborah Knowles, curriculum specialist program administrator 7-12.

The meeting concluded with an announcement that three students were to be expelled.


-- High school students Kaitlin Wells and Faith Burroughs gave a presentation on the district’s FCCLA program.

--Vandy Nash, K-6 curriculum coordinator, presented information on the first grade writers’ curriculum. Several first grade students presented their work. Instead of having Christmas parties, Nash said, students read to parents.