Vilonia Board of Education making plans for upcoming year....

An athletic trainer could be an asset to the Vilonia School District both health wise and academically, said Ed Sellers, athletic director.

Sellers was addressing the Vilonia Board of Education, Tuesday night, providing “preliminary Information” regarding a proposal to add an athletic trainer to the district’s staff.  Currently, he said, the proposal is in the “talking stage.” However, he said he has also participated in conversations with an outside affiliate regarding assistance with the financial aspect.  The district may have some help regarding the salary, Sellers said.

An athletic trainer, Sellers said, could provide immediate care for injuries. Also, he said, the trainer may be able to teach high school students some basics such as taping ankles etc.

“I would like to see there be an educational part to this—just not a sports part,” Sellers added.  “None of this is a done deal though.”

He said he plans to continue negotiations and may have a proposal ready for the August board meeting. 

In other business, the board:

--Approved a shift change in the evening custodial schedule which will now be 2:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. It was said that officials will work with the staff on adjustments due to ballgames and other student events.

--Approved four student transfer requests including one from the Vilonia School District to the Conway district and three from Conway to Vilonia pending approval from Conway.  

--Approved food service vendors for the upcoming year including Ben E. Keith, Harris Baking and Turner Dairy.

--Approved the purchase of three new HVAC units, from Middlebrooks Electric, to take care of the elementary, primary and high school at a cost of $39,369.

--Approved open purchase orders for J & D Supply and Kieth’s Automotive in Vilonia.

--Approved $145,590 to be paid to Waste Water Management for the remaining work on the sewer upgrade at the Vilonia Primary School.

--Approved the purchase of security cameras for the Frank Mitchell Intermediate School Safe Room at a cost of $13,127.57 from Progressive Technologies.


--Josh Minton, Minton Engineering, provided a report on the water runoff on the property east of the intermediate school. The peak flow, he said, has reduced since construction was completed. It was said a detailed proposal for a project to divert runoff to the south is to be presented by Nabholz. The cost of the project, according to officials, could exceed $50,000. It was also said the board may solicit additional bids regarding the project. Should the board determine to proceed, at the earliest, the proposed date for beginning would be May 2017, said Dr. David Stephens, school superintendent.  

--Assistant superintendent Cathy Riggins said Generation Ready, a writing initiative focused on increasing teacher knowledge of writing strategies and raising writing expectations, has served as a “great source” of professional development for teachers throughout the year teaching them to collaborate. The past year has been a focus on literacy in the first grade. The program will extend, she said, to grades two and three next year.

-- Stephens provided a preliminary end of year fund balance report. While not finalized, he said, it appears the balance will be better than expected. If it holds true, he said, one thing that will be “talked about” is improving salary schedules. “If it holds true, there will be more to come in August,” he said.

--Technology director Evan Beavers said a new wireless network will be online for this year. Also, he said, there will be guest WIFI access for afterhours use. At 4 p.m., he said, the access will “become alive for patrons.”  He also talked about technology improvements in other areas including the football field.

--There was a brief discussion regarding volleyball shorts. It was said that the district only purchases jerseys for the volleyball team. Shorts and trunks are purchased by parents, Dr. Stephens said, adding that he hopes parents are aware they have the options to purchase longer compression or trunk shorts.

Following an executive session, it was announced the board accepted the resignations of some teachers including Stacie Canady, Donna Young, April Burroughs and Angela Borden.  

Hired as teachers were LaVonja Bonnema, Tracie Rowell, Melba Cauthen, Heath Hagan – teacher/coach, Ashley Smith, LaDonna Robbins, Melissa Thompson; also Jack Morgan, substitute bus driver, Clay Winn – ALE bus driver; Tanya Taylor and Colleen Wells as aides; April Rooney, food service worker. Also, contract changes included Joy Gray – from part-time to full-time teacher; Terina Atkins from middle school to high school media specialist; Michelle Vest – from teacher to middle school media specialist.