School board to consider $750 bonus to district employees; new stipend schedule proposed

By Joel Phelps
The Arkadelphian

School board members will consider doling out more than a quarter million dollars this week for classroom equipment and a one-time payment to employees throughout the Arkadelphia Public School District.

One-time bonus: $197,370
Air purifiers: $59,093
Smartboards: $47,944
Total: $304,407

The Arkadelphia Board of Education will meet Tuesday to discuss several action items, including the purchase of new Smartboards at Peake Elementary School, air purifiers, an across-the-board payment to both certified and classified district workers, and a proposed stipend schedule.

A one-time, non-recurring payment of $750 to district employees comes to a total of $197,370 after payment and benefits to 147 certified and 68 classified employees. The bonus comes from federal and state monies district officials say the board can allocate without reaching into the general fund.

The district is also requesting the board to purchase 150 iWave Ion air purifiers. Jimmy King, APSD director of support services, took bids from four companies ranging from $71,869 to $59,093 and is recommending the board consider the lowest bid, from the Hot Springs-based R&E Supply. Their overall cost comes to $358 apiece as opposed to $435 apiece from the highest bidder.

The funds for that purchase will come from an ELC/POC grant from Dawson Education Cooperative.

The district’s technology department recently took quotes for 16 Smartboards at Peake Elementary School and one at Goza Middle School. With the purpose of eliminating older Smartboards in use throughout the district, the department is requesting the board use Title 1 funding to make the $47,944 purchase. The Smartboards, if purchased, would be used in classrooms teaching math and literacy, and would be moved to the new Peake campus once it’s constructed.

Board members will also consider a newly proposed stipend schedule for teachers, coaches and administrators. 

The highest academic stipend is for the head band director, totaling $11,387 for a 240-day schedule. 

Three administrative positions — federal programs director, support services director and high school principal — are $23,011 each for a 240-day schedule. 

The top athletic stipend is earmarked for the Badgers head football coach, at $8,256 for a 260-day schedule. Next in line is the Badgers head basketball coach, at $6,045 days for a 230-day schedule. Behind that are the head baseball coach, junior high basketball coach, assistant high school football coach, head junior high football coach, softball coach and head volleyball coach, each at $4,290 for 205 days.

Also included in Tuesday’s agenda is a legislative audit for the district’s 2020-2021 budget year. A memo to administrators indicate the district received a good report.

The school board is also expected to revisit mask mandates and its contract with Superintendent Karla Neathery.

The meeting, open to the public, begins at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 15, at Dawson Building #3, 700 Clinton St.

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