Arkadelphia News

Arkadelphia school board talks LEARNS policies

By JOEL PHELPS | The Arkadelphian

The Arkadelphia Board of Education held a light meeting Tuesday, June 6, as the school board planned its upcoming regular meeting.

The school board adopted proposed model policies recommended by the Arkansas School Board Association. Some of the highlights of those policies include the removal of teachers’ dismissal hearings; provisions within the Arkansas LEARNS Act discontinue the state’s Teacher Fair Dismissal Act of 1983. It was noted that, under the proposed policies, teachers would no longer have the right to a hearing unless terminated before their contract expires.

Board members appeared a little bothered by one policy that frowns on campus visits by school board members; the language in the policy was written as an apparent precaution to prevent violations of the state’s Freedom of Information Act. Board member Gina White voiced opposition to that policy, noting that in small towns it would be unfair to board members whose children are students in the district. Using the example that both she and other board members are parents to Arkadelphia students, board members would be obligated to attend certain activities as parents.

The board is expected to officially adopt the policies at its June meeting.

Personnel report

Following a 16-minute executive session, the school board reconvened in public to accept the following personnel recommendations:

Bobby Heath, Army instructor, AHS
Michael Ankton-Evans, middle school teacher, Goza
Jalisa Bowers, middle school teacher, Goza
Eduardo Ortiz, special ed teacher, Goza
Sharon Tankersly, special ed teacher, Goza
Hailie Unruh, middle school teacher, Goza
Maria Guadalupe Hoffman, special ed teacher, Peake

Mason Holder, teacher, Goza
Elizabeth Hill, 8th grade social studies teacher, Goza
Susanna Williams, paraprofessional, Goza

Other business

In other business, the board approved $1,000/year stipends for “teacher leaders.” These stipends apply to 15-20 teachers in school leadership roles like mentoring, coaching and curriculum supervision. District administrators selected teacher leaders based on recommendations from campus principals.

The board also approved a $2,145/year stipend for a head swim coach. The district is expected to advertise internally for teachers who would like to apply.

Longtime board member Jeff Root is resigning. His resignation is expected to be made official at the June 20 meeting.