The Pine Bluff School Board is considering hiring a new financial services firm. The board heard at a recent meeting from First Security Beardsley vice president Ray Beardsley with whom the district currently has a contract. The current contract was signed in October 2015 and will end in October 2018.
Board members received a letter from Stephens Inc. senior vice president Jack Truemper, who wrote a proposed municipal advisor agreement. Truemper did not attend the Tuesday night meeting. Beardsley discussed his company’s services with the board with an eye toward having a new contract.
“I was a little bit shocked when [Superintendent] Dr. [Michael] Robinson called and said that the board was interested in changing financial advisers,” Beardsley said. “We’ve worked with the Pine Bluff School District for many years through four or five superintendents and have provided many free services.”
“The only time we charge a fee is if and when the school district does a bond issue,” Beardsley said. “… We are the largest financial advisory service in Arkansas. We have more public school districts than any other company. Our tremendous service is very detailed.”
Beardsley said his company provides these services for free: providing a financial review to the superintendent and treasurer; working with the district on facility funding issues; working with the Arkansas Department of Education; and training the board on financial matters. Beardsley asked the board members to call other districts with whom his company works especially the Conway School District and ask how they judge his company’s services. He gave an example of what he described as a way to save money.
“You are paying DAC $2,500 per year to report your financial information,” he said. “We do that for free. I highly recommended you cancel your DAC contract and save the district $2,500 per year.”
The board did not vote on the issue. In other news, the Pine Bluff School District owns a parking lot that is close to the future Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Library site. The library trustees have requested the school board members give the parking lot to the library.
Pine Bluff School Board member Stephen Bronskill is also a library trustee. He recused himself from discussions related to the parking lot as he did at a recent library board meeting. School board member Phyllis Wilkins said she wants clarity from the district lawyer. Robinson offered to have the district attorney write a memorandum of understanding and then he will provide it to the board members.
On the subject of uniform policy, Robinson recommended leaving the existing policy for 2017-2018 because parents have already bought clothes for their children. The board approved a motion to this effect. The district requires children to wear pants and shirts of a certain color depending on their grade level. The district prohibits students from wearing leggings, jeggings, tights, joggers, sweatpants and sagging pants. Students are permitted to wear hats of a plain solid color with no logo.
Robinson said he will have discussions with board members on the uniform policy with respect to possible changes in 2018-2019. In calendar news, students will return to class on Monday, Aug. 14, 2017, and finish on Tuesday, May 29, 2018. The upcoming academic year includes 178 instructional days, two parent-teacher conference days, and 10 professional development days.
Make-up days would be Monday, April 2; Wednesday, May 30; Thursday, May 31; Friday, June 1; and Saturday, June 2.
In personnel news, the board voted to approve these hires:Wendy Camarillo as an oral communications and drama teacher at Pine Bluff High School;Brittany Davis as a math literacy teacher at Jack Robey Jr. High School; andKenneth Moore as an assistant principal at Pine Bluff High School.
The board accepted these resignations:Kenyatta Brown as a third-grade teacher at W.T. Cheney Elementary School;Kellie Chiu as a science teacher at Pine Bluff High School;Jamie Gordon as a science teacher at Jack Robey Jr. High School;Glenda Hayes as a guidance counselor at Southwood Elementary School;Gloria Hayes as a special education teacher at Pine Bluff High School;Sheresa Rice as a science teacher at Jack Robey Jr. High School;Leondra Williams-Savage as an instructional specialist at Thirty-Fourth Elementary School;Reginald Wilson as an assistant principal at Pine Bluff High School;
The board approved these retirements:Margaret Burns as a Title I paraprofessional at Thirty-Fourth Elementary School;Juanita Dollison as a child nutrition assistant manager in the FoodServices Department;John McClinton as a general maintenance employee in the Maintenance and Auxiliary
Services Department;Davi Vaughn as a child nutrition manager in the Food Services Department.