Pine Bluff School District Director of Technology Rodney Riles on Tuesday briefed the district's board of directors on his department's progress in meeting objectives set for him in August.

Pine Bluff School District Director of Technology Rodney Riles on Tuesday briefed the district’s board of directors on his department’s progress in meeting objectives set for him in August.

Board member Ellen Nichol asked Riles for the update after board president Herman Horace opened the floor to miscellaneous comments from board members during the board’s regular monthly meeting.

“Tonight I want to let everyone know where we are and where we are going in the technology department,” Riles said. “The department has recently hired five new technology technicians. These people were needed because at any given time technology is pulled to do things other than the imaging project for all district computers that we were asked to do in August. We have finished the imaging process at Pine Bluff High School and 34th Avenue Elementary. It took approximately three weeks to finish these school sites. We are currently working at Jack Robey Junior High School and Southeast Middle School.

“In retrospect, it actually took longer than originally projected because the technology department was pulled to work on Renaissance, Algebra II and Neo installs for district training and workshops,” Riles said. “This has slowed our progress in completing the imaging project. We will work nights and weekends to complete this project. I want to be realistic and not set an unreachable goal for completion. I want to be finished with the total image project by Jan. 31, 2012.

“In addition to the imaging, we have several other ongoing projects,” Riles said. “We need to enter book information into the new Atrium software. The 200 new lab computers that the board approved in August are here now and waiting to be installed. We are planning on installing these computers over two days beginning on Nov. 21. We are working between 10 and 12 hours per day to get all of this done.”

“In order to reach the goal of Jan. 31, 2012, I am requesting more people,” Riles said. “We are pushing it as it is. I propose that I be authorized to hire three more technology technicians as temps and 10 wire cleanup people. The techs will be trained computer people working nights and weekends and the wire cleanup people will be technology students from UAPB and one or two from SEARK. I have employment information on all persons requested. I need the go-ahead to move into action.”

The board took no personnel action during the meeting.

Immediately upon its return from executive session earlier in the meeting, the board approved the meeting agenda as submitted minus items four, seven and eight, until all paperwork is in order.

Item four was listed as personnel action; item seven as technology recommendations; and item eight as recommendation to purchase updated ASBA Policy Procedure Manual.

Item four included a recommendation from District Superintendent Jerry Payne to hire seven classified personnel and to accept the resignations of two classified personnel.

Item seven called for technology recommendations from Riles that included the names of two individuals; Justin Fells to be hired as a contract employee to work on the design of phase one of the district’s new website; and Derrick Brown to perform electrical technology work at the McGeorge and Patterson buildings at Pine Bluff High School.

Fells was previously recommended by Payne at a special called meeting of the board on Nov. 1.

Board member Kenneth Dickson made a motion to approve Payne’s recommendation at the Nov. 1 meeting, but the motion failed at that time due to the lack of a second from another board member.

Payne asked Kelvin Gragg, the district’s director of federal, state programs and testing, to come before the board to explain what needed to be included on the district’s new website in order to be in compliance with federal requirements, but Horace interjected by saying that the issue was not up for debate and ended the discussion.

In other business the board heard the Pine Bluff Education Association Report from Ryan Roberts.

“I was elected as the National Education Association Director for Arkansas and what this means is that I will basically serve as the Arkansas representative to the NEA; kind of like a senator,” Roberts said. “To ensure my students will still have their instruction from me when I need to be in Washington, D.C., for the NEA, I plan to videotape my lectures to cover that time.

“There have been some concerns addressed to me from teachers about the consistency of our district’s verbal message discipline policy and what is written in our handbook on the assertive discipline policy,” Roberts said. “This concern comes from multiple buildings and multiple teachers. I was asked by a teacher what to do if the handbook and their supervisor’s directives come into conflict. As a leader in our district, the only ethical recommendation I have is to follow board-approved policy.”

The board heard the Classified Personnel Policy Committee update from Jewelette Courtney.

Courtney said that the committee had voted to officially request that the board consider a Christmas bonus for all classified personnel.

“In the past, the superintendent has recommended a bonus and this has been voted on by the board,” Courtney said. “We are requesting the consideration of a bonus as per past practice of the district.”

The board heard the Certified Personnel Policy Committee report from Claudette White.

White said that her committee was requesting a one-time Christmas bonus of $1,500 from the school district.

White also expressed concern that changes to the personnel policy had been made without following the proper procedures for the consideration of such changes.