The Pine Bluff School Board approved the hiring of a deputy superintendent and two assistant superintendents during its regular monthly meeting Tuesday night.

The Pine Bluff School Board approved the hiring of a deputy superintendent and two assistant superintendents during its regular monthly meeting Tuesday night.

The board approved district Interim Superintendent Linda Watson’s recommendation that the board hire Rudolph Howard, former superintendent of the Helena-West Helena School District, as deputy superintendent; Suzette Anderson, current district director of student health and special services, as assistant superintendent of schools; and Jeanne Huddle, current assistant director of the Arkansas River Education Service Cooperative, as assistant superintendent of learning services.

The board approved a recommendation by Watson to create a salary range for the deputy superintendent position of between $100,000 and $120,000; and a salary range for the assistant superintendent position of between $90,000 and $110,000.

In other business, the board approved the purchase of new textbooks for all grade levels at a total cost of $558,104 for the 2012-2013 school year.

The board approved the creation of an ACT test prep course for Pine Bluff High School.

“We all know that higher ACT scores will qualify students for scholarships to college,” Watson said. “You must have at least a 19 on the ACT to qualify for the Arkansas Lottery Scholarships if you don’t have a 2.5 GPA. We are hoping to start off with 20 to 40 students and we will consider adding a second class if there is demand for it.”

Watson said that the initial class will require an English instructor and a mathematics instructor.

“The course will be for 11th graders who can take it as an elective course,” Watson said. “At the end of the course they will actually take the ACT.”

The board approved a request from Watson to have an independent audit of district finances for the 2011-2012 school year conducted.

“The administration requests an audit of district finances to be conducted by an independent auditor,” Watson said.

Watson said that the decision on who to hire as an independent auditor would be made at a later time.

The board approved a series of personnel recommendations from Watson including the hiring of certified staff, the transfer of certified and classified staff, the resignations of certified and classified staff and the retirements of certified and classified staff.

The board approved a request to authorize the completion of a salary study for classified and certified staff.

“We will complete a salary schedule for every department,” Watson said. “I ask for your approval to complete this study. We may have to bring in a consultant to help us. I have already begun assembling information from other Arkansas districts who have completed similar studies. The bottom line is that we need to treat everyone with equity.”

The board approved a request from Watson to hire reading teachers for elementary and middle schools and mathematics coaches for all grade levels.

“We need to have reading teachers at all elementary and middle schools,” Watson said. “You have to know how to read in order to succeed. Funding for these teachers will come from Title I money and not from the operational budget. We are looking at a grant as well.”

“We need to have more math coaches for all students from elementary school to high school,” Watson said. “We currently have three facilitators each serving two elementary schools. We need one in all schools.”

The board approved the renewal of the employment contract for district technology director Rodney Riles for the 2012-2013 school year.

The board approved an addition to school board policy at the recommendation of district attorney Luther Sutter.

The new policy states that no director shall request personal information outside of executive session or remove it from the administration building or any other building.

The board approved the student uniform policy for the 2012-2013 school year that was prepared by the district Uniform Policy Committee.

The board approved the purchase of a two year student athletic insurance policy from the Dwight Jones Agency of Nashville, Ark.

The board approved a staff realignment under a new organizational chart prepared by Watson.

The chart laid out which of the district’s numerous schools and departments reported to the deputy superintendent and the two assistant superintendents.

Watson announced Leandra Williams-Savage, a teacher at 34th Avenue Elementary School, as this year’s Mary Frances Perkins Teacher of the Year, who was presented with a check by board member Harold Jackson.