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Greenbrier School District closes on property

Posted: July 14, 2014 - 2:56pm

Greenbrier School District Superintendent Scott Spainhour has announced the closing on the 48-acre property for a new elementary school on Elliott Road from Martha Jean Wilcox for the purchase price of $15,000 per acre.

Randy Palculict of Nabholz Construction Company presented preliminary schematics for the proposed new building for the School Board to consider and discuss.

Discussion among the board members then centered around construction costs estimated to be around $12 to $12.5 million dollars and how best to finance it. With the addition of furniture and other items that the new school will need, they estimate the total building to costs to be around $15 million.

The District will receive $3.5 million from the state in partnership money and will need the additional $11.5 million.

The last increase in the tax millage for the District was in 1998 when it went to 30.8 mills. Since then, Greenbrier School District has built Westside School and a new PE building, improved the maintenance shop and administrative building, built a new junior high cafetorium and Wooster Elementary, built a new middle school building, added 10 new classrooms to the high school, added new tennis courts and an animal science laboratory — without asking for any tax increase.

It was determined that the district will need 40.9 mills — an increase of 2.9 mills — which they unanimously voted to request from voters in the September election.

In order to be competitive with other local schools in the area, the board also voted a $1,000 per year increase for the bus drivers for the next school year.

A final payout on the completed tennis courts was approved for $54,266.60.

The bid for groceries went to U.S. Foods, as it was comparable to last year’s costs. Harris Baking won the bid for bakery products — about the same as last year. Hiland Dairy prices increased slightly — five cents per carton — and won the low bid.

School lunches are expected to increase this year by about 25 cents from $2.90 to $3.15 per lunch, due to an increase in the federal formula rate. Federal reimbursements also will no longer pay for free- or reduced-price lunches.

Child nutrition director Krista Jackson received special praise for reducing the expenditures this past year from a $100,000 operating deficit that she started with last year to $3,000 in the black.

Dr. Angela Betancourt gave a report on the highly successful ABC pre-school program she heads. This is a no-cost-to-parents pre-school program that stands for Arkansas Better Chance (ABC) for better success. Any child can attend. They do not have to live within the district. The first ABC class was in the 2005-06 school year, and a study done by the National Institute for Early Education Research has shown that these children with an early start surpassed the district average test scores by the time they reached third through fifth grades. Betancourt said the program hires highly-trained teachers and paraprofessionals and, with the use of student teachers, maintains a very low child/staff ratio of 3-1. The district now has three classrooms.

Policy changes and personnel changes were approved in closed door session. The board meets in the District Office at 4 School Drive the second Tuesday each month at 6 p.m.

For more information go to the district’s website at www.greenbrierschools.org.

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