By LINDA HICKS
SPECIAL TO THE LOG CABIN
VILONIA — Assistant superintendent Gary Lambert won’t be returning to the Vilonia School District next year, and neither will Mark Crowder, principal at the elementary school.
Both men submitted retirement letters to the Board of Education Monday night, and they were accepted, effective at the end of the school year. Lambert, who has been at Vilonia for nine years, will be entering into his second retirement. Prior to coming to Vilonia, he retired from the Bartlesville School District in Oklahoma after working there 31 years.
“Forty years is enough. I’m just going on vacation June 7 for the rest of my life,” he said. However, that vacation will not prevent him from volunteering at the school if he can work it in with his golf and traveling. His wife plans to continue to work in the district for a couple of more years, he added.
With many new programs and teaching strategies coming down the pike, he said, he believes he needs to “step out now,” or commit to at least another five years to be as effective as an assistant superintendent needs to be.
Crowder also has been working in the district nine years and 37 years as an educator. “Oh, happy day,” he joked, adding “It’s my time.”
Dr. Frank Mitchell, school superintendent, touted the praises of both men saying they will be missed by all, and they have served the school district well during their tenures.
In other business, the board:
• Approved the purchase of additional bandwidth at the school under two contracts with Windstream—at $2,784.60 per month at the Vilonia Primary School and $3,705. 42 per month for the rest of the users. It was said the move is in line with the mandate from the state regarding student assessments and testing.
• Approved a policy allowing the staff to bring their personal technological devices to school and connect to the school’s Internet system. Bill Beavers, technological director, presented the proposal, saying it may take until the end of the school year before it can be fully functional. All devices, he said, will be registered with the technology department and the use will be monitored. In opening up the system to the teachers and staff, Beavers said, “we will be giving them the keys to the garage.”
• Approved the use of the school facilities, by a for-profit group, allowing a basketball tournament to be held in Vilonia during the summer. Mitchell said he believes that many local students will be playing in the tournament “showcasing” their abilities. Other benefits cited included providing a shot in the arm economically for area businesses as well as putting a few dollars in the school’s budget. Ed Sellers, athletic director/assistant superintendent, said the organizers have been allowed to use the Middle School gymnasiums a couple of times in the past with no problems.
“It’s big,” Sellers added. “He wants to have 500 teams for the summer. That’s a lot of basketball.”
The district has, in the past, allowed non-profit groups to use the facilities but declined the use by for-profit groups. Mitchell said while he doesn’t want to get into “wholesale use of the facilities,” he believes such requests should be considered on a case by case basis.
• Discussed several potential adjustments, proposed by Nabholz Construction Services, that could save some money in the building of the Intermediate School (working with the current design) including deleting curb and guttering ($80,800); reducing storm drainage system ($207,845); reducing the sidewalk scope by 25 percent ($42,250); deleting the flagpole, ($5,280); deleting acoustical wall panels ($14,811); providing #3 gym floors ($11,000); revising exterior wall elevations to omit brick above windows and add metal wall panels per revised drawings ($95,319); omitting ceramic wall tile at restrooms and instead adding 4-foot ceramic wainscot at wet walls and epoxy paint gypsum board ($63,990). Although the discussion continued for about 30 minutes with many other proposed changes, no action was taken regarding the matter. Mitchell said the projected date for bidding is Feb. 28.