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Conway schools to discuss pay increase

Posted: June 9, 2014 - 2:19pm

A proposed 3 percent salary increase for food service staff will be on the agenda for the Conway School Board, which will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the administration building.

Conway school district expects budgeted revenue of $82,765,053.50. This budget will also be used to increase transportation salaries by 21 cents.

Also on the agenda is an initiative to bring healthier choices to students before and after school. While healthy choices are available during the school day, vending machines that contain soda and empty calorie snacks are still available before and after the official school day. Healthier options and more educated staff will be discussed.

The board will also discuss professional development for faculty in order to more effectively discuss HIV and other communicable diseases and parasites. If approved, the measure could lead to all health teachers receiving professional development next year.

The Arkansas Department of Education, has published data suggesting an apparent achievement gap between African-American and Caucasian students through several grade levels. The board will discuss measures to address the statistical information. According to published results on average in grade 4, African-American students within the 42nd percentile while Caucasian students score in the 65th percentile. This is based on a population size of 204 African-American students and 492 Caucasian students.

The average difference is 20 percent. Scores were taken from the Arkansas Comprehensive Testing, Assessment, and Accountability Program (ACTAAP).

From the data recommendations, four have been submitted to the board.

The first step is to address the economic disparities in community and develop incorporate strategies to improve attendance.

The second recommendation is to continue to implement Common Core Curriculum.

Another suggestion is to continue hiring teaching professionals with strengths in teaching a diverse population.

Fourth, a discussion with local African-American students to determine what needs to be modified or improved in the school programs.

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