The Vilonia School Board approved contracting with PCMI, an outside vendor, for substitute staffing services. Presenting the proposal, Kevin Luck, the district business manager, said the outside service is more time and cost effective. Employees on each campus, he said, spend many hours per day now calling in substitute teachers. The new service, he explained, will handle the calling and paperwork saving about 140 to 150 hours per month.

"This won’t take us totally out of the game but it will eliminate some of our headaches," he said. The school board will have the authority to approve the sub list, he added. Also, background checks will be required on all substitutes.

He estimated the district uses an average of 22 substitutes in the classroom per day. It was said that some of the absences are sickness related but many are also related to business, professional development and training.

A plus for the substitutes, he said, they will have the ability to go on a web-based call center/software application, managed by the vendor, and see where they are needed. The outside vendor will cost the district about $21,000 per year.

In other business, the board:

• Approved air conditioning the high school gymnasium at a cost of $331,344 and installing a new sound system at a cost of $40,071.

• Discussed additions that may be included in the building at the new Intermediate School such as decorative fencing with gates to close off open accesses. Adding sinks to classrooms and electronic locks.

• Approved a School Choice resolution allowing students from other districts to attend Vilonia schools. It was said there have been recent changes, regarding laws, making it easier for students to apply and be accepted.

• Approved the purchase of math textbooks at a cost of about $244,131.

• Approved a $500 salary increase for full time certified employees and a $400 salary increase for full time classified employees. Full time bus drivers are to receive $200. It was also said that part-time employees, who are eligible, will receive a pro-rated amount.

• Karen Lambert, director of the Child Care Center, said the school district has been selected to receive a Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation Grant for $5,000. This is the fifth grant, she said, they have received amounting to $25,000. "They are really good to us and we really appreciate them," she added. The board echoed her sentiments.