VILONIA — The School Board approved raising the necessary graduation credits in the Vilonia School District from 25 to 28 beginning with the 2012-13 school year.
"Seniors and juniors, we may have to grandfather them in," Superintendent Frank Mitchell said, adding that each student’s situation will be reviewed on a "case by case" basis to make the transition without negatively affecting any students.
Andy Ashley, high school principal said many of this year’s seniors could have graduated in the 11th grade if not for needing one or two more credits. A majority of students enter high school needing only three credits, he said.
On a related note, advanced placement classes have doubled in the past couple of years, Ashley said, and there is a plan to add new elective classes in the upcoming year.
In other business, board members:
—Approved a salary increase amounting to about $220 per year for district employees. Some teachers, Mitchell said, received a "step increase" of about $680 at the start of the year. The increases, Mitchell said, will cost the district about $100,000 for certified employees and another $40,000 to $45,000 for classified employees. There was a brief discussion about salary guidelines set by the state. "Our salary schedule has always been pretty good," Mitchell told the board. The district "far exceeds" state guidelines, he said, "but there are places people can go and make more money and they are not far from here."
Assessment rates in some districts are much higher than in Vilonia, he said. Other school districts, he said, reap the benefits of having natural gas wells in the districts as well as large business operations.
"I think we do about all we can do here," he concluded.
•Adopted a resolution regarding proposed budget expenditures for the upcoming school year.
•Approved a license agreement allowing First Security Bank to place the Vilonia Eagle on debit cards.
•Approved eight school choice requests.
•Recognized Middle School Principal Cathy Riggins for achieving Master Principal status. The Academy of Service and Technology, Mitchell announced, also has been recognized as the top school in math and literacy statewide. The school operates under Riggins’ leadership. "This is a great honor to her, the school district and the community," Mitchell said.
•Recognized FCCLA students Faith Burroughs, Reagan Goode (Life Event Planning) and Alex Stroud for winning district and state competition. They are qualified for the national FCCLA conference in July at Orlando, Fla.
•Briefly discussed proposed projects, including taking bids on a sidewalk, adding a road behind the baseball field and placing gates near the high school that can be closed to traffic. Also, Mitchell said, the fiber optic cable from the elementary to the high school needs to be replaced. A bid opening to resurface the tennis courts is scheduled Tuesday.
•Learned that Denny Mickels, school resource officer, will retire soon.