ALMA – The annual facility report presented by the Alma School District during its December school board meeting reflected very little in the way of new – or even ongoing – projects within the district.
“It was pretty easy for us this year because everything was pretty much the same,” said Travis Biggs, the district’s assistant superintendent for facilities and maintenance.
The facility report is presented by the district to the public during a school board meeting once a year as mandated by the Arkansas Department of Education.
“The biggest thing this report will tell you is that over the past couple of years we’ve replaced fluorescent lighting with LED lighting in the Primary and Intermediate Schools and that’s now complete. The Middle School, transportation office this (administration) office and the annex will be complete by the end of this school year. The high school is planned to start hopefully in the summer.”
Superintendent Dr. David Woolley said a comparison of electric bills from the year before the conversion began to the year after at the completed schools reveals a substantial change.
“This is not a perfect comparison, but we took the whole year and it’s about a $5,500 reduction in our electric bill,” he said. “So it was well worth doing – not to mention the LED lamps are expected to last longer.”
Biggs said work plans implemented at most of the district’s campuses overseen by previous school officials continues to hold its own in such a way that the only task now is simply maintaining the finished product.
“Alma did a major investment in its facilities nine or 10 years ago so there’s not a lot going on now,” he said. “(Former Assistant Superintendent) Mike (McSpadden) and his crew did a wonderful job and now we’re just working on maintaining what they did.”
Earlier in the meeting the board heard the monthly reports from the principals of the various campuses, including a report from Alma Primary School’s Shawn Bullard on good results from a fire drill held earlier that day.
“We did a fire drill for December and we were out in two minutes and seven seconds,” he said. “I felt like that’s pretty good to get 750 kids out the door in that time.”
The school board also approved the resignation of Toney McMurray, who retired after 35 years as a teacher and public address announcer. McMurray was out on leave the entire first semester.
The board approved the 2020-21 calendar for the school district, which essentially is the same as the calendar for the current school year.
“We had to make an adjustment for the rollover of one day which calendars always do,” said Woolley. “We’ll be starting at essentially the same time with Christmas working essentially the same way and we’ll finish essentially the same as we will this year.”
He noted that the calendar may have to be adjusted depending on the number of days that may be missed due to inclement weather and the use of AMI-alternative method of instruction days, if any. Three days are built into the calendar for such situations.
The teacher’s contracts are for 193 days which includes 180 days of school and 13 days of professional development, including classroom and school preparation. Five of those professional development days are taken in the summer. Seven are taken in August and one in January.
This year that January professional development day is Monday, Jan. 6, the day before the students return from their holiday break.
In its final action of the night before going into executive session, the board approved the transfer of one student into the district and one student out of the district.