Submitted by Mena Public Schools
The Mena School Board met for their August meeting on Thursday evening in the Mena High School Library with many district patrons in attendance.
The first item addressed was the district ready for learning plan. Superintendent Dr. Lee Smith recommended no changes at this time. In person and the Polk County Virtual Academy will remain the two learning options for students. This also means that the mask policy will remain as it was amended on April 13 th and the wearing of masks will be optional for students and school employees but is still highly recommended by the board.
Next on the agenda was the approval of changes to the school handbooks for each campus. Those changes were presented by administrators from each school. The LDE, HHE and PCVA handbooks were approved with minor changes. The main change at Mena Middle School was the cell phone policy and Mena High School had the most changes. They included some curriculum changes as well as several items that were required due to changes at the state level. The updated handbooks will be posted on the district website soon. Be watching social media for info on when that happens.
Minor changes in the athletic handbook and the athletic administration guidebook were also approved after a brief discussion.
Next Assistant Superintendent Bridget Buckley presented the board with information on the district’s “American Rescue Plan”. This details how the district intends to distribute Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds. The ARP Plan was approved as presented.
Since the July meeting bids were received on installing new HVAC systems at Holly Harshman and Mena Middle Schools. The low bid by Wilson Heating and Air for $635,000 was approved. These upgrades are a major part of the district’s plan to slow the spread of COVID among students and staff.
It will be paid for with ESSER II federal funds and will increase fresh air exchange in the two buildings at a rate ten times higher than the current systems. Louise Durham Elementary and Mena High School currently have this technology installed.
Dr. Smith then updated the board on the status of bids on several CD’s held by the district. The board gave the administration the liberty to accept the highest rate offered once all have been received.
The board next discussed a bid from Southern Disposal for use of an indoor practice facility. Dr. Smith spoke briefly on his negotiations and the board agreed to pay $1400.00 a month for unlimited use of the facility with no long term contract.
A number of changes in personnel were brought before the board including the resignation of Catlynn Haynes and Casey Adams. The transfer of Samantha Breedlove from MMS to Mena High School. The hiring of Linda Willard, Ashley Pregon, Grace Minton and Alexa Brewer. Dr. Smith recommended that Tommy Johnson be officially added to the high school football staff and that Tim Walston’s contract be extended to 12 months. All actions were approved.