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District Moves Forward On Projects

by Janelle Jessen | March 3, 2021 at 11:20 a.m.
COURTESY PHOTO Mary Ann Spears, superintendent of Lincoln Consolidated School District, left, congratulates high school teacher Patricia Myers, who was given the Above and Beyond Award for February.

LINCOLN — Lincoln Consolidated School District is in “great shape” financially, Superintendent Mary Ann Spears told Board members last week.

So great, she said, the school has additional money in its balance to use for recommended projects this year. The projects include new playground equipment at the elementary school, leasing another school bus and assisting with the costs for improvements at the high school parking lot.

“I’m feeling really good about our finances and the food service budget,” Spears said.

The monthly district financial report shows about $5.9 million has been spent so far this school year, and 52% of the budget has been used.

The district served more than 12,000 meals during January, according to the monthly food service report.

Spears commended the district’s food service staff. She said the district sent home 3,000 meals before the winter storms hit this area so students would have meals if schools did not have in-person classes.

“That was huge,” Spears said. “I saw kids on Friday going out with bags of food.”

High school teacher Patricia Myers received the Above and Beyond Award for the month of February from Sams Furniture and Fayetteville Area Chamber of Commerce.

Myers was recognized for her passion for her job inside and outside the classroom and her dedication to her students’ overall health.

Myers addressed the board, saying, “It’s always a good day to go to work. It’s a really good place to be and I’m truly humbled to receive this.”

She said she encourages her students to keep coming to school and always tries to build up Lincoln.

Along with the award, Myers received an $100 gift certificate to Sams Furniture in Springdale.

In action items, the board on Feb. 22 approved asking the state to renew its Act 1240 waivers to allow some flexibility when it comes to instruction. Act 1240 gave public schools the opportunity to apply for a waiver if the same waiver was available to charter schools.

Jana Claybrook, learning services director, said these are waivers that were approved by the state five years ago. The seven waivers expire in April, so the district is asking the state to renew the waivers for another five-year period.

The waivers allow the district to increase the class size and teaching load as needed, to provide a duty-free lunch so teachers have the opportunity to meet with students for intervention, to have a flexible school-day schedule to allow mentoring opportunities for students, and a flexible planning period for teachers.

Another waiver allows the media specialist to assist in other areas, such as testing. In addition, the district has a waiver to use someone for instruction who has a knowledgeable background, education and experience, but is not licensed to teach. The seventh one waives the requirement for students to have a keyboard class as a prerequsite for other computer courses.

The board also approved a proposed expenditure budget for the 2022-23 school year. This is required by the state and has to be published 60 days prior to the May 18 school election. Spears said the budget is preliminary and represents a 3% increase.

The proposed budget estimates $4.6 million for salary fund expenditures, $2 million for instruction, $1 million for maintenance and operation, $833,000 for bonded debt service, $747,000 for other operating expenses, $464,000 for transportation and about $95,000 for other debt.

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