The Bryant School Board was honored for their service during the monthly meeting on Thursday at Bryant Elementary School.
"I want you to know how much we appreciate you," said BES Principal Angela Mask.
Students from the Hornet Helpers program presented the board members with gift baskets.
January is School Board Appreciation month.
The board watched a video about BES's accomplishments over this past semester.
Superintendent Dr. Karen Walters presented the suggested calendar for 2023-24.
She explained that currently, the law does not allow school districts to start more than two weeks before Labor Day, which would be Aug. 21. Many want the law to return to allowing school to start the week of Aug. 19, which would allow districts to start Aug. 14.
The legislature is currently considering the change.
"The bill has been filed," Walters said.
The personnel policy committees sent out an option A and and option B calendar with both the Aug. 21 and Aug. 14 dates. Staff voted for option A. If the law changes, they prefer the Aug. 14 start date.
Walters pointed out the calendar includes taking off April 8. She explained that is the day of the solar eclipse. Saline County will be one of the prime locations to view it.
She told the board that during the last eclipse, other towns that were prime locations were overwhelmed by the number of people flocking in to view it. She said if that happens, the roads may be so congested, the district would have a hard time running buses so they are choosing to take that day off.
The board voted to accept calendar A with the start date depending on legislative action.
Walters said the district will send the calendars out with an explanation about the possible dates.
During financial reports, Walters told the board the buses the district ordered would probably not be in until September so they may have to move the money set aside for it around so it does not make the district look like it has more than it actually has at the end of the fiscal year.
In December, Walters said the Saline County Quorum Court reduced the district's mills because property taxes went up.
During Walters' superintendent's report, she told the board legislation had been passed through channels that those in education do not normally monitor that requires all new builds to include storm shelter specifications. This has raised the cost of any new building by a few hundred dollars per square foot, which will raise total projects up by a few million dollars. She said this will inhibit new building in the district. They may be forced to remodel existing structures instead.
She said new Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders has asked legislators to include all education related bills in one single bill that is expected to be 500 pages. Walters hopes enough time will be given to actually read the full bill. Teachers' salaries are expected to be in the bill.
The board also:
• heard the student senate report.
• approved the proposed 2024-25 budget.
• approved the financial advisory agreement.
Personnel items will be in an upcoming edition of The Saline Courier.
Meetings are open to the public and attendance is encouraged.