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BENTONVILLE -- Elementary school No. 11 and middle school No. 5 now have names.

The School Board on Monday approved the names Osage Creek Elementary and Creekside Middle for the schools set to open in fall 2017 on Featherston Road.

Contract renewal

The Bentonville School Board voted unanimously Monday to extend its custodial services contract with SSC Service Solutions for one year with a 3 percent increase plus the addition of services at West High School, which opens this fall. The total contract price for next school year will be $4.2 million, up from $3.5 million this year.

Source: Staff report

The principals of both schools recommended the names following a selection process that included suggestions from the public. Board support for the elementary school's name was unanimous; the middle school's name, however, passed by only a 4-3 vote.

Travis Riggs, Matt Burgess, Willie Cowgur and Brent Leas voted for the Creekside Middle name. Grant Lightle, Rebecca Powers and Joe Quinn voted against it.

Osage Creek runs through the property on which the schools are being built. Jeff Wasem, principal of Creekside Middle, said he and Lisa St. John, Osage Creek Elementary's principal, liked the idea of the two schools sharing a connection through their names. The two schools also will be connected.

Quinn expressed concern the similarity of the names might create the false perception students who attend the elementary also will be zoned for the middle school, too.

Quinn also argued in favor of naming at least one of the schools after a person, which gives students and teachers someone to celebrate and rally around. He cited former teacher Mary Mae Jones, after whom an elementary school is named.

"I thought, she's a powerful example of someone who has done something meaningful for the fastest growing and hopefully best district in the state," Quinn said.

Lightle agreed, saying there are people who would provide good namesakes. He mentioned Hattie Caraway, an Arkansas woman who was the first woman elected to a full term in the U.S. Senate.

Riggs, the board president, said he generally opposes naming schools after people.

"I just think when you do that, you are going to offend somebody," Riggs said. "I just don't want to offend people."

In other business, the board approved most student handbooks for the 2016-17 school year, but agreed to postpone consideration of the high school handbook at Superintendent Michael Poore's request.

Administrators, responding to board members' request for tougher penalties for cheating, had come up with more detailed procedures when dealing with violations of academic integrity at the high school level. Those procedures had included revocation of honor status if a student was found cheating at least three times.

Poore, however, requested the board delay consideration of those rules. He said he had discussed the matter with district attorney Marshall Ney last week, and they decided they could use more time "to get us closer to where we'll have a win-win all the way around," Poore said.

Revised procedures regarding academic integrity will be presented at the board's next pre-agenda meeting on May 2.

NW News on 04/19/2016

Print Headline: Bentonville board names new schools

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