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ROGERS -- Superintendent Marlin Berry focused on the School District's successes of the past year during his annual report to the public at Tuesday's School Board meeting.

Berry said employees have been "busy as bees," then continued by highlighting several topics beginning with the letter B, such as buildings, books, budget and buses.

By the numbers

Superintendent Marlin Berry gave his annual report to the public Tuesday, also known as the State of the School District address. Here are some district figures he shared.

• 21.94: Average composite ACT score for class of 2017 (state average: 20.6)

• 114: Teachers who have achieved National Board certification

• 6,000: Students the district transports each day

• 15,636: Students enrolled

• 1.8 million: Meals served last school year

Source: Staff report

The district has 15,636 students, an increase of about 240 over last year at this time and more than 500 students from two years ago.

"We're up almost 4 percent over two years. That's good growth for us. That's manageable growth," Berry said.

Academically, the district is in full compliance with the standards for accreditation. Most of the results from the ACT, the ACT Aspire and the Iowa Test of Basic Skills standardized tests show Rogers students performing above state and national averages, he said.

The district last year launched its Honors Academy, a program for the highest-achieving high school students, providing them guidance on college options and helping them get into the college or university that fits them best.

More than 200 sophomores were inducted into the academy in February. About 200 more students are expected to be inducted within a few weeks, Berry said.

Berry noted three major building projects finished this year, including renovation of the Annex building so it may be used exclusively by New Technology High School, which had shared it with the Crossroads alternative education program. Crossroads got a building of its own downtown. Space for the career technology program at Heritage High School also was remodeled.

The district's budget this fiscal year is about $137 million. Jake Haak, chief financial officer, has the district in "really good shape" financially, Berry said.

He also talked about transportation. The district has 99 school buses traveling more than a million miles last school year. Like many school districts, Rogers is facing a shortage of bus drivers, he said.

"That will continue to be a challenge for us," Berry said.

Later in Tuesday's meeting, Berry said administrators are considering a policy change that might help the bus driver situation.

The district's policy mandates drivers be at least 21 years old. Arkansas law requires school bus drivers be at least 19 years old. Lowering the district's minimum age may increase the number of qualified applicants, who would still undergo the same vetting process the district has, Berry said.

In other business, the board agreed to set May 22 as the date of its next School Board election.

Arkansas' school board elections have been held for many years on the third Tuesday of September. Act 910 of this year's legislative session changed that, giving districts a choice between the date of the primary election or the general election.

Rogers is the first of Northwest Arkansas' four largest school districts to choose a new election date. All districts must choose by February.

Board members also were unanimous in their choice of leaders for the next 12 months. Kristen Cobbs will continue as board president, a position she's filled for two years. Curtis Clements will continue as vice president. Nathan Gairhan was chosen secretary, replacing Sterling Wilson, who didn't run for re-election this year.

NW News on 10/18/2017

Print Headline: Rogers superintendent notes successes in annual report

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