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Fayetteville school board approves bonuses for all employees

by Mary Jordan | April 23, 2021 at 7:36 a.m.
Stella Johnson, fourth-grader, shares her experience as a Fayetteville Virtual Academy student Thursday with the School Board. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Mary Jordan)

FAYETTEVILLE -- The School Board on Thursday approved bonuses for all staff members for their service during the covid-19 pandemic.

The board voted 7-0 in support of the bonuses at its monthly meeting.

Full-time certified staff members will receive a $1,000 bonus, as will classified staff who work at least 20 hours a week, said Glenda Sullins, finance director

Part-time certified staff and classified staff who work less than 20 a week will have the bonus prorated accordingly, she said.

Employees will receive the bonus in May, Sullins said.

The district has about 1,450 employees, said Alan Wilbourn, public information officer.

The board likewise voted 7-0 in favor of removing the face coverings requirement for students and staff during outside activities.

Nika Waitsman, board president, said she liked the idea of taking the last month of school to explore the change in anticipation of planning covid-19 polices for next year.

The board also voted 7-0 in favor of adjusting the district covid-19 screening policy.

Students, employees and visitors will continue to answer screening questions prior to entering district buildings, but will no longer be required to have their temperature taken, according to the revised policy.

The board also participated in a work session Thursday to discuss development of the district's newest middle school.

The approximately 100,000-square-foot school will be off Rupple Road and will serve about 800 fifth- and sixth-graders, according to Megan Duncan, support services associate superintendent.

The board will vote on the approximately $33.9 million guaranteed maximum price for the school May 27, Duncan said.

Construction of the school will begin in June, Duncan said, and is scheduled to conclude in May 2023.

In other news, Kim Cook, Fayetteville Virtual Academy principal, provided an update on the school for the board.

The school serves 520 K-12 students, Cook said, noting the school added grades K-3 this school year.

"The pandemic expedited the addition of the K-3 program," she said. "Fayetteville Public Schools and FVA had intended to add the K-3 program starting in the 2021-22 school year."

The additional grades added about 100 students to the school, Cook said.

The academy is the highest performing online school in Arkansas, she said.

The academy and the River Valley Virtual Academy in Van Buren's School District are the only state online schools to receive an A rating for the 2018-19 school year, she said.

Every state public school receives a performance rating of A-F, according to the Arkansas Department of Education.

The ratings are based on multiple measures, to include achievement, growth and graduation rates, according to the department.

Fayetteville Virtual Academy had the highest overall accountability rating of of 82.21 for meeting such measures, Cook said. River Valley Virtual Academy received a rating of 74.97, she said.

Ratings aren't available for the 2019-20 school year due to the pandemic, Cook said.

The academy is accepting applications for the 2021-22 school year, she said. Students who live outside the district are encouraged to complete a school choice application by the May 1 deadline, she said.

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Fayetteville Virtual Academy

Learn more about and apply to attend the academy at fva.fayar.net.

Source: Fayetteville School District

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