June 21, 2021

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JPS board selects new bank | News

JONESBORO — Jonesboro School Board members approved a new financial institution as caretaker of the district’s monetary assets during Tuesday night’s school board meeting.

Belinda Locke, business manager for the district, said the district previously held its finances in Iberia Bank.

“Every three years we seek banking proposals,” she said, noting this was the year to do that.

According to a report submitted to the board members, five banks submitted a proposal for banking services for July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2024. The district had a four-member banking services proposal committee: Tim Stewart, Archie Ryan, Heather Copeland and Belinda Locke. The committee recommended Encore Bank to provide banking services for the district.

In other business, Facilities Director Monroe Pointer updated the board on construction projects throughout the district.

The kitchen remodel at the Jonesboro High School is moving along quickly, Pointer said.

“Starting the first week of July we are planning to do our first inspection,” he said. “We will be installing epoxy floors in two weeks, and after that we will be waiting on the equipment to be installed.”

Pointer said students can look forward to a new pizza line and a new taco line.

The new 42,000-square-foot, two-story school construction project at MacArthur Junior High is also still in the planning stages.

Pointer said a new two-story building will be constructed in a clear space between existing structures.

“Several of those buildings were built in 1963,” he said, noting two structures will be razed once the new school is built.

Another perk, when the project is completed, will be the reduction in traffic on Willett Street, he said.

“Car lines will run in front of the school itself. Currently, overflow traffic spills onto Willett Street,” Pointer said, noting there will be additional parking spaces as well. Final construction is estimated to be completed in the fall semester of 2023.

School board members also approved this year’s JFAST negations.

JFAST is an teacher organization that negotiates better conditions and employment terms for educators.

Dana Decker, this year’s incoming JFAST president, said the organization is particularly pleased with the increase in salaries for nurses throughout the district.

“Everyone wanted the head nurse to get a raise even if it didn’t benefit them. I am tickled it will benefit them all,” Decker said.

JFAST’s initial request was for the head nurse of the district to receive a salary schedule the same as a certified teacher.

The district increased salaries across the board, which will cost an estimated $50,000.

“With the pandemic we are just grateful to get anything,” Decker said.