Dr. Janine Wilson, director of the Fayetteville City School System, and Mark Clark, school board chair, address the crowd during groundbreaking ceremonies on the Askins School campus Tuesday.
The cafeteria at Askins School will be expanded to accommodate student growth at that facility, the Fayetteville Board of Education decided last week.
Last month, the board accepted a $5.1 million bid from Sain Construction for building projects at Askins and Fayetteville Middle schools. The bid calls for a Pre-K annex building at Askins, along with seven new classrooms and a new cafeteria at Fayetteville Middle.
At the time of the bid’s approval, the board had 60 days to consider an alternate to the bid which called for expansion of Askins’ cafeteria at an additional cost of $159,400.
During last week’s school board meeting, Dr. Janine Wilson, director of schools, told the board that savings in other areas of the project, including brick and dirt work, would allow funds for the cafeteria expansion. The board then approved accepting the alternate to the bid to allow for the cafeteria expansion.
“It’s a necessary component of this building program,” Wilson said, “but we wanted to make sure we could afford it. We’re trying to be very frugal with the money we have.”
Officials gather for a groundbreaking ceremony at Askins.
In other business during last week’s school board meeting, the board voted to change the percentage of health insurance premiums it pays for both professional and non-professional staff.
Facing a 9.2 percent increase which becomes effective in January, the board voted to pay 65 percent of family plans for both professional and support personnel and 80 percent for individual plans for both professional and support employees. In the past, the system paid 55 percent of the family plan for support personnel and 90 percent for individual plans.
“This was the best scenario financially,” Wilson said after the school board meeting. “We wanted to help employees as much as we can and keep from hurting as many as we could with the rates going up. This financially helped more employees by going to 65 percent on a family plan and hurt the fewest by changing from 90 percent to 80 percent on an individual plan. We tried to help as many as we could and stay within budget.
“We have never done the same for professional and support staff,” she noted. “This will really help the support staff going from 55 percent to 65 percent.”
In other action, the board voted to research options for workers comp and liability coverages for the system. Currently, the system is a part of the Tennessee Risk Management Trust.
The board also changed its cell phone use policy, allowing students to use phones or other electronic devices as long as they don’t disrupt the educational environment. The possession and use of cell phones is different for each school, as is age appropriate, and will be published in school handbooks.
According to the policy, teachers may use cell phones during planning periods and lunch, but other times phones should be turned off.
Previously, the board’s policy prohibited cell phone use.