MSSD in process to begin construction

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    NICOLE TRACY
    Reporter
    MINERAL SPRINGS – The
    initiation of the process to
    begin construction of a new
    school building has been
    implemented by the Mineral
    Springs School Board according
    to a report from their public
    meeting on September 22.
    Superintendant Curtis
    Turner Jr. opened the discussion
    by stating that he
    had been in contact with
    architects, concerning building
    a new school. A proposal
    was made towards the board
    concerning starting the design
    and the board agreed to start
    reviewing proposals concerning
    the architectural design of
    the new building. Turner and
    the board will be meeting with
    the architects in a couple of
    weeks to begin the process.
    Turner also stated that the
    board wanted to be cautious
    and not make a decision that
    would adversely affect the
    district.
    Both Turner and the board
    would like to be able to accomplish
    the construction
    of the new building without
    a millage increase. Turner
    further stated that the district
    had made a lot of improvements
    to existing facilities,
    however, the district does not
    want to keep putting money
    into old facilities.
    When the time comes to
    perform the actual construction
    of the new school building,
    Turner would like to have
    the faculty and staff members
    of the district meet with the
    architects, for the purpose of
    allowing them to have input
    into the designs of their new
    classrooms.
    A timeframe has not been
    set for the construction of
    the new facilities, however
    Turner would like to see it accomplished in 1 ½ to
    2 years.
    Financially, the school
    district is doing well, Turner
    stated. The projected end
    balance for the year will
    be around 6.2 million dollars,
    and that the district
    is looking at the best way
    to compensate faculty and
    staff, including salaries.
    Several new programs
    have been put into place by
    the district to help students
    improve academically, and
    Turner stated that he believes
    in his heart that the
    district will see student
    growth in regards to test
    scores.
    Saratoga Elementary
    School has been labeled
    a “focus school” by the
    Arkansas Department of
    Education. The Mineral
    Springs school district was
    consolidated with the former
    Saratoga school district
    in 2005.
    Schools can be given
    the designation due to the
    size of an achievement gap
    between the highest achieving
    group and the lowest
    achieving group, according
    to the Arkansas Department
    of Education.
    The district is in the process
    of appealing that decision.
    Turner stated that the
    district would take the positive
    approach to the “focus
    school” status by using as a
    way to improve.