Jasper extends superintendent’s contract

The Jasper School District Board of Education met in regular session Monday night, Jan. 15, and extended Superintendent Jeff Cantrell's contract a year to 2020. Pictured from left are Board President Stacey Clark, Superintendent Cantrell and Board Member Quentin Rylee.

JASPER — The Jasper School District Board of Education voted to extend Superintendent’s Jeff Cantrell’s three year contract through the year 2020. The board took up the personnel matter during its regular monthly meeting on the Jasper campus Monday night, Jan. 15.

The vote was taken following a short executive session early in the meeting. Cantrell has served as the consolidated school district’s superintendent since January 2015 succeeding Kerry Saylors. Cantrell previously held the duties of assistant superintendent.

Cantrell reported to the board that the three-year advisory agreement between the school district and First Security Beardsley has expired and recommended renewing the agreement for the next three years. The financial adviser helps the school board plan and carry out strategies regarding extending, refunding and proposing bond issues that help the district meet existing needs. The fiscal agent provides these services without additional cost to the school district. The board approved the recommendation. A financial report will be presented to the board in February.

New lights have been installed in the Jasper gym. The state of the art lights are more cost efficient and much brighter. Cantrell joked that the school board members may need to wear sunglasses when they enter the gym. New lights are also planned for the Kingston campus.

In other business:

• The board hired after school tutors.

• Learned that the Boston Mountain Community Health Center, medical provider for the school based health center on the Jasper campus, is in the process of interviewing a medical doctor for the Jasper center.

• The CYCLE Kids program is providing bicycles and a health and fitness curriculum to the school district through a grant from the Walton Family Foundation. This is part of a Healthy Lifestyles program for students. Presentation of the bikes were scheduled at the schools as weather permits.

• Received a board member training report.

• Approved an out-of-state trip for Jasper High School students. The reward trip will be to the Branson Imax Theater.

• Heard a report from the superintendent on the incident involving a recent liquid chlorine spill on state Highway 7 at the bottom of the mountain at the city limits.

The school evacuated students within 15 minutes and transported them to the Baptist Church where students were organized and then transported home. It was fortunate that school buses were lined up waiting for dismissal, the superintendent noted. Cantrell added that the incident happened on a Monday and that on the previous Friday he held a meeting with staff and discussed the school district’s emergency action plan. The scenario presented was a chemical spill.

• Cantrell also noted that January is school board member appreciation month.

“I don’t know that you really realize the value you provide the school district. You make my job easier just because you’re so stable. You really are a good board. I appreciate what you do,” he said.

Jeff Dezort, Newton County Times editor, has worked at the newspaper since 2001. Before that he was a reporter, photographer and assistant editor of the Harrison Daily Times.

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