In a unanimous vote during Monday night’s meeting, the Lonoke School Board approved the implementation of a partnership with Hazen and Carlisle school districts for an alternative learning environment center for the 2013-14 school year.

The new alternative learning environment, which has been renamed as the Committed to the Routes of Education (CORE) program will be available for students from sixth through 12th grade. Student from the Carlisle and Hazen School districts will be bussed to the Carver Alumni Building Daily for class.

According to Cindy O’Riley, director of special programs who is overseeing the project, total cost will be $266,000 to fund the program. She said this will include salaries, material, food, and utility costs. She said this will run each district $6,650 per student annually.

The program will offer guidance counseling and academic support to students. Each student will have an action plan, placement team, expectations and exit requirements.

The center will go by the Lonoke School District school calendar. Hours of operation have yet to be determined.

“I believe we have all the pieces in place to make a great program for these students,” superintendent Suzanne Bailey said.

Bailey said they are working to contact outside resources to try and make the program successful. The center will open on a trial basis at the beginning of the 2013-14 school year.

Middle School Principal Jeannie Holt recognized middle school students and teachers of the month. Eighth-grade student Anthony Aloi was recognized as the male student of the month. Eighth-grade student Destiny Bracy is the female student of the month. Classified staff member of the month was Peggy Williams and Tina Bufford was recognized as the licensed staff member of the month.

Three student leadership presentations were made to the board. According to Bailey, this leadership team consists of 24 students in fourth through 12th grade that were selected through interviews and select criteria requirements. She said these students are the “voice” for their peers.

“We have some really great kids,” Bailey said.

Emily Ellis and John Tyler Lloyd presented their idea for having suggestion boxes in the middle and high school libraries, front offices of all buildings and on the school website. Ellis and Lloyd said the student leadership team would be in charge of going through the suggestions to see what suggestions can be solved and those that can not.

“This way everyone gets to have their voice heard,” Ellis said.

They said there will be a place to voice both the problem and a solution for the suggesters to fill out. Both students believe by having suggestion boxes available it will make happier parents and students.

McKenzie Clement and Carli Cox presented their vision for a pep club and spirit bus. Both girls believe there is a lack of school spirit. They said by having a pep club to sell school merchandise, it would create more spirit at pep rallies. Starting a spirit bus was their second suggestion. They suggested having a sponsor with a bus drivers license and charging students $3 to ride the bus to cover gas expenses and teacher pay.

Jessica Watkins presented her and Lyida Moody’s vision to have a community center rewards trip. Moody was not present during the meeting. According to Watkins, she does not know any student that would prefer sitting at school doing work rather than visiting the Lonoke Community Center to swim or play basketball. Watkins said this would be an incentive program for those students who have no more than two tardies, have not visited the principal, been in in-school suspension and have A’s and B’s. She said by offering the program for students, there would be a decrease in behavior problems and students would strive to make better grades.

In other district business, the district recently took bids for a new 71-passenger bus and new special needs bus. One bid was received from Central States Bus Sales of North Little rock in the amount of $90,975 for the 71-passenger bus. Merls Bus Sales of Van Buren gave the bid of $115,100 for a new 90 passenger bus. Two bids were also received on the 48-passenger special needs bus. The lowest from Central States Bus Sales for $95,995 and the highest from Merls Bus Sales for $103,250. The board unanimously approved the purchase of a new 71-passenger bus and a new special needs bus from Central State Bus Sales in the amount of $186,970.

The district will be changing bread companies for the remainder of the school year. The board unanimously voted to accept the bid from Flower Co. to provide bread for the remainder of the 2012-2013 school year. Bailey said due to the Wonder Bread Company’s bankruptcy, the district had to find another provider for fresh bread. The contract with Flowers Company, Inc. is to supply bread through the end of the 2012-13 school year.

Bailey also informed the board that the recent district audit is complete. She said she was very pleased with the audit although there were two findings. One finding was segregation of duties. Bailey said this is very hard to remove but the district is currently working on having it resolved before the next audit. The second finding was misstatements not detected by internal control systems. Bailey said this item was incorrectly posted to the district’s general ledger. She said the district is aware of the finding as it has been corrected.

After going into executive session, the board came back into regular meeting and approved the expulsion of a female middle school student for the remainder of the school year. Bailey said the student was in violation of rule 16: possession of alcohol, drugs or inhalants. She said the students parents have refused their right to a hearing and chose not to attend the meeting. School board president Darrell Park questioned if the student would continue her school work, despite her expulsion. Bailey said she has spoken with the students parents and they have insured her work will be picked up or it would be mailed to her. According to Bailey if the student attends summer school and does not miss any days, she will be able to progress to the next grade in the upcoming school year, although the student will not be allowed credit.

• Also during the meeting, the board unanimously approved:

• To contract for special education testing services.

• To adopt the board policy revisions as presented.

• The licensed salary schedule for the 2013-14 school year with no changes or addition.

• The employment of licensed personnel as presented.

• The resignations of Lauren Greber as middle school counselor; Brent Smith as eighth grade keyboarding instructor; Maria Mortiz as middle school custodian.

• The retirement of Jodie O’Cain.

• To amend Gray Campbell’s resignation acceptance from retirement to resignation.

The board also met in a special meeting on April 10 to discuss upgrades to the Gina Cox Center and student discipline. The board voted unanimously to add all items as presented for a total of $578,815 as a change order, which includes the video boards. The board also unanimously approved up to a five day extension on a middle school student suspension.

Rick Pennington and Chris James were absent from the Monday night meeting. The next regularly scheduled meeting will be at 6 p.m. on May 20 in the administration building.