Head football coach Taggart Moore and coach Tyler Shaw spoke to the Lonoke School Board about the purchase of new football helmets to reduce the impact of head-to-head collisions during Monday night’s board meeting.

The Speedflex helmet, is a new helmet flexes to help absorb head impact. The shell and the lining of the helmet are created to absorb impact before it gets to the player. In addition, the helmet can incorporated an InSite Impact Response System, to monitor players impact through head impact monitoring technology. While Taggart said the new helmets will not prevent concussions, the flexible panel would absorb more of the energy on impact. With the addition of the monitoring system, Taggart said they will not only know what player has taken a hit hard enough to possibly cause a concussion and in need of assessment, but they can also increase the sensitivity of the monitoring system, to use as a teaching tool for players to learn the proper way to take impact during drills.

“Safety is number one, ” Taggart said. “We want to make it [football] as safe as possible. If my star linebacker has a concussion, I want him pulled off. It’s not worth it to me.”

To an individual, the cost for the helmet would be $409 without the InSite Technology, which is an additional $100. The cost of the districts current helmets is $250.

According to Taggart, Lonoke will be the first school in Arkansas to equip all its players in grades eight through 12 with the helmets. He said Riddell has offered a promotional price of $315 per helmet including the InSite Technology, for a total of $52, 560.

By unanimously vote, the board approved the purchase of the new helmets, plus cost of adding seventh grade helmets.

In other business, the board unanimously approved to retroactively increase substitute pay for the 2017-18 school year from $65 per day to $68 per day for licensed subs and from $60 to $63 per day for non-licensed subs. Long term substitutes subbing over $20 consecutive days at the beginning teacher salary rate per day beginning on the first day. Non licensed subs that hold a bachelor’s degree with receive $90 per day after the 20th consecutive day of subbing and the long term classified subs will receive $75 per day after the 20th consecutive day in the same classroom or position with the districts sub company. Long term teacher licensed subs contracted through the district will be on a case by case basis and approved through the school board.

During the presentation portion of the meeting, middle school principal Lori Holt recognized the middle school student and staff members of the month. Certified staff member of the month was eighth grade science teacher Shaundra Nisbett. She is said to do a great job planning labs and giving students timely feedback, prepares her students well for future work in science and keeping parents informed of assignments in a timely manner.

Classified staff of the month is paraprofessional Rhonda Harris. She is said to take lead anytime she is needed, connects with more difficult students who appreciate her attention, sincerely cares about students and shows them compassion and understanding each day.

The female student of the month is eighth grade student Eva Richardson. She is said to be an outstanding student both academically and behaviorally, self motivated, kind, respectful, caring, a strong leader and willing to always help any student in need.

Male student of the month is eighth grade student Seth Sherman. He is said to be kind, respectful, quiet, calm, dedicated, self motivated, always a gentleman, a great leader and an outstanding student both academically and behaviorally

Also during the meeting, the board unanimously approved to:

-Accept the bid of $35 per acre from Absure Lawn Care of Cabot for yard maintenance services.

-Approve the updated sick leave bank policies for both licensed and classified staff

-Approve the copier lease agreement with Arkansas Copier Center for $3,853 per month or $138,708 for 36 months

-Approve Professional examiner services with Bawana Hooper

-Approve a contract renewal with Allied Therapy Services

-Increase the base salary for the 2017-18 school year for each $234 for each step on the licensed and classified salary schedule as well as increase the longevity stipends by $100.

- Accept the resignations of Sissy Fletcher, Chris Yielding and Angela Watson, coaching duties only

The next regular scheduled board meeting will be at 6 p.m. May 15 in the administration building.