Enrollment up by 20, school board hears

Lisa May addresses the Huntsville School Board.

Enrollment in the Huntsville School District is up 20 students as of the first of October, the Huntsville School Board was told on Monday.

The Oct. 1 enrollment in the district was 2,237, according to Superintendent Dennis Fisher.

Three students transferred out of the district, while four transferred in, Fisher told the board.

Fisher also told the board that compared to this time last year, tax revenue in the district is down $122,420 while foundation funding is down $17,930. In total, revenue is down $101,641.29 from last year.

Fisher reported that salaries are up $85,653.14, while total expenditures are up $78,827.52 compared to a year ago.

Also as part of his report, Fisher updated the board on construction projects to install new heating and air conditioning units at gymnasiums Huntsville and St. Paul.

Duct work was scheduled to be shipped to the gyms on Wednesday and should arrive next week. Electrical gear is to ship Nov. 7 for St. Paul, which will take about a week to install, he said.

HVAC units for the Charles H. Berry Gym in Huntsville will be shipped Nov. 31. Electrical gear will be shipped on Nov. 7. Fisher said concrete pads for the new units on the front and back of the Huntsville gym were poured on Monday.

In other business Monday:

• The board approved the purchase of four parcels of land on the College Hill Addition, between Highway 74 and school property at the middle school. The lots will cost $20,147.23, which includes closing costs. Fisher said the district may choose in the future to use the land to make an access road onto Highway 74.

• The board heard from Lisa May, whose son, Eoin, plays for the varsity football team. May recounted how – after the Eagles lost to Elkins on Sept. 20 – her son told her, “‘Mom, it was like they knew our plays. They seemed to know exactly where we were going.’”

The following week, it was disclosed that former coach Randy Barnhill, who was employed as dean of students at Huntsville High School, shared information via text messages with Elkins coach Bryan Hutson about the Eagles’ football team.

Barnhill was escorted from the HHS campus and resigned his position, while Hutson was given a five-day suspension for his part.

“Our dean of students and past head coach betrayed the very young men he was tasked in leading when he started here,” May said.

“Clearly, this was a complete failure on his part. ... I would hope you would find this as appalling like my husband and I did and most of every parent of the players on our football team,” she said.

May said she and other parents have contacted Arkansas Activities Association, the state Department of Education and Fisher about the situation.

“We as parents are doing all we can do to make sure this never happens again and those who betrayed us all are not allowed to repeat it anywhere else,” May told the board.

“We’re trying to remind our young men that it is still better to do the right thing, even though there appears to be little consequence for those who don’t.

“We are doing all we can as parents, are you doing all you can as our representatives? Are you doing all you can?”

Board President Danny Thomas said, “We’ve done everything that we can possibly legally do as a board and that’s not enough.”

• The board approved a request by the St. Paul FFA chapter to attend a national event in Indianapolis, Ind., Oct. 29-Nov. 2. Students have raised more than $3,000 to attend the event.

St. Paul will be recognized as a national chapter. Also, two graduates of St. Paul will receive American Degrees, a rare accomplishment, according to adviser Courtney Smith.

The board approved the chapter’s request.

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