Linda Collins-Smith was a guest at the meeting. Smith is a former Williford graduate who is running for Arkansas State Representative. Smith spoke briefly to the school board asking for their support in the upcoming election.
Michael Lindsey, a representative with Morgan Keegan and Company financial was present to advise the board on the best way to finance the renovations on the aging school buildings. He suggested a post dated warrant on a 10 year payback schedule at 4.5 percent interest. The representative told members this was a tax exempt loan that is repaid with mills. He estimated the yearly payment of the proposed $509,000 loan would be $63,000 annually. Lindsey said, "It is pretty common for schools to pay for renovations with warrants, it just makes sense cash flow wise." He asked for the board to vote to allow him, on the school's behalf, to shop for the best bank to fund the project. The board voted unanimously to allow Lindsey to continue with the search. Lindsey will meet with the board in a special meeting during the week of Dec. 4-9 to present his findings prior to applying for the grant.
Twin Rivers Superintendent Bob Gilliland said this will give the school a little bit of cushion while waiting on funding from the Department of Education for isolated schools. He said the money would be available anywhere from January to March. He said the second phase was on hold. Phase two of the renovation would include replacing heating systems and electric.
Gilliland also addressed the board telling them that he commended them on their decision to go forward with the warrant. He said he spoke with a man who writes grants for the stimulus funding and has a meeting set for Nov. 23 to discuss him writing a grant for the school. He said the $15,000 fee will come directly from any grants the school system would receive from the stimulus package.
The school board went into executive session to discuss an employment issue. Suzanne Roberts was hired as the high school secretary at the Williford Campus and Dianna Griffins' letter of resignation was accepted by the board.
The Twin Rivers School Board meets monthly at the Williford campus. The public is invited to attend.