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A $1,000 one-time, non-recurring bonus for certified members of the El Dorado School District and a 2.86 percent payment for classified staff, not to exceed $1,000, was approved by members of the El Dorado School District on Monday night. The payment will be included on November paychecks.

Describing the school district’s end-of-year audit as “sound financially,” Michael Cobb, certified public accountant who has been reporting on the district’s financial matters for a number of years, said his firm looks for compliance with state and federal rules and regulations.

“As auditors, we look at financial statements to see they are accurate – the assets are there, the cash exists, things are charged as they should be,” Cobb said, reporting the district has revenues of $37.2 million and expenditures of $32 million, creating a balance of $5 million.

Wayne Gibson, board member, asked “if no more money” came into the district, how long could the district operate.

“You could go for over 90 days – which is appropriate,” Cobb replied.

“You all are handling financial matters in a prudent manner, things are charged as they should be,” Cobb said, adding that “internal controls show that the district is in compliance with state and federal rules.”

Evan Chandler, president of the El Dorado High School Student Council, reported to the board that the council made $800 by taking advantage of the Murphy Arts District’s grand opening Sept. 27 through Oct. 1, and sold parking spaces in the Administration Office parking lot. He said $500 of the total raised was donated to the Agape House Children’s Home and the rest was given to the district.

He also commented on El Dorado High School’s winning football season, with a 9-1 record in regular season and said this Friday, the Wildcats will have a bye week.

Also during Monday night’s regular monthly board meeting, El Dorado Mayor Frank Hash read a proclamation declaring the week of Nov. 13-17 as American Education Week.

At the recommendation of Superintendent Jim Tucker, board members agreed to extend the land lease with the Lawson Volunteer Fire Department. He said for the past 25 years, the school district has leased the land to the Lawson Fire Department.

Board members approved legal transfer requests for two students from the El Dorado School District to the Parkers Chapel District and one student from Junction City to the El Dorado School District.

Gibson was selected as the Arkansas School Boards Association legislative liaison from the board.

Kate Vernon, a senior at EHS, was honored as student of the month. She is the daughter of Trey and Pam Vernon and her AP (Advanced Placement) Human Geography teacher, Caitlin Noble, said she “exemplifies the true meaning of growth mindset. As a student … she sets goals for herself and then tries out different strategies to meet those goals.”

Her principal, Alva Reibe, said Vernon has a 4.2 grade point average and plans to attend Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia and major in speech pathology. At EHS, she participates in Student Council, Senior Steering Committee, National Honor Society and Beta Club. She is a member of Camp Fire and loves art and dance. She is a member of First Baptist Church and is a youth worker.

Taylon Steele, in her second year of teaching at EHS, teaches EAST I, II, III, IV and photography and was honored as teacher of the month. She is a 2004 EHS graduate and received her bachelor of science in English from Harding University, her master of science in education and her master of art in journalism from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Co-workers said she is “determined, dedicated and diligent in making an impact on young people’s education and lives. She engages students in real-life and relevant learning through problem solving and community involvement.” She is a Beta Club sponsor; organized and carried through a school-wide project in partnership with the Adopt-A-School program to aid in Hurricane Harvey relief; sponsored “Socktober,” school-wide where students donated socks for Turning Point and The CALL. She organized homecoming and sweetheart events, is the EHS website and Facebook manager and editor of Wildcat Weekly. She is an active member of College Avenue Church of Christ and teaches dance at TNT. She is married to Daniel Steele and is mom to toddlers Sutton and Gabe.

Janice McIntyre can be reached at 870-862-6611 pr at

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