The Booneville School Board last week approved raises for all school employees and was informed the district’s elementary school will help pilot a program to increase recess time.

All certified employees will be getting a $500 raise, superintendent John Parrish said last week. There was also a 20 cent per hour for all certified employees and five years added to the classified salary schedule approved.

Combined, the pay increases will cost the school district about $105,000, the superintendent said.

Parrish had hinted that the raises were coming during a financial report to the board in February.

“I feel good about where we are financially,” said Parrish. “We are up about $1 million from where we were two years ago.”

Regarding the pilot program for recesses, Parrish said school employee Beth Miesner worked with State Sen. Gary Stubblefield, R-Branch, to write a bill to increase recess time to 60 minutes per day for kindergarten through fourth grade students and to 45 minutes for students in fifth and sixth grades.

Parrish said the bill was only passed through a compromise to make it a pilot rather than a mandate. Each of the educational cooperatives can have two schools pilot the program and Booneville will be one of those for the Guy Fenter Educational Coop in Branch.

“There’s some superintendents that want to protect that six hours of instructional time,” said Parrish. “But we kind of think that recess is important to elementary kids and they learn a lot there and they probably learn better in the classroom while they get to play a little more.

The recess time is unstructured, Parrish said.

In other matters the board approved the purchase of 120 new Chrome Books and four carts at a price of $33,492.63. Half of the Chrome Books are targeted for the elementary school with 30 each set to go to both the junior high and high schools, Parrish said.

The new devices will both replace some and add to the existing Chrome Book inventory.

The board also approved the purchase of a new 71-passenger bus from Summitt Bus for $79,650.