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story.lead_photo.caption This bus is meant to help students by providing WiFi to those who do not have internet access. Photo by Andrew Bell / Texarkana Gazette.

TEXARKANA, Ark. — The Texarkana Arkansas School District introduced its new WiFi-outfitted bus before a regular meeting of the Board of Trustees Monday evening.

The bus was purchased from National Bus Sales for $206,950 with funding coming from a Magnet grant. It is meant to increase access for students by providing WiFi to those who do not have internet access.

Superintendent Dr. Becky Kesler said it is also going to be used for community events, such as home visits, off-campus parent/teacher conferences, registration and family and health resource fairs.

This bus is meant to help students by providing WiFi to those who do not have internet access.
Photo by Andrew Bell/Texarkana Gazette.

The Magnet Alumni, Recruitment and Marketing Office will coordinate the use of the bus.

This bus is meant to help students by providing WiFi to those who do not have internet access.
Photo by Andrew Bell/Texarkana Gazette.

During a long meeting, many agenda items were addressed. None were more pertinent than the district's review of its bond refinancing plan.

In last month's meeting, Jason Holsclaw with Stephens Inc. informed the board that a refinancing of their 2017 Refunding Bonds could result in a potential savings of over $3.2 million in the coming years if they were able to achieve the same interest rate levels through the bid process.

Monday night, Holsclaw reported that with a decreased interest rate since that time, the net savings is now estimated to be more than $3.7 million.

"Fortunately, we hit the market, and it was very well-timed," Holsclaw said. "This wouldn't be the case if we had hit it at any later point in time."

The board approved a resolution authorizing the issuance and delivery of these bonds to seek these savings.

The board also approved the following noteworthy bids for purchase:

n $15,958.69 to Freeman Landscape to renovate the Arkansas High School greenhouse.

n $97,240.50 to Synergetics for 35 Promethean boards, mobile stands, cables and installation.

n $28,415.24 to The Band House of Texarkana for instruments and supplies for the AHS band.

n $37,677.21 to Realityworks for 25 Realcare Babies and accessories to be used in Family Consumer Science at Arkansas High School.

Also approved was the renewal of the Zonar GPS System, which monitors and tracks students in real time, as they board, ride and exit buses. This purchase costs $19,994.

Before the meeting ended, a professional growth plan was considered by the board.

This evaluation system would include the superintendent submitting a plan to the board that details improvement goals.

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