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FAYETTEVILLE -- School Board members voted Thursday to spend about $1 million to upgrade the district's bus fleet.

Larry Ben
Chris Sputo

The proposal passed unanimously for the district to buy 10 new 71-passenger buses from Summit Bus. Transportation Director Tommy Davenport recommended the company based on its bid of $101,606 per bus.

Fast Facts

Larry Ben

• Incoming associate superintendent for administrative services

• Currently Greenland superintendent

• Prior experience includes roles as principal and assistant principal in Rogers School District, federal programs director and athletic director for Gravette School District and superintendent of Decatur School District.

• Bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s of education in school administration, both from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Okla. Specialist and doctorate of education in educational leadership degrees from the University of Arkansas.

Chris Sputo

• Incoming Leverett Elementary School principal

• Currently assistant principal at Owl Creek School

• Prior experience includes roles as career and technical teacher at Ramay Junior High School, Fayetteville School District special projects coordinator and dean of students at Ramay

• Bachelor’s degree in education and master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Arkansas. Pursuing a doctorate in education from UA.

Source: Fayetteville School District

The School Board also accepted Superintendent Matthew Wendt's recommendations for associate superintendent and Leverett Elementary School principal, with both beginning their new roles July 1.

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The new buses will replace ones at least 20 years old, Wendt told the School Board when the proposal was discussed in March. Money for buying buses this year would come out of district savings, Wendt has said.

Summit Bus submitted the lowest of three bids and the shortest delivery time, according to information provided to the School Board. Buses have to be ordered by Monday to be delivered by Aug. 1. The price includes seat belts.

Greenland Superintendent Larry Ben will join Fayetteville School District as its associate superintendent for administrative services, Wendt announced at the meeting. He will receive a salary of $135,000 annually. He replaces outgoing associate superintendent Kim Garrett, who resigned because her family is moving to Tulsa, Okla. Garrett earns an annual salary of $139,500, Wendt said.

"I'm excited and looking forward to the challenge," Ben said. "This is a great school district."

The addition of Ben completes Wendt's senior leadership team that consists of three associate superintendents. Steven Weber is the associate superintendent with a primary focus over academics. John L Colbert is the associate superintendent with oversight of operations.

Ben will focus on the people side of the School District, Wendt said. His position will focus on legal services, human resources, employee benefits and student services. Ben also will be involved with policy development and strategic planning, Wendt said.

Wendt said he asked Ben to apply for the position. They were acquainted through attending similar professional meetings, he said.

Ben has worked in multiple districts and has experience as the superintendent for two school districts, Wendt said. Wendt also noted Ben's tenure at Greenland included the redesign of its middle school into grade-level teams of teachers and students. He oversaw the completion and construction of a new athletic complex.

While in Decatur, Ben helped raise the student ACT performance, Wendt said.

"He's going to be a wonderful role model for our principals and administrators and will be a great representation of our district when working with our employees," Wendt said.

The School Board also approved Wendt's recommendation for Owl Creek School Assistant Principal Chris Sputo as the new Leverett principal. Sputo will earn a salary of $90,000, Wendt said. She will replace Cheryl Putnam, who resigned because of a move to Oklahoma City. Putnam received an annual salary of $90,700.

Sputo, a 21-year employee of the School District, was the top choice after a national search that drew nearly 20 applications, Wendt said.

"I am incredibly excited about taking the principal role at Leverett," Sputo said. "Fayetteville has definitely shown they can grow leaders."

NW News on 04/28/2017

Print Headline: Fayetteville to replace 10 buses; Board approves new administrators

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