Van-Far board discusses variety of topics
The Van-Far R-I School District held their monthly school board meeting on Thursday, September 19 at the High School Cafeteria. The meeting was called to order at 7 p.m. and all members were present.
The first order of business was approval of the consent agenda with the exception of check number 32281, which was approved unanimously.
School Superintendent Dr. Stephen Hunter explained a change in the student recognition criteria. Students will be recognized this year on achievement in existing programs. This will showcase both the programs, as well as students.
Van-Far Elementary Principal Amber Crane introduced the new teachers in the elementary building. Mrs. Terri Udelhoven, sixth grade, Ms. Linda Haskins, special education, and Ms. Susan Thompson, special education. Three of the elementary teachers were not able to attend due to coaching responsibilities and will be introduced at the October meeting.
Principal Cindy Pirch introduced the new staff in the Jr./Sr. high school building. Gayle Jones, A+ Guidance secretary, Ms. Caryn Cordes, special education teacher and Mr. Alex Cucciarre, vocal music and band instructor.
Enrollment as of September 19 was 624. This is up 14 students from last May. The kindergarten class is a large class of 59 students. Dr. Hunter reported enrollment continues to climb.
Dr. Hunter reported the annual Missouri School Boards’ Association Conference is October 4-6 in the Lake of the Ozarks. The Annual Fall Regional meeting will be held in Mexico on October 16. Members were asked to notify the office if they plan to attend. The Spring Regional meeting will be held at Van-Far with the date to be announced later.
In regards to a Resource Officer, Dr. Hunter reported that he met with the Community R-VI Superintendent Connie Mack, and they have scheduled a future meeting with the county commissioners and Sheriff Stuart Miller on October 2. Hunter said this topic is progressing and he will have more detailed information to present to the Board in October.
For the Policy GCPCA, “Professional Staff Retirement Incentive,” it states that when teachers reach their 30th year of service in the Public School Retirement System of Missouri, and have taught in the Van-Far R-1 School District for the last 15 consecutive years, they shall have the option of receiving a $5,000 incentive bonus to retire.
Questions were raised at the August meeting regarding this policy. After reviewing the policy Board member Pete Nasir suggested changing the word “reached” to “completed” in the first sentence. Members also asked to have a notification deadline included in the language, in order for the District to begin looking for a replacement.
School Calendar Law 171.31.2 indicates that the local school district may set an opening date no earlier than 10 calendar days prior to the first Monday in September, unless the district follows the procedure in Section 171.031.3. The procedure requires a public hearing be held and so a hearing was held on April 16 in accordance with this law.
The district’s new Towing Trailer Form was introduced which requires the signature of the person towing the trailer with his or her own vehicle and proof of insurance.
Dr. Hunter presented MSIP 5 information. He explained the scoring method and reviewed Van-Far’s data. Van-Far scored an overall 88.2 percent. Dr. Hunter complimented both principals and the faculty on the scores and thanked them for their hard work.
“These high scores do not just happen, they are a direct result of planning and dedication. Our district score was the top scores in Audrain County,” Hunter said.
For the Principals’/Director’s Reports, Principal Crane discussed Star Spangled Banner Day on Sept. 12 and how it was a big success. Crane also thanked the high school band for making an appearance.
Professional development for the building is being reviewed and new strategies are being created and implemented for the year. After reviewing data, teachers decided RTI time would be spent on math. The elementary is using a new edition of “Everyday Math” this year.
Principal Pirch announced a meeting of building administrators, assessment coordinators, and Mr. Mike Willard reviewed District test data and is addressing the weak areas. Mr. Willard, formerly of Show Me Curriculum, is a specialist at analyzing data. The staff is working toward receiving a PLC exemplary award. Dr. Hunter noted the district has been noticed for doing an outstanding job of implementing PLC. It has been suggested they work to attain the exemplary status.
Principal Pirch reiterated that both buildings are working together to implement the “Blessings in a Bag” program, and that the Alumni banquet is coming up on Saturday, September 28.
The first item under action items was concerning school bus routes. This years’ bus routes are very similar to last years’, aside from a few adjustments made for new students. The board unanimously approved updated bus routes for the 2013-2014 school year.
Tuition for 2013-2014 school year was the next action item on the agenda for board review. Dr. Hunter recommended tuition be set at $9,245 for the 2013-14 tuition, and it was approved.
The board voted to approve a Special Education Compliance Plan for the 2013-14 school year.
This is an annual approval, stating that the district uses and complies with the DESE Plan, which defines special education protocols, regulations, and day-to-day procedures.
Board members reviewed the Professional Development Plan and Budget for the 2013-14 school year. The PDC budget is set at $19,000 for the current year. Dr. Hunter explained the District must allocate a minimum of 1 percent of the foundation formula for professional development. The Professional Development Plan and Budget was approved.
The Van-Far community does not have a Head Start program. By entering into the CMCA Head Start Memorandum of agreement for the 2013-14 school year, the District PAT director is allowed to attend the annual head start meeting in Columbia. There is no charge for this service.
Nasir noted the document being approved is not a true contract, but an interagency memorandum of agreement.
The school is looking to approve Ala Carte Lunch Prices, however, Dr. Hunter asked to table this item until October. Dr. Hunter told the board that he wants to have time to visit with Mrs. Laird, the food service director regarding the price changes.
Resolution for pre-payment of bonds was on the agenda for approval. Dr. Hunter asked the board to consider pre-payment of the bonds. This payment will save the district $16,000 in interest and allow the levy to remain at $4. The resolution was approved.The board approved the Network for Educator Effectiveness Teacher Evaluation Process. This evaluation tool meets DESE criteria and was developed through the University of Missouri. Both principals have been trained on the evaluation process. Dr. Hunter explained this evaluation process has the principals in the classroom many times throughout the year, allowing for a better snapshot of the teacher’s abilities. The web-based program allows for instant feedback for the teacher plus the information is stored for future needs.
The district received four bids for the tires. The high bid was from Vandalia Firestone for $1,300. A motion was made to accept the $1,300 bid from Vandalia Firestone and was approved.
The first reading of Policy Update DC, DC-AP, Taxing and Borrowing Authority/Limitations was discussed. The bonding counsel for the bus loan requested this policy update and procedure. MSBA attorneys recommended this update. A schedule of the District’s tax-advantaged obligations was required in the procedure DC-AP and will need to be updated yearly. The Superintendent of schools was designated as the Bond Compliance Officer. The board decided to waive the first two readings of the policy updates and approve the policy and procedure.
For the reports of board members, Mr. Hopke read a thank you note from Luann Nilges.
Mr. Udelhoven thanked the staff for making the Friday night football game a great night for the community. Udelhoven noted the grounds looked beautiful, and having the younger children recognized along with the fund-raiser BBQ made it a well-put together night. Mrs. Nelson said she had been approached about the board donating a basket to Basket Lucky for Project Prom. Nelson asked board members to donate to the cause.
The open session of the board meeting adjourned at 8:03 p.m., and then reconvened for the executive session at 8:15 p.m.
In the executive session, a motion was made to hire Kim Hodde as a part-time para-professional. The motion was approved.
The board reconvened in open session at 9:02 p.m. to discuss the football program. It was a consensus of the board to form a committee of three board members from Van-Far and Community R-VI to discuss the program. No decision or action will be taken at the committee meeting. The board officially adjourned for the evening at 9:03 p.m.