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Handbook and updates highlight Van-Far meeting

Posted on Tuesday, July 21, 2015 at 5:45 pm

Jon Berendzen talks about a $1,200 change order for a bathroom.

Jon Berendzen talks about a $1,200 change order for a bathroom.

With an evolving focus on student sexuality in school districts nationwide, Van-Far board member Kimber Nation discussed a section in the Elementary Parent and Student Handbook on Human Sexuality Curriculum during last week’s Van-Far R-I School Board meeting.
She discussed a section of the handbook that is related to MSBA Policy IGAEB.
“I’m concerned with some of the changes in our country and I didn’t know if that is a policy mandate, something that’s got to be in there?” Nation said. “…Just because it’s legal, doesn’t make it right.”
Board President Christy Nelson noted that the handbook also references an education video shown each year to 6th grade students where forms are sent home to parents in order for them to view it.
Nation later clarified her concerns to The Van-dalia Leader.
She said the focus of her concern was not the current video.
Her point is that the district needs to stay on top of the content because she expects there will be changes to it over the next several years due to the country’s current direction (i.e. Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage).
The handbook was unanimously approved 7-0.

Maintenance Report
Van-Far Superintendent Dr. Stephen Hunter gave board members an update on the Summer maintenance in the district.
His report and the drafted meeting minutes show:
• One of the lawn mowers broke down and they are presently using a loaner mower. The extended warranty is expiring soon and there was discussion on the next step to take for the mower.
• The floor tile for the elementary library will be installed early next week.
• The elementary restrooms have been painted and Superintendent Dr. Hunter had a sample of the resin covering for the restroom floors. Hand dryers will be installed in the Kindergarten restrooms for a cost savings to the district.
• He asked Jon Berendzen, Porter Berendzen & Associates to explain the proposed change order of $1,200 regarding the wall in the boy’s bathroom at the elementary. After board discussion concerning the change, Mr. Berendzen agreed that the firm would split the cost involved with the change.
• The exterior doors at the elementary will arrive to be installed July 27 and the interior doors at the high school July 30. The frames for all the doors will also be painted.
• Crawford Construction plans to start digging for the early childhood addition next week as rain has delayed the ability to dig.
• The awning has been removed at the elementary.
• The parking lot project was discussed.  Don Martin Construction has not signed the contract due to concerns about delays in concrete vendor availability caused by the weather.
He is concerned about getting the concrete poured, followed by the asphalt work, in the proposed timeline. Upon further discussion, the board suggested waiting on the parking lot project and rebidding it next spring due to weather issues and the timeline involved.  The abatement will be bid early in the year, allowing better information on project cost and time to complete the project.
The board approved to wait on the parking lot project until next Spring with a 7-0 vote.
• The high school gym floor has been refinished by Luebbert Hardwood Flooring and appears to be back in good shape.
• Items are being placed back into the elementary pods and the carpets have been shampooed, walls painted and liquid glue removed.
The restrooms in the pods have been reconstructed.
• The outside walk-in freezer at the elementary has been repaired.
• The new sump pumps at the high school have been working well during all the rain.
Superintendent Dr. Hunter also gave a report on the budget as well as a legislative update.
He reported that the state money calculations continue to be a moving target. Fine monies received in 2013 will effect local effort calculations in 2015-16 and foundation formula receipts. He also reported on inquiries into interest rates for the bond investments and will look into further options.
Pay-down on the construction will start next month, for a period of five months.
The federal programs allocation dollars were also discussed.
Funding for Title I is $147,418 and Special Education Part B is $115,620.
Both dollar totals are down, while funding for Title IIA went up slightly to $30,079.

Melissa Deimeke introduced Jane Craven, who was observing a board meeting as part of a class she is taking. Craven is from Wellsville.
With USDA calculations, the district’s meal prices remain unchanged at $1.70 and $1.90.
The tax rate hearing for assessed valuation will be held on August 20 at 6:45 p.m., before the regular board meeting.
In Executive Session, the board hired Wes Rowden as head baseball coach and hired Kenny Hoef as assistant baseball coach.
The MSBA Fall Conference will be held October 1-4.
In a submitted report, Van-Far Elementary Principal Brian Hummel discussed the “The Leader In Me” process, which is the Franklin Covey’s whole school transformation process. A grant has since been awarded for all cost except for $6,500 a year. The district would also have to compensate teachers for training but is covered through use of title funds and possibly other grants. Training will be held August 4-6 and August 10-11.
The Elementary/Jr. High School pool party, for K-8th grade, will be held on Tuesday, August 11 from 7-9 p.m.
In reports of members, board member Kevin Motley read thank you notes for memorials from the Amanda Lee Culwell family, the Raymond Abington family, and the family of Selena Bagley.
He also read a thank you from Teresa Klott for the retirement bell and the support she was given during her teaching career.
Nation mentioned the extra effort the teachers are putting in this year with the remodeling project.
Board member Pete Nasir mentioned the proposed bill concerning No Child Left Behind and federal funds.
He encouraged members to support the Senate version of the bill.