Much discussion was held on the 2018-19 calendar during Van-Far’s School Board meeting held last Thursday.
Annie Wallace addressed the board regarding the district’s plan to start school early in the month of August on the 14th.
“It is frustrating that it couldn’t start just one week later after the Missouri State Fair’s over,” Wallace said. “I really hate it that I have to have my 12-year-old decide between showing her steer at the State Fair or attending her very first day of Junior High.”
She noted the importance of the experience and hard work learned by youngsters participating in the State Fair.
“So much can be gained by everyone attending the State Fair,” Wallace noted.
Wallace then noted what area districts are doing in regards to the State Fair.
She noted that Ralls County’s district is using an hours method instead of the days method in the calendar to start school after the State Fair.
Board member Kevin Motley noted that if a student participates in the State Fair, they are not counted as absent.
Documentation must be provided by the student as to why they are at the State Fair to get the credit.
Since the calendar item was not on the regular agenda, board members voted to pull an already approved calendar item from the Consent Agenda to Action Items.
When the matter was revisited, board member Larry Wheeler said he would like to see the district move graduation off of Mother’s Day, May 12.
Discussion included possibly moving graduation to May 5, May 19 or move it to a different day of the week.
A Friday or Saturday option was also discussed.
Sporting conflicts were noted for possible Saturday graduation dates.
Discussion also returned to the start of the school year with the note of a later school start a couple of years ago due to school remodeling.
Board President Dana Keller said she didn’t think the board was in a position to make a change for the upcoming school year.
She noted the hours versus days discussion could be looked at closer in the planning of the next year’s calendar.
The board then voted to approve the corrected calendar as presented. Board members Tony Dameron and Wheeler both voted “No.”
MOBEEF in schools
Mark Russell, the Executive Director of the MoBeef Industry Council, presented an overview of the program and information regarding partnerships with the council, the Department of Agriculture, OPAA!, schools, beef producers, and the community. It was the consensus of the board to move ahead with this program. Basically, the council is looking to increase the amount of beef used at no more extra cost to parents and schools for students.
One 1,200-1,300 lb. cow would yield about 450 lbs. of boneless meat. So getting a group of farmers to donate a cow to the program, it would help the local school district provide beef to its students.
During the Superintendent Reports, Superintendent Dr. Stephen Hunter reported enrollment of 314 in the elementary and 259 in the Jr./Sr. High School for 573 total. With the Pre-K, enrollment sat at 617.
Summer School enrollment shows 177 at the elementary and six in the other building for a total of 183 students. Information was also provided on profit and loss of the Summer School program.
He also noted that two elementary exterior windows were removed and replaced with brick; potholes filled at both parking lots with graveling on both sides of the concrete pad at the elementary for additional parking; bids to seal the bus loop behind the high school and to seal the elementary playground; removing carpet and replace with tile in the Sp-Ed room and counselor’s office at the elementary; the Ameren Lighting Project is still in process; and the AEL program has pulled out of the building.
A Back To School Pool Party is slated for 7-9 p.m. on August 7.
DESE/Legislative Updates were provided, which included the DESE State Board meeting, MSIP 6, and education-related bills in legislation.
Written reports were also provided by the principals.
Tony Lower provided a technology update. He noted summer projects like wiring and rerouting for new access points, surplus items, and preventative maintenance.
Ryan Morris reported on detailed cleaning, patching tile floors in the high school and work on the a/c units at the elementary. The new freezer has been installed.
The board first postponed the approval of the 2018-19 budget until open session reconvenes after Executive Session.
It was later adjusted to make the SRO expenditure to $25,845.42 and adjust security supply expenditure to zero.
The 2017-18 budget revision was approved as presented.
The Success for All agreement for 2018-19 was approved with five professional development days for high school and five for elementary at a cost of $25,400.
No tire bids were received. There were some discussion of options.
The remaining 2017-18 expenditures were approved.
In Executive Session, Christy Vigil was hired as a full-time Nurse’s Aid, Robyn Day was hired as Special Education Para, and Ashley Griffin was hired as custodian pending a background check.
At the beginning of the meeting, the Consent Agenda was approved. It included meeting minutes for May 17 and the budget workshop on June 19, the financial statement and authorization to pay bills, a resolution approved for Ricoh lease payments, resolution approved for adopting flex benefits plan, approving services letter for “Gerding, Korte & Chitwood,” a 2018-19 calendar correction, the 2018-19 Cafeteria Plan, the 2018-19 Special Education contracts, the A+ Advisory Team Partnership Plan and student handbooks, the model DESE plan, and literacy assessment addendum.