Several resignations were approved by the Van-Far R-I School Board during their meeting held last Thursday.
Kyle Epperson resigned from her duty as JV girls basketball coach.
William Wickles resigned as a bus driver while both paraprofessionals Juanita Lynn and Sarah Boston also resigned.
Superintendent Dr. Stephen Hunter reported a current enrollment of 612 students, with 238 in the Jr./Sr. High School and 374 in the Elementary School.
A highlight of his report was a DESE Review conducted March 5-6. The district received a clean report with no major concerns noted in the exit interview. The last review was done five years ago and will begin on a three year cycle in the future.
Dr. Hunter said the removal of the trailer has been delayed due to the weather.
He also noted he will be researching possible dust control for the gravel road.
The damaged sign and the deterioration of the mortar and base were discussed. He will look at options regarding cost and placement of a new sign.
In regards to the 2015-16 health insurance for the district, he noted no increase and possibly a slight decrease for staff cost due to a tiered system with MEHUP. More information will be made available for the April meeting.
The district now has two Section 125 vendors in Forest T. Jones and American Fidelity. Employees will receive more information on flexibility and options in the future.
In regards to the budget, Dr. Hunter noted that the state approved $74 million, far short of the $485 million needed to fully fund the Foundation Formula.
In Executive Session, the board approved the hiring several staff for the 2015-16 school year. The list includes Joy Davis as A+ Coordinator; Melissa Deimeke as Special Education Director; Laura Straube as Reading Coach; Lisa Wise as Speech Pathologist; and Donna Woodrow as a tenured teacher.
A list of nontenured elementary and Jr./Sr. High teachers were also approved for hire.
Dr. Hunter said if the bond issue passes in the April election, there could be an ESCE Capital Cost Purchase Agreement. This could result in a reimbursement of the cost of Early Childhood square footage. The monies would be spread over eight years and can only be used for the Early Childhood programming. Agreement would have to be confirmed before breaking ground on construction.
No school board election is needed as two candidates have filed for the two available openings. Though the Proposition A item is on the ballot. One more Proposition A information forum will be held at 6 p.m. inside the Elementary School Library on March 30.
Van-Far Jr./Sr. High Principal Cindy Pirch said there was a good turnout for the Area V FFA Contest on March 18.
Among some other dates, she said Van-Far graduate Charlene Wheeler will speak on Character + Day April 1.
The school play/musical “Beauty and the Beast” will be held April 10-11, starting at 6 p.m. on Friday and 5 p.m. on Saturday.
A Music Department Dinner Show will be held on Sunday, April 12.
Spring Break starts at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 1 and runs through April 6.
Proficiency Awards will be given out on April 20 with the EOC awards following on April 24.
Van-Far Elementary Principal Brian Hummel said the elementary has had a average daily attendance of 95.07%.
The 5th grade is going to a symphony in Quincy, Illinois on March 25.
The VFTA Carnival is Friday, March 27 from 5-8 p.m. Kindergarten Round-up is slated for April 9. The Proficiency Award Program is a day earlier on April 8. A+ Coordinator Joy Davis reports 101 contract students for the program and 15 Class of 2015 A+ students have earned their A+ Scholarship.
Teacher Nikki Gibson introduced Lauren Shaw. Shaw wrote an essay entitled “The Holocaust Shouldn’t be Forgotten.”
The Spring MSBA Region 17 meeting will be hosted by Van-Far starting at 6 p.m. on April 15. The topic will be about safety. A second reading of MSBA Policy (Speakers at District Events) is an update in response to House Bill 1303.
A bid of $170 for surplus tires was accepted.