The Van-Far R-I School Board adopted its 2016-17 School Calendar when they met last Thursday.
During a public hearing, the board looked at two calendars. One had a start date of August 23 and a contingency calendar with an August 30 start date was also discussed.
The contingency calendar would take effect if there was unexpected delays in the remodeling project. Some discussion was also held on Reading Day March 10. The consensus was to let the calendar stand as is and give the matter consideration for future years. Van-Far board member Larry Wheeler abstained with his vote as he arrived late to the meeting.
The new calendar shows a Christmas break from December 21-January 3. The last day of school would be May 25 and graduation would be held May 21.
According to submitted meeting minutes, VFTA President Joe Basinger made a report during the staff/patron/VFTA input section of the meeting.
Joe Basinger, VFTA, reported that the Carnival will be held April 1 at the Elementary from 5-8 p.m. There will be a few changes this year, some new activities and some vendors. Proceeds go toward scholarships, camps and outside professional development for teachers. Basinger reported that “Meet the Candidates Night” took place on March 15 and went well. A video of the questions and answers will be posted on “The Vandalia Leader” website and a print copy will appear in next week’s paper. The Salary Committee recently met with Dr. Hunter. Basinger mentioned that MSTA has been helpful and has provided useful resources for the Committee.
Kathy Allen, school nurse, introduced the “Bright Futures” Program. Van-Far Superintendent Dr. Stephen Hunter recently received a MSBA Scholarship to attend a conference in Joplin about this community program.
Superintendent Dr. Hunter, Mrs. Deimeke, and Mrs. Allen recently met with Dana Keller and a group in Mexico regarding this program.
Mrs. Allen stated this is an exciting opportunity for our school, community and most importantly, our students. More information on this program will be provided at next month’s board meeting.
Superintendent Dr. Hunter reported that current enrollment is 607 students, with 254 in the Jr./Sr. High School and 353 in the Elementary School.
In regards to facilities, he provided updates on the following items:
• The hallway piping insulation and repairs are complete. Ryan Morris has replaced some of the ceiling tiles.
• The surplus trailer has been unhooked and the purchaser is preparing for the move.
• GFI switches have been upgraded in spots.
• Ryan Morris painted and prepared the gym for hanging the new banners. He is working on a solution for the slight rolling of the edges.
• Bus inspections are next Wednesday. Superintendent Dr. Hunter expressed appreciation to Charles Stroker, Transportation Director, for the efforts to prepare for the inspections.
• Board member Jim Hopke brought up the condition of the awning in the ag room area and asked if the awning will be painted. Superintendent Dr. Hunter and Ryan Morris discussed that all other awnings have been repaired and painted. The awning by the ag room has no regular traffic, is decaying and needs to be addressed. They will look into possible solutions for the awning.
It was noted that the MSBA Spring Meeting will be held on April 27 at Bowling Green.
He reported that registration begins at 5:45 p.m.
In regards to the 2016-17 health insurance, Superintendent Dr. Hunter introduced Drew Beaugard, representative from MEUHP and Forest T. Jones Insurance. Mr. Beaugard thanked the board for the opportunity to work with our district during his 12 years with the company. He reported that the average statewide increase of healthcare premiums this year is 3%. He handed out rate sheets and new plan information and pointed out a few changes due to ACA limitations. Mr. Beaugard discussed premiums and out of pocket amounts, tiers, plans and reserve amounts.
Superintendent Dr. Hunter stated he would like for the next step to be looking at the plans available and get input from staff and VFTA.
He also gave a budget update as he reported that HB-2002 will go to the Senate in May and could have a great impact on state funding, which is still a big concern.
He recently met with the Salary Committee and insurance will be another factor for consideration. He would like to discuss financial goals at the next meeting and pointed out the need to build reserves back up.
The April 5 election features four candidates.
In addition to their written reports, principals presented the following information:
Van-Far Elementary Principal Brian Hummel reported:
• Student-Led Conferences were held March 11, with 70% parent participation.
• Pre-K and Kindergarten screenings were held March 15 and 16.
• March 19-Movie Night begins at 5 p.m. This is a fundraiser for the school play.
• April 1 is Leadership Day
• April 8-9 is the School Play “Wizard of Oz”
Van-Far Jr./Sr. High School Principal Cindy Pirch reported:
• She reported on Reading Day and the wonderful opportunity for the students last week to have a storyteller and authors visit with the students.
• She said Spring Sports are starting-March 21-Baseball, March 22-Track, and March 28-Golf
• April 16 is the District Scholar Bowl, beginning at 2 p.m.
Bids are being sought for the trash removal service as monthly costs recently increase. The approval to seek bids was unanimously passed 6-0, as board member Kimber Nation was absent from the meeting.
Proposed changes include removing HVAC from the elementary foyer and changing to a Samsung brand HVAC system. The motion to approve the proposed construction vendor with change passed with board member Larry Wheeler abstaining. No action was taken on the parking lot vendor.
The Champ Clark Contract for 2016-17 was passed. Transportation costs increased slightly, but there are no major changes from the previous contract.
Board member Kevin Motley read letters of resignation from Gilbert Hooker, assistant football coach, and Joyce Holman, para.
The resignations were accepted.
During Executive Session several decisions were made.
The contract of Superintendent Dr. Stephen Hunter was extended for 2017-18. A lone “No” vote was cast by board member Larry Wheeler.
Joy Davis was hired as the At+ Coordinator for 2016-17 while Melissa Deimeke was hired as Special Education Director for next year.
Laura Straube was hired as the Reading Coach, Lisa Wise was hired as Speech Pathologist, and Kris Cross was hired as a teacher.
New tenured teacher hires went to Allison Allgood and Blake Logan. Logan did receive one “No” vote from Wheeler. A list of non-tenured teachers at both school buildings were also hired.
During a Special Meeting held on March 9, the board voted to approve Crawford Construction as Construction Vendor. The hire included Base 1 and 2 and Alternate 1 with deductions 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, and 10 and removed HVAC from 3. The measure passed unanimously.