The Van-Far R-I School Board officially approved MSBA Policy ACAE at the recommendations of the state association and the district’s attorney in regards to transgender students.
Board member Pete Nasir cast the lone “No” vote citing concerns with specific areas of the policy.
The policy does say that “transgender students may use the restroom or locker room that conforms with the student’s gender assigned at birth, or they may use any unisex facilities available to students. The district will also, upon request, designate separate facilities for transgender students to use if unisex facilities are not available to students.”
It also says the district will “only consider accommodations requested or discussed with the student’s parents/guardians.”
A facilities update was given by Van-Far Superintendent Dr. Stephen Hunter.
He reported the north and south pods have been gutted and old ductwork, carpet, and tile removed. The closet and new part is framed up in the south pods. The Samsung HVAC units have been installed. Demolition of the bathrooms in the north pods is taking place. The abatement was completed four days ahead of schedule and demolition coincided with the abatement project.
Work began when school ended under the direction of Crawford Construction. The goal is for the project to be completed by the start of school in the Fall.
Summer School enrollment was 188 and it runs through June 24.
The 2016-2017 budget was approved as it was noted the negative effect the fine money had on the district’s revenue this year.
A committee has been formed to look at budget items and to set futuristic strategies for operations and target reductions of expenses. Board members Dr. Greg Frost, Larry Wheeler, and Kimber Nation will serve on this committee. The FY17 AEL Budget was also approved.
The remaining 15/16 expenditures were also approved.
Van-Far Elementary Principal Brian Hummel reported that Summer School attendance has averaged 166 daily. Grades 3-6 will go to the public library and 2nd grade is conducting “Krazy Korn,” a popcorn business. They are donating money to the Honor Flight and have raised $420 so far. The Audrain County Health Unit has provided a series of presentations and Marty Hahne conducted a program on bullying and self-esteem. Registration packets will be picked up next week, to be returned by June 24. The back-to-school swim party will be held August 9, from 7-9 p.m.
Van-Far Jr./Sr. High School Principal Cindy Pirch gave her final report and stated that registration packets will be picked up next week for the Jr./Sr. High. There were nine days of Credit Recovery held and all incoming seniors are in line to graduate, thanks to the program. Drug testing dates are set.
Principals Pirch and Pafford attended the EMO Conference and Nick Barnes was an EMO Conference Scholarship recipient. On behalf of herself and Garry, she thanked the board for the pizza before the meeting and expressed how proud they are to have been a part of Van-Far.
In Executive Session, Van-Far hired former Community R-VI teacher Rebecca McCurdy as its new business teacher, FBLA Advisor, and SOE Advisor (pending enrollment).
Dawn Niemeyer was hired as an elementary classroom teacher.
Consent agenda was approved though the resolution for flex spending plan was separated from Item E and moved to Item E.1.
A second reading was given for MSBA 2016A Policy Updates.
A first reading of MSBA Policy GCPB involving the resignation of professional staff was read.
It notes that members would require payment if resignation takes place after a certain date. Discussion took place over possible confusion regarding some of the wording.
A Special Education Therapist Contract was approved with Creative Therapy Services, LLC. It was noted that Susan Logerman had done a good job with PT services and only charges mileage within the district.
A change was made to the 2016-2017 calendar as President’s Day was incorrect on the printed version and is now corrected.
In reports of members, Nasir said it was a joy for his wife Mindy to work with Principal Pirch and appreciation was expressed for Cindy and Garry Pirch’s support.
Wheeler said she will be hard to replace and they will both be greatly missed by the community.