The new Class 2 state basketball champions, the Van-Far Indians, were recognized during the Van-Far R-I School Board meeting held last Thursday.
The Indians’ visit to the school board concluded a day of celebration that featured a parade in downtown Vandalia and an assembly time at the school for the community to congratulate the champions.
Van-Far Jr./Sr. High School Principal Kim Pafford introduced the team to the board. She said she was proud of the team and the way they played the game.
Head Coach Pat Connaway said he was proud of the way his players handled themselves all year.
During the staff/patron/VFTA input portion of the meeting, Lisa Johnson read a letter from Kim Bunge and the VFTA.
The letter noted the concerns of teachers being forced to pay premiums out of their pockets for health insurance, which would result in a pay cut.
Later in the meeting, Drew Beaugard, of MEUHP, provided health insurance pricing updates and explained the causes of the increase premiums. He also introduced the “Hospital Helper” as a possible paid benefit option.
He noted that the statewide pool had a rougher year for health increases statewide than in the past. This notes around a 10% increase.
Van-Far’s increase was an additional 5% as the district moved up a tier.
Van-Far had around $1.1 million in claims last year compared to an average of $640,000 in premium paid in by the district.
With the large total in claims, the district isn’t able to shop for other plans as it had in the past.
In a region of 20+ schools, there are just three other district paying more than Van-Far.
The board is tabling health insurance decisions until the April meeting.
Enrollment is 567, with 262 for the higher grades and 305 in the elementary.
In regards to facilities, the elementary freezer went out in the elementary school.
Repairs are around $7,400 while a new one would be $12,000-$16,000. Consensus was for the district to pursue acquiring a new freezer and the item will be an action item in the April meeting.
In regards to technology, tablet pricing with Google was discussed. Board member Dana Keller noted that potential cost savings could help offset the pricing. This would include cutting down on copy paper, etc.
Infrastructure and internet considerations were also discussed.
The MSBA Regional Spring Meeting will be held on April 25 in Wright City.
Superintendent Dr. Stephen Hunter talked about numerous items pending with the budget along with the levy ballot and healthcare decisions, that will affect the new budget when it is set. A first reading of MSBA Policy Update 2018A was read.
Principal Brian Hummel’s report listed some upcoming important dates, which included “Painting with the Indians” on March 17, “Into the Woods” April 6-7, and the VFTA Carnival being on April 13. Quarterly assessments were completed as well as the MAP practice tests. He also talked about the Jump Rope for Heart program.
Principal Pafford talked about the speech team’s success, including Harley Young advancing to state.
She also said Paul Schambach received honor society honors at the tech school. She noted that Albsmeyer Electric is donating some land to Van-Far FFA for planting. It was also noted that South Callaway is being accepted into the EMO Conference.
Clayton Drake, of Central Bank, presented information on proposed AP Solutions and they were approved by the board.
The OPAA! renewal agreement was approved for 2018-19.
Bus lease financing was approved to accept a bid from the Central Bank of Audrain County. The board also approved an item to sell/surplus busses number 4 and 14.
The April meeting will be held on April 17 as the reorganizational meeting is at 6:45 p.m.
Doug Gillam’s resignation as science teacher was accepted.