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Van-Far discusses money savings ideas, takes closer look at plans for 2017 Prom

Posted on Wednesday, September 21, 2016 at 9:48 am

Brandie Gay addresses the board.

Brandie Gay addresses the board.

The Van-Far R-I School Board began took a step last week to look into how it will address the decline in revenues during their monthly meeting held last Thursday.
According to meeting minutes, Superintendent Dr. Stephen Hunter reviewed with the board past items of consideration and areas to possibly reduce expenses and make the district more efficient.
He asked the board to consider several focus areas and any others they would like to examine. He asked what information in each area they would like him to bring to them for consideration.
The focus areas include a four-day week, health insurance vendors and costs, staffing considerations, and ways to increase income.
Board members suggested information they would like to see.
Superintendent Dr. Hunter will research and provide data at the next board meeting. Charlie Stroker, director of transportation, suggested looking at transportation costs related to extra-curricular activities.
Prom Date and
The Van-Far R-I School Board meeting began with Brandie Gay addressing the board regarding the request to change the date of Prom and changing the location of Prom back to Vandalia. Superintendent Dr. Hunter presented a brief history and background related to the request to change the location of Prom. According to meeting minutes, Van-Far Jr./Sr. High School Principal Kim Pafford provided background information regarding the previously established date and location for prom, as well as the current request.
Teacher Mr. Christian Rost, class sponsor, also provided history and information regarding past prom locations and procedures for student safety. Discussion followed and it was emphasized that safety of the students is the most important consideration.
Superintendent Dr. Hunter thanked the parents for the work they put into providing a safe and entertaining night for the students at project prom. Board President Jim Hopke stated that the information would be taken into consideration.
Superintendent’s Reports
Superintendent Dr. Hunter reported current total enrollment of 580; 274 in the Jr./Sr. High School and 306 in the Elementary School.
In regards to a facility update, the superintendent reported on the remainder of the construction project.
It was reported that Ryan Morris and Tony Lower have been working hard to catch up the remaining items in their areas.
Jon Berendzen, Architect, is slated to come for a walk-thru and the punch list is mainly small items.  Superintendent Dr. Hunter suggested thinking about a date for the Open House. Late October was suggested, so he will look at possible dates.
The district’s phone service was also discussed after a recent incident as the district experienced an extended outage at both buildings and although numerous requests were made, he felt the district received inexcusable service and support from the current vendor. He suggested the district look into other options for better service and cost savings. Lower added that newer technology provides opportunities to move forward with alternative services.
Principals’ Reports
Van-Far Elementary Principal Brian Hummel reported that 221 students took part in dental screenings provided by Dr. Papa and staff from Gentle Healthy Smiles.
Principal Pafford noted that Homecoming was the next week.
VFTA’s Shelly Buie told the board the group has met and committees have been formed to start planning for the new year. Principal Hummel presented new elementary teachers Christine Clark, Penny Jennings-Copelin, Alisse McCoy, Dawn Niemeyer, and Jessica Sterne. Principal Pafford presented new Jr./Sr. High School teachers Kris Cross, Kelsy Fowler, Becky McCurdy, Tyler Oesch, and Brenda Weiss.
In Executive Session, the board hired Kendra Williams as a part-time nurse’s aide.
The MSBA Annual Conference is set for September 30-October 2 at Tan-Tar-A. Board member reservations have been made. The MSBA Fall Conference meeting date has yet to be announced.
A second reading of MSBA 2016B Policy was given and the reading and approval was set to take place at the October meeting.
Bus routes were approved as presented for 2016-17.
The tuition rate was set at $9,300 for 2016-17.
The PDC Plan and Budget of $19,434.45 was approved as presented for 2016-17. In reports of members, Kimber Nation said she enjoyed seeing the 3rd and 4th grade football players and cheerleaders.
Micah Hodde addressed the board on behalf of the Van-Far Booster Club and said she had missed the public input session due to working in the concession stand.
She had questions regarding the concessions area and storage. Superintendent Dr. Hunter said the Booster Club could direct questions to Principal Pafford and Athletic Director Kevin Baldwin.
He also commended the group for their work and support.