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Van-Far says no to Amendment 3

Posted on Wednesday, October 22, 2014 at 1:43 pm

MSBA Associate Executive Director Kelli Hopkins visited Van-Far’s Board meeting last week and discussed the Sunshine Law, among other topics.

MSBA Associate Executive Director Kelli Hopkins visited Van-Far’s Board meeting last week and discussed the Sunshine Law, among other topics.

The Van-Far R-I School Board voted unanimously to approve a resolution on Amendment 3 during last week’s monthly meeting to state that the local board of education opposes the amendment set to appear on the November ballot.
According to the resolution, the board notes that the state mandate shifts local control for education decisions away from parents, teachers, administrators, and school boards.
The board feels the amendment is poorly drafted and deeply flawed with unintended consequences.
It would, according to the board in the resolution, prevent school boards from hiring, promoting, compensating or dismissing teachers in accordance with board policy.
The board believes Amendment 3 would force taxpayers to pay for additional standardized tests at a time when public schools remain significantly underfunded by the state.
It reportedly will also significantly change teacher evaluations away from a tool to improve teacher performance.
Superintendent Dr. Stephen Hunter reported that total enrollment is 610 students, with 243 in the Jr./Sr. High School and 367 in the elementary.
He also provided updates on the gym floor, elementary computer lab, facilities improvement survey, and the Early Childhood trailer.
Discussion took place regarding the damaged trailer and the need to dispose of it following the completion of the insurance claim. The board voted to allow the superintendent to proceed with the disposal of the damaged trailer. Superintendent Dr. Hunter also discussed the MSBA and Board Policy KP that insurance coverage is required for outside groups using the building. The Van-Far Booster Club will secure coverage for a group of sport-teams.
Van-Far Elementary School Principal Brian Hummel reported the following:
• 95% contact rate at parent-teacher conferences held October 2
• Precision Eye Care conducted eye exams on October 8
• PTO is holding a food drive October 13-24
• October 17 – The elementary will hold an end of first quarter celebration and begin the St. Louis Cardinal Calendar fundraiser.
Van-Far Jr./Sr. High School Principal Cindy Pirch reported on upcoming events. Those include:
• October 20 – Marching Band Concert
• October 21  – rescheduled date for the Hannibal Band Day
• November 13-22 – Book Fair
This year’s Career Fair will be held on Friday, November 14. Character+ is hosting the Holiday Craft Fest on Saturday, November 22.
School Bus Safety
School Bus Safety Week begins October 20. The transportation department has coordinated with the local fire department for safety drills and accident response procedures. Fire evacuation drills have been completed and tornado drills will be conducted in the spring.
Kelli Hopkins, Associate Executive Director of the Missouri School Board Association, presented information on School Board Operations.
She specifically discussed the Sunshine Law with the board and  noted the importance of 24-hour notices for meetings.
The annual MSBA Fall Regional Region 17 meeting will be October 23, in Warrenton at 6 p.m., with registration at 5:45 p.m.
The District Assessment Plan was approved for 2014-2015. It was presented by Virgena Gibson.
The Surplus Property list was approved. Items include an old scoreboard, computers, one piece of weight equipment, and an old piano.
The board gave approval for the seeking of bids for architects for potential future projects.
Authorization was given to seek bids for food service operation. This is done every five years.
In reports of members, Board Secretary Kimber Nation read thank you notes from Forrest Bollow and Holly Jungers.
Board President Christy Nelson encouraged board members to contribute toward a basket for the Project Prom Basket Bingo.
Nation thanked Mr. Hummel and Mrs. Pirch for their volunteer work toward the YMCA/Library project.