The Van-Far R-I School District filled several positions during its Executive Session held on Thursdsay, June 19 at the high school. Just four board members were present with three absent.
With the retirement of bookkeeper Crystal Sparks, the district approved the hire of Lisa Newland as the new bookkeeper and AEL bookkeeper effective September 1, 2014. The bookkeeper’s salary was set at $39,500 when board members reconvened into open session.
Forrest Bollow was hired as the new golf coach, replacing Joe Basinger after his one year at the top of the program.
Donald Aulbert was hired as a high school football assistant coach while Roger Bachtold was hired as a Junior High football coach.
Superintendent Dr. Stephen Hunter reported there being 4.5 days left in Summer School at the time of the meeting with 197 in the elementary school and eight in the high school. High school students are doing credit recovery.
He also noted that several summer maintenance projects were underway or scheduled for the summer months.
The projects include installing a sound system and projector in the elementary cafeteria; sump pumps have been installed in the high school boiler room; paint several areas in both buildings; develop a 40-maching, computer lab in the elementary basement; install flashers on Highway 54; install a new water heater at the elementary; clean out drains in the custodial closets at the high school; paint awnings at the elementary bus loop; paint ceilings in the high school building; and install new telephone system pending e-rate approval.
Van-Far Elementary Principal Amber Crane reported that five elementary faculty members attended a PBS Conference, where the school received a silver award. The district received a plaque and banner to note its accomplishment.
Gold awards are given to districts with a home based program. Principal Crane said the district would need to hire a full-time person to oversee a home/school connection.
Principal Crane also gave a brief summary of summer school activities such as a Popcorn City program that raised $400. Half of the proceeds were donated to “Blessings in a Bag” and the other half was donated to the food pantry in Vandalia.
Van-Far Jr./Sr. High School Principal Cindy Pirch, in her written report, said Homecoming is scheduled for Friday, August 29. She said there are four home football games this year.
Principal Pirch said the gym will be closed for the dead period for athletics from June 28-July 6. The gym will be closed for waxing and drying starting on July 16-August 1.
The schedule for volunteers working on the football tower project is the first and third Saturdays of the month starting at 8 .m.
Principal Pirch also explained the possibility of a band trip to Orlando, Fla., sponsored by the Band Parents Organization, to be held in December 2015.
Plans have approximately 51 students and adults attending.
The band would be performing during halftime of the Russell Bowl and hosted by the tour company WorldStrides Heritage Performance Programs. The group makes arrangements for four nights of rooms, game tickets, and a dinner dance. The group would then attend Universal Studios.
The cost for the project is $28,700, which doesn’t include the cost of the charter bus or food.
Principal Pirch also noted that the district will use remaining Ed French funds to construct a decorative entrance to the softball field.
She also noted that the school was named a “Bronze School” in the U.S. News and World Report magazine.
Drug testing for the next school year will be held from 9 a.m.-2 pm. on July 24 for band, choir, and student organizations. Testing will be held from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on August 1 for sports and others missing the first date.
Students with last names starting A-M will be held from 9 a.m.-11 a.m. and N-Z are held 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. on both dates.
Two other dates are August 11 and August 18 from 9 a.m.-noon.
Students failing to attend cannot participate or attend activities until the next random drug test and they must pay $15.
In reports of members, board president Christy Nelson reported on a Leadership Summit she attended last week at the lake. She said the sessions were good and she plans to give a more extensive report to the board in the July meeting.
A first forecast of the 2014-2015 budget was approved as well as the FY15 AEL Budget.
Library evaluation reports were submitted by Lisa Johnson and Harold Stein.
There was a first reading of procedure KG-AP, the facilities usage procedure. The board recently updated the policy so this procedure is being updated to reflect the changes.
Dr. Hunter asked board members to review the MSBA 2014B policy updates as there was a second reading. They will be approved at the third reading in July.
A Pool Party for the Elementary and Junior High schools will be held on Tuesday, August 12.
Board member Kimber Nation asked if about consideration being made in repairing the parking lots. Superintendent Dr. Hunter said Ryan Morris recently visited with two asphalt companies and both agreed that the high school lot is in good enough shape to do some work. They also noted that the elementary lot is in pretty bad shape.
Board member Jim Hopke asked about the condition of the mower. Superintendent Dr. Hunter noted that the maintenance crew oversees the mower. Morris added that the mower is two years old and it will be soon time to replace it.
Several board members commented on how nice the lawns look and added that they have received compliments on it from community members as well.