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Van-Far School Board votes to start school year on August 19

Posted on Wednesday, March 26, 2014 at 1:17 pm

Van-Far Elementary students honored at school board meeting.

Van-Far Elementary students honored at school board meeting.

The Van-Far R-I School Board approved a measure to begin the 2014-2015 school year on
August 19 during its March 20 meeting.
They approved the version 1.2 of the calendar instead of the version 3.2 with a possible start date of August 13.
The decision came after input was received from the community through an online survey.
Survey results showed 122 parents wanting school to start before August 16-17 and 109 after that weekend.
It was also noted by a major majority of pollsters that patrons didn’t want school to be in session on November 26, December 22, and December 23.
Before the board voted, Van-Far head football coach Blake Logan noted how MSHSAA is starting Fall sports on August 4.
He said an August 19 start date is the same night as the Jamboree.
He noted that if a student doesn’t go out for football until the first day of school, they will not be eligible to play until Week 3.
Board member Pete Nasir asked to review a mandate on any calendar vote. It shows a public meeting needing to be held if the date approved is 10 days or earlier than the first Monday in September.
Nasir cast the lone “no” vote.
Staff Contracts
Board members discussed a possible change in a dollar amount for fees assessed for teachers who resign after June 1.
The current policy shows a $300 fee for teachers resigning between June 1-30, $400 for July 1-July 31, and $500 for after August 1.
Board member Dr. Greg Frost noted the challenge of getting quality teachers to come late in the summer to a small district.
Board member Larry Wheeler said if someone wants to go, let them go.
There was talk to pos-sibly waive the fees.
Board member Pete Nasir suggested a percentage of base pay be used for the fee instead of a flat dollar amount. In the past, the district assessed fees but that assessment was omitted from the new contracts last year. With one “no” vote from Wheeler, the board passed a measure for 2%, 3%, and 5% of a teacher’s salary schedule being used for the fee.
Administrative Reports
Dr. Hunter said the board will be presented a finalized memorandum in April for the possible hiring of a shared school resource officer with Community R-VI.
The officer’s salary would be split with R-VI at a cost of $15,000-$20,000 per district.
The Audrain County Sheriff’s Department would take care of the officer’s benefits, if approved, by all parties involved.
Dr. Hunter reported an enrollment of 372 in the elementary and 240 in the Jr./Sr. High School for a total of 612 students. The total is up six from this time last year.
Dr. Hunter also provided board members with new health insurance rate information, showing premium rates increasing 6.5%. The plan is for Dr. Hunter to take more time to look over the plans and rates before bringing a recommendation for a vote in the April board meeting. The health plan group consists of 112 schools, with three new ones added this year.

Read the rest of this story in the March 26 issue or purchase an electronic edition at