Van-Far Superintendent Dr. Stephen Hunter officially recommended the district take a public survey on a four-day week during the school board’s monthly meeting last Thursday.
During his report, Superintendent Dr. Hunter noted the district’s revenues from DESE have went down from $3.5 million in 2011/2012 to just $3 million last year.
Federal dollars also declined about $100,000.
As enrollment has also decreased, the district is losing some dollars.
The discussion involved how one less day might affect the food service revenues and expenses, savings due to health insurance re-calculations with one less day, staffing, etc.
“There’s tenuous times with education,” he said. “The world changed a little bit with election, it just did, let’s be honest. We need to see how education is going to be supported. That’s a key factor.”
Board member Dana Keller said it’s important that the district know how those taking the community survey are affected, especially in regards to what building their kids are attending.
“Okay then go to the public and see what they want,” said board member Larry Wheeler. “And when we go and listen to the public, then the board can make a decision.”
“We want to make sure that our school’s here for the long run and that’s why sometimes drastic measures have to be taken,” said board member Kimber Nation.
Superintendent Dr. Hunter will provide more information at the next board meeting.
Also during his re-port, Superintendent Dr. Hunter reported a total enrollment for K-12 of 576 students. This total features 277 in the Jr./Sr. High School and 299 in the Elementary School. It was noted that at the same time last year, the enrollment was 602, a difference of 26 students.
More specifically the elementary school is down 46 students while the older school is up 20 students.
As for the facilities update, Superintendent Dr. Hunter said a few final items are being taken care of for the completion of the elementary project.
He also noted an air quality test report will be completed soon in the high school but no remediation is necessary.
The MSIP 5 Annual Performance Report (APR) was also discussed.
The five scoring areas are Academic Achievement, Subgroup Achievement, College and Career Readiness, Attendance Rate, and Graduation Rate. The 2016 APR was 89.6. The district score was 90.7 in 2015 and 81.7 in 2014. The scoring mechanism may be changed in 2017.
The Adult Education Program received a one-time monetary bonus of $12,500.
Adding Cross Country as a sport?
Superintendent Dr. Hunter noted that Van-Far is the only school district in the EMO Conference that does not offer cross country and there is a renewed interest in a program.
Teacher Kris Cross is on staff and has a background in the sport.
It was noted that there is enough interest to field a team. Track uniforms can be used for the runners so no new uniforms are needed.
There is some discussion also with Community R-VI for a possible co-op program in a couple of years.
Superintendent Dr. Hunter noted there was an interest of about 20 students. More discussion will be held on the issue in the December meeting.
One reason for a possible co-op is for future sustainability.
Van-Far Elementary Principal Brian Hummel said about 65 people showed up for the Bright Futures Program breakfast.
He also thanked those who attended the Open House at the school on November 9.
He also talked about several other upcoming events. It was noted that there will not be a Christmas Concert for K-2nd grade students as they will have their concert in the Spring. There will be two concerts this Christmas split among the four other grades. This will possibly start a rotation of concerts that leads into next year with a different age group not having a Christmas concert due to the large amount of work going in to put on three concerts before Christmas every year.
Van-Far Jr./Sr. High School Principal Kim Pafford talked about Jayda Borgmeyer being the Wendy’s High School Hesiman winner.
She also noted the several softball and football players receiving postseason recognition.
Students Kiera Hyden, Dayton Sanders, Colin Wilburn, Vanessa Martinez, Katelyn Hunn, and Jenna Willis were Students of the Quarter winners.
Winter Formal is December 10 from 8-11 p.m. at the Catholic Hall.
The Van-Far R-I School District received a clean 2016 Audit, this according to Jeff Chitwood, a partner at Gerding, Korte and Chitwood.
He made an Audit presentation to the board and noted that all aspects of it proved materially correct and noted that district reserves remain in a “healthy range.”
Chitwood thanked Superintendent Dr. Hunter and the office staff for their efforts in providing requested information.
He thanked the board to the opportunity to perform the district’s audit.
At the beginning of the board meeting, several FFA members introduced themselves and presented a slide show. They spoke about recent FFA events and activities they had attended.
The FFA members present were FFA members Jayda Borgmeyer, Caden Wilburn, Alec Adam, Claire Motley, Will Hopke, Paige Dameron, Logan Wilson, Taryn Adam, and Lauren Shaw.
The minutes from the October 20 meeting were approved in Executive Session. The Executive Session meeting lasted about 16 minutes with no other business decided.
Candidate filing dates were set for the board of education. They are 8 a.m. December 13, 2016-5 p.m. January 17, 2017 during regular business hours but excluding days the business office is closed.
A thank you note was read from the Hoyt family.
Board member Kimber Nation expressed her appreciation to “The Vandalia Leader” for their coverage of the school and to Superintendent Dr. Hunter for the information he presented. The 2016C bullying and hazing updates for policies JFCF, JFCG, and JG-R1 were approved.
The Full-Maintenance Service Agreement with MSBA was approved.
There were five board members present for the meeting as Pete Nasir and Dr. Greg Frost were unable to attend.