Van-Far Jr./Sr. High School Principal Cindy Pirch officially announced her plans to retire at the end of the 2015-2016 school year as she turned in a letter of resignation effective June 30, 2016 to the school board who met last Thursday for their monthly meeting.
Principal Pirch will be retiring after eight years with the district, 18 years in an administrative role, and 23 total years in education.
Pirch and her husband Garry have plans to retire to their farm.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank you for the privilege of serving the Van-Far R-I School District throughout these eight years,” she said in her resignation letter. “This district has provided me with a great group of students to work with and a wonderful staff who care deeply for student learning.”
Pirch said her early resignation will help the district pursue the application and hiring process.
“For myself and Garry, the community is a great place to live,” Pirch added.
“The many civic organizations and events have provided us with many opportunities to meet some people who care greatly for this area.”
Superintendent Dr. Stephen Hunter reported an enrollment of 619, with 258 in the high school and 361 in the elementary school.
He also provided the board with a facility update. According to the meeting minutes, he reported that the windows and doors at the elementary building have been adjusted and finished. The card and buzzer systems are in place.
The tile floor has been reinstalled, stripped and waxed. A moving company will assist in putting things back into the library last Friday. The floor, electric and plumbing, is in place on the new addition and the contractor plans to start on the walls next week.
Ryan Morris and Dr. Hunter reported the cores for the high school doors have been ordered, are being manufactured and will be installed soon. Dr. Hunter reported on the advertisement for bids on surplus items. The options and procedures for bids and disposal of surplus property were discussed.
He also discussed ACT, MAP, and EOC scores.
Dr. Hunter said a good comparison is to the state average.
(More information on the scores will be included in a story to appear in the September 30 issue of The Vandalia Leader).
Van-Far Elementary Principal Brian Hummel reported the following:
• 9/11 – an assembly was held to celebrate Star Spangled Banner Day, 9/11 Remembrance Day and Constitution Day.
• 9/18 – PD Day for the teachers with ARC Align training and focus on writing Units of Instruction.
• 9/19 and 9/26 – home games for youth football, grades 3-6.
• 9/24 – The SFA coach will be at the elementary observing classrooms.
• 10/1 – Parent/Teacher Conferences
Principal Pirch reported the following:
• She noted the many activities scheduled for Homecoming Week September 21-25.
• 9/27 – Van-Far Alumni luncheon at 12:30 p.m.
• Information was provided on the recent changes to dual credit math classes.
• A Craft Fest is scheduled for November 14 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
Learning Center Agreement
An amendment to The Learning Center Agreement for 2015-16 was passed by a 4-2 vote, with board members Kevin Motley and Jim Hopke casting the two “No” votes.
The amendment was a result of additional costs in services based on vendor pricing.
Motley asked for it to be noted that he is not opposed to the services, but is opposed to the amendment for increase in costs.
Concern was expressed about there being a contract yet costs were being increased and could be increased again two months down the road.
Van-Far A+ Coordinator Joy Davis noted 101 A+ students with a contract for the program, which is more than 60% of the students at Van-Far High School.
The district set the tuition rate at $9,033.58 for 2015-16 based on the per pupil expenditures.
The PDC Plan and Budget of $17,934.45 was approved as presented.
The Bus Routes for 2015-16 were approved. There was also some discussion regarding the shortage of full-time and substitute bus drivers. This is a problem for many districts and both positions have been advertised.
In reports of members, Board President Christy Nelson said a patron had expressed concern about the end time of football practice.
Board member Kimber Nation said there were a number of fundraisers taking place at the same time.
The MSBA Annual Conference will be held October 1-4 at Tan-Tar-A while the MSBA Fall Conference will be held October 21 in Montgomery City.
Teacher Joe Basinger passed out a list of the VFTA Committees. He reported that the Welfare Committee will meet with the administration next month.
Principal Hummel introduced Brian Cashman as the new 5th grade teacher.
A second reading was held for MSBA policies CBG, CFB, GBBDA, and GCN.