By Sue Curry Jones
Executive session of the Ava R-1 school board meeting last Thursday encompassed hiring six teachers for the 2012-13 year. The board also acknowledged three letters of resignation, including one from elementary kitchen manager, Karan Vinson, who retired this year. Resignations were also received from Jacqueline Carl, high school science teacher who plans to teach in Springfield next year; and middle school principal Cody Hirschi who has accepted a job with the Fort Osage School district, near Kansas City, Mo.
New administrators and teachers hired for the upcoming year were as follows:
Mike Henry was chosen to fill the middle school principal slot vacated by Hirschi. According to Superintendent Brian Wilson, Henry has been elementary principal in Gainesville for four years, and in 2002 he taught in the Seymour school district.
Mike is joining Ava R-1 for the 2012-13 school year along with his wife Brooke who will be helping with speech in the younger grade levels. Brooke previously worked in the Seymour R-II School district.
Jessie Sawyer, who will be student teaching at Strafford in the fall, was hired as middle school assistant coach for the girls’ basketball team.
Kristian Burke, of Springfield, was hired as high school English teacher. Burke, a graduate of Drury University, will receive certification in June 2012. She has a bachelor of arts in English and education.
Amber Gieber, a graduate of Missouri State University who has taught at Norwood and Sparta, will teach high school science, and also serve as assistant high school volleyball coach. Gieber has a Bachelor of Science and five years teaching experience.
Sue Berger was also employed as part-time speech implementer.
In the vote on Mike Henry, board member Pat Henry abstained from the process, and the vote was 5-0.
The Ava Board Spotlight focused on the art teachers in each building, highlighting the accomplishments of Tracy Griffith, elementary art; Sara Lemons, high school; and William Schoelles, middle school. The teachers were recognized for their curriculum activities and creativity.
Regina Robertson, retired art teacher from Ava, was also recognized and commended for her volunteer efforts at the school. Robertson has painted several rooms with characters and murals, and established themes for student activity rooms. Randy Spurlock, board president, presented Robertson with a certificate of appreciation.
The school board voted to accept a bid from Daktronics and replace the scoreboards in the middle and high school gymnasiums. The cost of the new boards will be covered by local businesses that have agreed to sponsor the project and advertise underneath the structure on each side. McDonalds and Jim’s Body Shop purchased sponsorships in the middle school gym and high school gym; KFC and Taco Bell, middle school; State Farm and American Family Insurance in high school.
Supt. Wilson said a sponsorship position is still available in the middle school for $2500.
The scoreboards are Tuff Sport, with Panaview digits, 200 maximum watts display, and two sizes will be installed in each gym. The main board is 6’ high x 8’ wide x 6” deep, and the smaller board is 4’ high x 8’ wide x 6” deep.
The new scoreboard equipment totals $16,669 in costs, and will be installed by the school maintenance department. Wilson said the present scoreboard equipment in use in the gyms is being phased out; consequently, the company is no longer providing maintenance, parts and service on the structures.
A bid on the scoreboard project was also received from Nevco for a cost of $17,043.28.
Motions to accept the Daktronic bid were made by Ron Wallace and Regina Porter. The vote was 6-0.
Larry Lindeman, outdoor skills specialist with Missouri Department of Conservation, gave a brief presentation on the National Archery in the Schools Program, a curriculum and after-school activity that helps instill confidence in students. The Program endorses international-style target archery in 4th-12th-grade physical education classes during the school day.
Lindeman noted statistics show school archery programs improve student attendance, increase self-esteem and physical activity, interact with school lessons, appeal to all students, inspire kids to be outdoors, and most generally, encourage after-school activities.
Costs associated with the program range from $2600 – $2900 per school, and as an incentive, several corresponding agencies, such as the Department of Conservation, offer a $500 grant towards purchasing the necessary equipment. To receive a grant, basic instructor training must first be completed by the Missouri Dept. of Conservation in a one-day training session for school staff.
Lindeman explained there are three levels of competition, which are set by age groups of elementary, middle school and high school students. The format also offers individual or team play as students compete at distances of 10 and 15 meters with 30 arrows for a possible perfect score of 300 points.
Schools presently participating in the archery program are Mtn. Grove, Dora, Gainesville, Norwood, St. James, Waynesville, and several others.
Lindeman said the program is a way of providing an extra curricular activity for students who may not be athletically inclined. The program also provides an excellent venue for handicapped students. He noted archery is deemed a life-long sport and hobby.
According to school administrators, the archery program has garnered a high level of interest from students and parents. Administrators are strongly considering the program as an added-option to the athletic program. An after-school archery club may be implemented as well.
With school budget numbers still uncertain, Supt. Wilson updated the board on proposed state and federal funding changes and projections. In summary, Wilson noted funding responsibilities have shifted to the school for programs like Parents as Teachers, with an additional cost of $10,000; and the Missouri Preschool Project, an additional $13,000; and also in the mix is the fact funds from gaming have decreased by $80,000.
According to Wilson, the funding breakdown of Ava R-1 schools is budgeted as follows: 34.4 percent of funding comes from the local tax base, 43.9 percent from state funds, and 21.7 percent federal. Seventy-three percent of Ava’s expenditures are paid to personnel, with 45.87 percent to certified staff, 12.08 percent non-certified, 14.63 percent employee benefits; purchases, 11.18 percent; and capital expense, 3.89 percent. Tuition costs are $8,329 per student.
Wilson said a few budget items continue to be unknown entries as final costs have yet to be finalized. Outstanding uncertainties were cited as: insurance increases which are projected to be $76,195; certified steps, $93,762; classified increase, $37,1885; career ladder, $163,500; and transportation, $16,700 (fuel not included). Until items are complete or legislators act, Wilson said these projections and budget uncertainties only serve to provide insight into upcoming issues and possible board decisions.
Overall, Wilson foresees the loss of state funds totaling $125,000, and federal deficiencies nearing $65,000.
Due to new federal guidelines for meal programs, Ava R-1 lunch fees are expected to increase 4.18 – 5% for the ensuing term. This federal mandate is in conjunction with the “National School Lunch Program: School Food Service Account Revenue Amendments Related to the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010” or “paid lunch equity rule” which requires school authorities to ensure sufficient funds are provided to the food service account for lunches served to students who are not eligible for free or reduced price meals.
According to the guidelines, the requirement may be met in two ways –– through prices charged for ‘paid’ lunches or through other non-Federal sources provided to the food service account.
Schools participating in the National School Lunch Program must comply for the 2012-13 school year.
The new food regulations will also change the dietary structure of meals offered at the school. Under the program, menus are to align with HealthierUS School Challenge, a mandate to incorporate more fruit, dark green and orange vegetables, beans, peas, whole grains and low-fat and fat-free milk. These revised standards are based on calories, fat, trans fat and sodium.
The board voted to reinstate all Ava R-1 bus drivers and routes for next fall in 2012-13.
In a 6-0 vote, the board opted to re-new the contract agreement with the natural gas consortium, a membership maintained since 2007. The motions to accept were made by Regina Porter and Larry Silvey. The Special Education Compliance Plan was also accepted in a 6-0 vote, with motions from Pat Henry and Regina Porter.
The board adopted several policy changes last Thursday; many of the changes were the result of recent legislation. Revised subject matter addressed the following issues:
• references – every school district must adopt a written policy on information the district provides about former employees to other public schools by July 1, 2012. The policy must address liability issues and how the district will handle allegations that have not been substantiated;
• resignation of professional staff members and assessment amounts to cover time and expenses incurred for finding suitable replacements;
• termination of professional staff members;
• nonrenewal of professional staff members;
• resignation of support staff members, not under contract;
• new authorization form to release employment information;
• a new form to be presented to any employee who resigns or contract not renewed or terminated due to allegations of sexual misconduct with a student.
Motions to accept the changes were by Pat Henry and Marsha Aborn. The vote was 6-0.
Board members present for the session were Ron Wallace, Regina Porter, Randy Spurlock, Pat Henry, Marsha Aborn, and Larry Silvey. Johnny Burkdoll was absent.
The next board meeting is Thursday, June 21, in the boardroom located near Decker Library. The meeting will start at 6:30 p.m.