By Sue Curry Jones
The Ava R-1 School Board met Thursday evening December 19 for their regular session of business. During open session, the board approved five program updates and reviews.
During closed session, the board accepted two resignations, which are effective at the end of this school year: Larry Bradshaw, middle school science teacher, and Jerry Maggard, Jr., custodian.
Board members hired Roger Evans to fill a custodial position, and Katie Eslinger, to assist in elementary special education until the end of this school term.
Agenda items approved in open session were the following:
• The annual Section 125 Plan, which allows school employees the opportunity to select certain medical benefits on a pretax basis. According to Superintendent Brian Wilson, the plan had not changed from last year.
Motions to accept were given by Pat Henry and Marsha Aborn, with a 6-0 vote.
• Athletic Program review was approved with a 6-0 vote, with motions from Ron Wallace and Dan Watson.
In the review Athletic Director Rex Sawyer noted Mountain Grove and Cabool are moving softball to spring, which leaves five conference teams for fall play, Ava included. Sawyer noted there is a possibility the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) may change Ava’s classification to a AA school in mid-January.
Sawyer said prospects for adding a middle school softball program are being reviewed. If consensus occurs, the program will be implemented in Spring 2015.
• The Federal Program review was presented by Dr. Nancy Lawler, and approved in a 6-0 vote, with motions from Ron Wallace and Dan Watson.
The A+ Program, also presented by Lawler, was passed unanimously with motions from Jeff Davis and Ron Wallace.
• The School Wide Positive Behavior Program overview was presented by Assistant High School Principal Aaron Dalton. Dalton noted the benefits of the program are evident in the high school statistics – as recorded discipline referrals have declined. In the report, Dalton cited 380 discipline referrals in 2011; 288 in 2012; and 237 in 2013. He said tardiness and truancy are presently the top two disciplinary problems.
Pat Henry and Dan Watson made motions to approve the program review, and the board voted 6-0.
For the Board Spotlight, under district recognition, Principal Clint Hall recognized the Ministerial Alliance, with two members from the group, Oren Alcorn and Marty Blakey, in attendance. Hall noted the ministerial organization fulfills a host of needs and frequently assists various organizations at Ava R-1. Hall said the organization is always eager to help students and families-in-need.
In the local spotlight, Principal Hall recognized Sarah Key as instrumental in acquiring recent grant monies for expanding Ava’s preschool program. The grant, a five-year award, provides $60,000 annually. The additional program is slated to start on Jan. 20, 2014.
Dr. Brian Wilson brought school safety issues before the board and provided an update on recent survey information garnered from members of the community and school staff.
Wilson said responses from the two groups overlapped with the same theme, with the top three projects cited as: exterior fencing around campus perimeters, magnetic locks on entry doors, and protective film on glass entry facades.
Wilson asked the board to review the survey information, as they will likely discuss safety issues during the January 2014 meeting. At that time, the board may opt to vote on the issue, and whether or not to increase the tax base from a millage rate of $2.75 to $2.95. The increase would be implemented to help allay project expenses associated with making the campus safer and more secure for students and staff.
Concluding open session, board members voted to accept the 2012-13 audit report as presented. Prior to voting on the document, Wilson noted the school was in compliance with the Affordable Healthcare Act, and auditors had recommended that administrators complete a purchase order request before purchasing any items on the credit card.
Board members present were Jeff Davis, Pat Henry, Randy Spurlock, Ron Wallace, Marsha Aborn, and Dan Watson.
Board member Johnny Burkdoll was absent.
The next board meeting is slated for Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. in the boardroom located near the Decker Library.