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Principals Report Smooth Start To New School Year; Summer School Enrollment and Profit Down

Ava R-1 is now in full operation for the 2012-13 school year, and according to building ad­ministrators, the new term sailed into action with a well-organized start –– it was a smooth beginning for everyone.

During the August board meeting held last Thursday, each principal reported a successful beginning to the year. Administrators noted the new term got underway without any snafus or problems in the first two days.

School board members convened earlier than usual last week as the group assembled at 6 p.m. to establish the tax rate for the ensuing year.  With motions from Pat Henry and Regina Porter, the Board of Education voted to maintain the 2.75 property tax millage rate for the fiscal year.  The vote was 7-0.

According to Dr. Brian Wilson, assessment revenues for 2011-12 reflect an increase of approximately 1.677 percent or $41,000.

During July’s meeting, the board reviewed the school’s sick leave and personal days policy and agreed to modify the program from a set rule of ten sick days and two personal days, to an open pool of ten days that may be used as needed.  The board had also reviewed sick leave pay and agreed to increase the payback option by 25 percent. Both policies were formally adopted last Thursday evening.  Board members also gave employees the opportunity to re-evaluate, and select a plan that best serves their per­sonal needs.

Motions to accept were given by Johnny Burkdoll and Larry Silvey.  The vote was 7-0.

The board voted to adopt the conflict of interest and financial dis­closure law for 2012-13.  They also approved the annual Secretary of the Board Report (ASBR), which is the Ava R-1 financial report for the year 2011-12.   Both votes were 7-0.

Transportation charges totaling $855.83 per student were approved for 2012-13. Previous transportation fees were $813 per student in 2011-12, and $795 per student in 2010-11. Wilson attributed the rise in costs to the ever-changing fuel prices.

Marsha Aborn and Ron Wallace tendered the motions to accept the charges; the vote was 7-0.

Tuition for 2012-13 was set slightly lower than the $7,090.15 cost factor established last year.  A rate of $6,874.66 per student was adopted for the year. Motions were made by Pat Henry and Johnny Burkdoll; the vote was 7-0.

In the community spotlight, the Board recognized Douglas County Livestock for the use of their auction facilities earlier this year for a Future Farmers of America (FFA) fundraiser.  The labor auction was held in April, and ac­cording to FFA sponsor and teacher Tiffany Kaufmann, the owners of Douglas County Livestock played an integral part in the success of the fundraiser by allowing FFA to use the facilities, and an auctioneer.

In the district spotlight, the board recognized maintenance supervisor Monty Valentine and staff members for outstanding job performance on projects completed during summer months.  Supt. Brian Wilson com­plimented Valentine and crew for an exceptional work ethic in upgrading and re­furbishing campus buildings and grounds.

Both groups received a special certificate of appreciation.

The number of students enrolled in summer school classes this year decreased, said Dr. Brian Wilson. Wilson noted profit margins associated with summer school continue to diminish, and if the trend persists downward, the board will need to review the program.

By comparison, in 2011, Wilson said summer school profits were $27,784; whereas, this past summer session, revenues decreased by more than $5,000.

Overall, summer school revenue was $127,538; and costs, which include educators, food services, bus drivers, fuel, supplies, etc., totaled $104,959.  Wilson acknowledged summer school numbers were down throughout the state this year.

Carla Aborn, cafeteria food ser­vice manager for Ava, and Karen Wracker, Opaa! regional director, provided board members with an overview of dietary requirements now in place in the school cafeteria, and how the new guidelines will impact students.

Starting this year, the new dietary standards for students stress the importance of fruits and vegetables, and the significance of protein and whole grain offerings.

Five items are offered in the new dietary plan, they are: 1) meat or meat alternative;  2) grain; 3) fruit;  4) vegetable; 5) milk.  Students must take a minimum of three of the five meal components, and one of the choices must be a fruit or vegetable.

The guidelines also place a limit on the amount of ketchup and salad dressing a student can take, as con­diments are included in the total calorie count of each student meal.

The allotted menu portions are set according to age groups, and break down as:

Meat, daily: K-8th – 1 oz. meat; and grades 9–12,  2 oz.

Grains, daily: K-8th – 1 oz.; and grades 9-12, 2 oz.

Fruit, daily:  K-8th – ½ cup;  grades 9-12 – 1 cup;

Vegetable, daily: K-8th – ¾ cup; grades 9-12, 1 cup;

These dietary components are a part of the Federal program entitled Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act (HHFKA) of 2010, and if the meal re­quirements are met, the school will receive an additional six-cents reimbursement for every lunch served.  Schools begin qualify­ing for the reim­bursement Oct. 1, 2012.

According to the plan, guidelines focus on grains, calories and fat content, consequently cakes, cookies and desserts have been eliminated from the menu.  Sweets will no longer be served through the lunch program.  However, Supt. Wilson noted the school might offer a special treat or dessert from time to time, outside of the cafeteria meal time.

Under HHFKA, diet restrictions on cafeteria offerings will continue in years ahead.  In 2014, guidelines on breakfast will be implemented, sodium levels will be targeted, and grains must be whole grain.

The Missouri Public Education Vision Project, a joint effort of the Missouri School Boards’ Associa­tion and the Missouri Association of School Administrators, was adopted Thursday evening.  According to Wilson, school board members and superintendents throughout the state have spent the past year working to design this well-accepted plan.  The project provides a format of what school officials believe are the components that will provide a rigorous, world-class educa­tion to students, and ensure that Missouri youths are prepared for college and/ or a career.  Legislators are slated to receive the plan in January 2013.

The vote in favor was 7-0.

In elementary, Principal Diane Premer reports student numbers remain consistent with the student count from last August.  Elementary enrollment is 492 students.

Premer said the elementary has a new look this year –– the building has 22 new bulletin boards, and a different bear motif within each grade level.  Each hallway design is unique, and serves as a welcome sign.

Principal Mike Henry recognized the cafeteria staff and maintenance department for improvements and upgrades in the middle school.  Henry noted the first middle school football game is slated for Friday, Aug. 24, and the first volleyball game will be played on Thursday, Sept. 6.

Henry noted a total of 377 middle school students are enrolled for the 2012-13 school year.

Principal Teresa Nash reported 14 students transferred out of the district, and 31 transferred in.  High school enrollment was 464 students.

Nash said school athletes started practices Monday, Aug. 6, and the number of students participating in fall sports was given as follows:  football, 47 students;  softball, 17;  volleyball, 23;  cross country, 13.

David Williams, director of the Bears Den, 21st Century Community Learning Center, reports the Bears Den program started on the first day of school, and fees for after-school program continue to be the same as last year:  $1 per night per student, with a $10 per week family cap;  $ .75 per night per student, reduced lunch;  and $ .50 per night per student, free lunch.

Wilson noted the Bears Den schedule is presently offering the following activities: kindergarten, Fabulous Fall Fun;  1st grade, back to school, fall fun, Sonoran Desert;  2nd grade, skill building fun;  3rd grade, munchy math;  4th grade, Bears Den book club and amazing math race.

Middle school:  Archery, Mon.;  digital music mixing–Wed.; caring kids, Tues. and Thurs.; and  Freaky Fridays.

High school:  Aviation – Tues.;  ACT prep, times TBA;  driver’s ed: Tues. Wed., Thurs.

Dr. Nancy Lawler, assistant superintendent, said Ava received a preliminary Annual Performance Report (APR), noting that Ava R-1 had met standard performance requirements by attaining 14 points on the scale.

Lawler also commented that Missouri has received a waiver from the No Child Left Behind program, and accountability measures will change. In the future, the Missouri School Improvement Program (MSIP 5) will provide a measuring tool for Missouri public schools.

New employees of the district were introduced to the board, as follows:

Elementary –– Brooke Henry, speech implementer;

Middle school –– Mike Henry, principal; LeAnna Elliott, special education;

High school – Kristian Doucette, English; Joe Shantz, science; Amber Gieber, science.

Board members voted to pay the monthly bills totaling $108,013.62. Wallace and Burkdoll gave motions, and the vote was 7-0.

Board members present for the meeting were Johnny Burkdoll, Ron Wallace, Regina Porter, Randy Spurlock, Pat Henry, Marsha Aborn and Larry Silvey.