Ava R-I Holds January Session

By Sue Curry Jones

In spite of weather, the Ava R-I School Board convened on Tuesday, Jan. 19, at 6:30 p.m. for the regular monthly session, with agenda items focusing mainly on annual reports and updates.

However, in open session, board members did vote to approve or accept the following:

  • the annual formality wherein the board accepts a roster of contacts for each department or program;
  • the board accepted Opaa! Food Management, Inc. as the overseer of cafeteria services for the upcoming school year.

According to Dr. Nancy Lawler, Opaa! was the only vendor to respond to the bid request.

Lawler advised the Opaa! contract is a five-year commitment and it includes a three percent increase with each year of service.   Motions to accept were by Vernon Johnson and Dan Watson; the vote was 6-0, as board member Marsha Aborn abstained from the vote.

  • a brief review of the Community Involvement Program was presented by Assistant Superintendent Mike Henry. The program was accepted in a 7-0 vote, with motions by Ron Wallace and Dan Watson.
  • the Technology Program was accepted in a 7-0 vote, with motions by Vernon Johnson and Jeff Davis. In the report, Asst. Superintendent Mike Henry provided a short update on recent program initiatives, noting eMints grant money, and eRate federal funding. Henry advised the sustainability of electronic devices is an on-going concern.
  • January bills were approved for payment in a 7-0 vote. The monthly outlay totals $144,462.08

Superintendent Dr. Nancy Lawler reported the next phase of HVAC installations require board approval for a change order in the equipment.  Lawler said the revision entails buying 15 smaller units rather than the eleven large units noted in the original contract agreement.  The change increases costs by $600.  Motions to accept were by Dan Watson and Marsha Aborn, with a 7-0 vote.

Upon Lawler’s suggestion, board member recognition is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 22, during halftime of the Junior Varsity game.  She noted the local event is being implemented in conjunction with Missouri’s Board of Education Recognition Week January 25-31.

Updating on recent meetings and activities, Lawler said several school board members and administrators recently met with David Luther, a communications consultant from the Missouri Association of School Administrators. For the conference, Ava R-I was host to six other area schools, wherein Luther imparted advice and guidance on how boards should communicate to reach certain demographics and target different audiences.

Similarly, Lawler reported on a state board of education meeting in Jefferson City.  She cautioned the board to be aware of upcoming bills, and pending legislative issues.

Three busing plans, which have been presented several times, were briefly mentioned, along with an announcement a request for bids will be advertised in March or April.

Lawler said transportation items such as fuel costs, mileage numbers and route changes will continue to fluctuate and that poses a concern.  Therefore, bid submis­sions will be equally reviewed, and fluctuating items will be disregarded in all three plans.

During closed session, the board discussed and appraised personnel and staff members in a mid-year review.  The board also assessed the annual performance levels of the district superin­tendent and assistant superintendent, Dr. Nancy Lawler and Mike Henry, respectively.  The board voted to extend both contracts through school year 2018-19.

Joe Shantz, who last month cited his retirement at the end of this term, also resigned from extra curricular duties of football and track.

Board members agreed to meet on Tuesday, Feb. 9, at 4:00 p.m. to partake in a board learning session.  During the session, representatives from the Missouri School Board Association (MSBA) will instruct on standard board policies and rules.  The instruction session costs $350, plus all travel expenses.

During public comments, Douglas County resident Wayne Cipriano asked for details surrounding the boards’ recent settlement with route owners and drivers.  Cipriano said he had received word an agreement had been reached, and as a taxpayer, he was asking for an update.

Responding, Lawler said a verbal accord has been reached, however, until a formal agreement is officially finalized, no details are forthcoming. She assured as soon as an agreement is signed, voting records along with contractual facts, will be given.

The Board of Education spotlight recognized the Ava R-I Board of Education, and the district spotlight recognized Coach Rex Sawyer.  All received a certificate of appreciation from the board.

The school board will re-organize, and install two new board members in April, following the election.  The reorganizational meeting will take place on Tuesday, April 19, at 6:15 p.m., and once newly elected board members are sworn in, the monthly meeting will follow at 6:30 p.m.

Board members present were Bart Ellison, Vernon Johnson, Jeff Davis, Ron Wallace, Dan Watson, Marsha Aborn, and Randy Spurlock.