Ava School Board Discusses COVID-19 Effects, Sets Elementary Summer School Schedule

by Michael Boyink / [email protected]

The Ava R-1 School board met on April 14th. The meeting was broadcast online for attendance by the public.

Consent Agenda

In a 7-0 vote, the board approved:

Regular meeting minutes from April 16th, 2020.

Financial summary fund balances

Authorization for payment of bills

The proposed agenda

Administration Reports

Superintendent Dr. Jason Dial updated the board on several issues, including:

Meal Delivery

Dial noted that the schools had delivered 20,000 meals in one month to students sheltering at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prom/Graduation

Dr. Dial said the school has postponed prom, but is currently planning on a May 15th graduation. The schedule for both events are dependent on any updates to the shelter at home orders from Governor Parson.

Summer School

Dial said the school plans a summer school, but is uncertain if all or parts of it will be online.

Budget

Dial reported on several aspects of the budget affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and cancellation of the school year. Dial said he was not real concerned about this year’s revenue, and that there would be some cost savings this spring. Further out the numbers are less clear. 

Dial plans to budget for a 15% budget drop in the revenues brought in by Proposition C, which is funded by sales tax dollars. He mentioned that Missouri’s casinos are closed, which does cut off another funding source. However, the CARES act would contribute approximately $480,000 to the schools funds.

Ava Assistant Superintendent Aaron Dalton updated the board on several issues.

Instructional Interactions

Dalton reported that roughly 65% of students have some sort of internet access, but it’s not currently reliable enough for school to depend on. Dalton said as a result, the school still needs to do paper-based learning.

Dalton stressed that students aren’t getting a consistent learning experience right now – there are just too many variables and constraints. 

State Level

Dalton reported that the state has worked with the school to relax requirements in different areas like the A+ program and pre-graduation assessments. 

Dalton also said the school would be putting more focus on beginning of year assessments in the fall to help determine the best starting points for returning students.

The board then worked through some action items.

Statement of Federal Assurances

In a 7-0 vote, the board approved a Statement of Federal Assurances. According to Dr. Dial, this is just a statement that affirms the school follows “very specific” published guidelines for paying bills and spending money.

Guidance Counseling Program Review

In a 7-0 vote, the board approved a review of the current guidance counseling program provided by Aaron Dalton on behalf of the school counselors.  

Dalton said the responsibilities for guidance counselors has grown over the years to include dealing with mental health issues, coping skills, and conflict resolution. 

He said the counselors interact with students beginning in late elementary years all the way though high school. 

Summer Capital Project List

Dr. Dial informed the board that he will be sending a list of 13 proposed projects to the board members for ranking. The board will vote on the ranked list at a future meeting. No immediate vote was required or taken.

Summer School Dates

Dr. Dial requested that the board approve summer school dates of May 18th – July 31st to match with previously-approved High School dates. The board approved his request 7-0.

Closed Session:

During closed session, the board handled a number of HR related issues.

Resignations/Retirements: 

Deanna Gunter – Elementary Cafeteria

Casey Merrifield – MS Boys Basketball

Recommendations:

Bailey Loge – 6th Grade Communication Arts and Head Volleyball Coach

Mende Thorn – H.S. Social Studies

Jamie Loge – MS Boys Basketball

Transfer

Charlie McDonald-Moving from HS Math to Industrial Technology

Next Meeting

The next regularly scheduled board meeting will be on May 21st. Whether the meeting is online or in-person will be announced at a later date.

Attendance

All board members were present for this meeting (if not actually visible in the video.)

Video

The school provided a video of the online meeting to the Herald. It’s posted to our YouTube channel at youtube.com/watch?v=VS4YIlFUMNk