Ava R-I School Board: New Elementary School Principal Hired, Teacher Pay Package Modified

5/10 Meeting

The Ava R-I School Board held a special meeting on May 10th.

During that meeting the board voted:

  • 3-4 to hire James Lafferty as the Ava Elementary School Principal. Voting in favor were Lowell Strong, Troy Tredway, and Dan Johnson. Voting against were Mark Henry, Chance Dry, Brandi Stanifer, and Seth Thompson.
  • 4-3 to hire Katy Chapman as the Ava Elementary School Principal. Voting in favor were  Mark Henry, Chance Dry, Brandi Stanifer, and Seth Thompson. Voting against were Lowell Strong, Troy Tredway, and Dan Johnson.
  • 7-0 to hire James Lafferty as the Elementary/Middle School Assistant Principal.

5/18 Meeting

The Ava R-I School Board held its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, May 18th at 6:30 p.m.

Principal/Director Reports

Middle School Principal Patty Nelson reported favorable on the school MAP testing with teachers working to create a “camp” atmosphere for students. She also mentioned having approximately 100 students signed up for summer school.

Ava High School Principal Dr. Teresa Nash reported that the High School had 150 students enrolled in summer school.

Mrs. Yvonne Honerkamp reported helping out year-end school efforts with lots of sack lunches. She said their overall number of meals served was up, and she was prepping a menu for summer school.

Administrators Reports

Superintendent Dr. Jason Dial reported that the elementary school building would not be used for summer school as it was getting asbestos removed.

Dial also reported that a recent lightning strike had damaged seven network switches. The school was able to replace them and bring the network back up. The cost of the damage was $37,000, but Dial expected insurance to cover $35,000 of that.

He reviewed the year from a COVID perspective saying the school had “done really well” with 474 total quarantines, 68 positive cases, and only the 5th grade class having been sent home for a week. Dial credited the teachers, custodial staff, kitchen staff, and other staff for working to keep the COVID impact low.

Assistant Superintendent Aaron Dalton reported that 51 (or around 60%) of the graduating seniors had qualified for the A+ program. Dalton reported a school-wide total of around 500 kids registered for summer school. He also reported working with teachers to develop a “wish list” of items that incoming ESSER II and ESSER III (emergency relief funds) would cover.

Discussion/Action Items

21st Century Guided Reflection Program

The board voted 7-0 to accept a review of the 21st Century Guided Reflection Program delivered by Superintendent Jason Dial. During the report Dial mentioned the school’s Bears Den program as increasing attendance, lowering discipline issues, and raising grades among the students who participated in it.

Capital Projects

Dial said he would send board members a list of capital projects for them to review and prioritize. Board members will vote on projects at a future meeting.

Salary Committee Presentation

Ava Teacher Missy Tate presented on behalf of the school’s salary committee. Tate recommended the board rescind its earlier decision to grant certified teachers a $3,000 stipend and non-certified staff a $1,000 stipend.

Instead, Tate suggested:

  • Summer School Pay will increase to $180 per day, which is up from $125, which has been the daily rate for the past several years.
  • Currently employees have sick leave and personal leave.  Both leaves will be combined to PTO (Paid time off).  Limits of leave granted and accumulation amounts will remain the same.
  • Tutoring pay will increase to $25 per hour up from $22.50
  • The early resignation incentive for Dec 1st resignations of certified staff will increase from $400 to $1000 for the 21-22 school year only.
  • Defined contribution from the district for employees qualifying for Health Insurance will increase from $470 per month to $500 per month.
  • The base teacher salary will move from $31,575 to $33,075 ($1500 increase).  Each teacher will also receive a step for experience.  Non-certified and Admin will receive a 3.51% increase as well.  Total cost of this increase is $387,367.88
  • Each certified employee will have the opportunity to receive a $1,000 PD stipend this summer which will be identified by Mr. Dalton and Mrs. Payne
  • Each non-certified employee will have the opportunity to receive an additional $333 for additional training as outlined by Mr. Dalton and Mrs. Payne.
  • Tate cited concerns about the long-term financial impact to the schools along with extra data logging required by teachers to qualify for the stipend.

After lengthy discussion the board voted 4-3 to rescind the April 1st decision to grant certified teachers a $3,000 stipend and non-certified staff a $1,000 stipend. Voting in favor were Seth Thompson, Chance Dry, Brandi Stanifer, and Mark Henry. Voting against were Lowell Strong, Troy Tredway, and Dan Johnson.

The board then voted 4-3 to approve the recommendations from the teacher salary committee. Voting against were Lowell Strong, Troy Tredway, and Dan Johnson. Voting in favor were Seth Thompson, Chance Dry, Brandi Stanifer, and Mark Henry.

The board also voted 7-0 to approve a $330 payment for contracted bus drivers for training that was previously unpaid.

MSBA Policy Update

Board members were presented with policy updates to review, no vote was yet required. Troy Tredway said he had asked the MSBA questions about some of the policies but had not gotten any answers.

Committee Assignments

Dr. Dial passed out a list of current committees and board member assignments. If board members wanted to change assignments they needed to let the school know.

Closed Session

In the closed portion of the meeting, the board accepted the resignations pf Ciara Bray, Ginessa McFarlin, Clint Hall, Jessie Lehmann, and Airin Bassett. The board also accepted the retirement resignations of Katrina Matney and Marian Scrivner.

The board approved the hiring of Kati Burkdoll, Compass; Crystal Miller, HS Student Council; Laura Walker, HS Yearbook; Matthew Rogers, TREND; Kevin Armstrong, I.S.S.: and Robyn Curtis, Middle School Secretary.

Video

View the video footage of the meeting on the Douglas County Herald’s Website

Next Meeting

The next regular board meeting will be held on Thursday, June 17th at 6:30 in the board of education room.

Meetings are open to the public.