August 7, 2003

Board Prepares For Start Of School At July Meeting

Scotland County R-I Board of Education met in regular session on July 31, with six members present. Board member Gary Miller was absent. The board considered one item under old business, and 10 items under new business.

OLD BUSINESS

School Funding Update Ė Superintendent LeRoy Huff informed the board that the news from Jefferson City continues to remain bleak for the current fiscal year and that the projected revenue for fiscal year 2004-2005 is even more disappointing than the year we have just started according to Linda Luebbering the state budget director for Governor Holden with whom he met on July 22nd to discuss state funding issues. The latest projected state deficit for next year shows a shortfall of over one billion dollars for fiscal year 2004-2005. That compares to a shortfall of $235 million dollars this year after the one time infusion of federal dollars is used to limit the deficit for the current fiscal year. This translates into a very very tight and conservative budget for public education for the foreseeable future. Since this was only an informational agenda item no action was required by the board.

NEW BUSINESS

Accept Letter of Resignation Ė On July 15th, Dawn Johnson turned in a letter of resignation for the upcoming school year. Dawn has been offered a position as the kindergarten teacher at Luray and since she resides in Kahoka the drive to work would be about half of what she currently drives. The board voted 6-0 to accept her resignation provided she pays the board policy penalty fee of 2%, which calculates to $561.80. It was also the consensus of the board, in light of the current and projected state fiscal shortfall for next year, to not fill the position being vacated at the present time. This will mean that all elementary grades will now have two sections and instructional aides where needed. It has been the position of the board in these desperate economic times for education to accept reductions when possible in order to maintain the quality of education that has been the hallmark of Scotland County R-I Schools for years and that position continues. When the board accepts current reductions where possible it means that future mandated reductions due to limited state funding will be less drastic because of the current saving being implemented.

Renew M.A.R.E. Member-ship Ė The Scotland County R-I Schools has belonged to Missouri Association of Rural Education, (M.A.R.E.) for the past seven years. This association was organized to be of assistance to rural schools and help with the problems faced by rural education. The association provides numerous services to its members. Included among these services are new board member training, workshops, and meetings to help improve rural schools. The board voted 6-0 to continue their association with the M.A.R.E. organization for fiscal year 2003-04.

Discuss Lunch Prices for 2003-04 School Year Ė Following a study of comparative lunch and breakfast prices among six schools conducted by Michella Hull, the Board voted unanimously to keep all school meal prices the same for fiscal year 2003-04 as they were this past year. This will be the second consecutive year in which no increase in food prices has occurred. The K-6 breakfast will cost .90 cents, 7-12 breakfast .90 cents and adult breakfast $1.10.The K-6 lunch will cost $1.25, 7-12 lunch $1.30 and adult lunch will be $1.60.

Set Tuition Rates for Fiscal Year 2003-04 Ė The board voted 6-0 to establish the tuition rates for fiscal year 2003-04. The rate for secondary tuition will be $6,203 and for elementary the tuition was set at $4,435.

Set Tax Rate Hearing Ė The board voted 6-0 to set the date for the annual tax rate hearing on August 28th at 6:15 p.m. prior to the regular meeting of the Board of Education. An annual hearing must be held before the tax rate for the new fiscal year can be established.

Accept Procedural Evalua-tions Ė Each year one of the procedural evaluation reports that is required is that of School Safety. Mr. Moore and Mr. Shalley, the schoolís safety coordinators updated the board on our current safety program and gave the board a series of recommendations to consider. The board also received the School Facilities and Grounds report prepared by Linda Gray, the districtís director of maintenance. She also had recommendations for the board to consider. Following receipt of these procedural evaluations the board voted 6-0 to take the recommendations under consid-eration and to accept the reports as presented.

Approve Annual Secretary of the Board Report Ė Annually, following the close of business for the fiscal year, the district must report to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education the status of the districtís finances and academic programs for the preceding year. This is called the Annual Secretary of the Board Report (ASBR). Before the document can be officially mailed to DESE the Board of Education must approve the report so it can be submitted by the August 15th deadline. The board reviewed the report for fiscal year 2002-03. Superintendent Huff explained to the board that it is significant to note that during these most difficult of economic times the district was still able to end the 2002-03 fiscal year with a balanced budget. Huff expressed his appreciation to the board for their patience in insuring that the district continues a policy of financial solvency. He also thanked the board for their support and told them that without the boardís cooperation this would not have been possible. The board voted 6-0 to accept the ASBR report following an appropriate period of discussion.

Approve Elementary and Secondary Handbooks Ė Annually the school principals prepare a school handbook for the new fiscal year. Mr. Shalley and Mr. Moore presented to the board their handbooks and changes for their consideration. The board voted 6-0 to accept the handbooks as presented.

Establish Date and Time for Staff Breakfast Ė For the past several years the board has hosted a staff breakfast welcoming the annual staff to the beginning of a new year. Last night the board voted 6-0 to host this annual breakfast at 7:30 a.m. on August 18th in the high school commons.

Assign At-Risk and Homeless Coordinator for Fiscal Year 2003-04 Ė Annually, DESE requires the district to appoint an At-Risk and a Homeless Coordinator to serve the needs of those students who are in need of the special services that these coordinators would provide. Ken Cross is the current Homeless and At-Risk Coordinator and he has agreed to continue as coordinator for these positions. The board voted 6-0 to offer both of these positions to Mr. Cross for fiscal year 2003-04.

EXECUTIVE SESSION

In executive session the board voted 6-0 approval for the principals and Federal Programs Director to offer employment on an as needed basis to the districtís instructional aides until the board can meet and consider the recommendations at their August meeting. In other board action by a vote of 5-0-1 offers of employment were extended to the districtís non-certified staff. Board member Scott Brassfield abstained from the vote because his mother-in-law, Terry Arnold, was being considered for re-employment. The board also voted 6-0 to offer employment to district certified contracted staff personnel. The final action taken by the board in executive session was to offer employment by a 6-0 vote to Chris Montgomery to be the junior varsity and varsity assistant football coach. Terry Slaughter was offered employment by a 6-0 vote to be the district head varsity softball coach.

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