October 2, 2003

School Board Approves Sale Of Buses At September Meeting

The Scotland County R-I School Board handled a limited agenda at the September 25 meeting with yet another update of the declining financial picture involving state funding of education. The bulk of the meeting involved procedural matters.

The board voted 7-0 to approve policy and procedure updates to the district’s policy as recommended by the Missouri School Board Association. Overall the board approved 15 updates to local policy, six updates for MSBA forms and three for MSBA procedures.

“One of the most important services provided by the state school board association to our district is the policy, procedures and forms manual reviews developed by the MSBA legal team,” said SCR-I Superintendent LeRoy Huff.

Huff stated the current school manual contains in excess of 500 policies that MSBA reviews semi-annually before making recommendations to the local board for consideration. The reviews generally are held in September and March.

The board also discussed the upcoming MSBA conference to be held October 24-26 at the Lake of the Ozarks.

Bus Bids

The district agreed to sell a pair of surplus buses from the school’s fleet. SCR-I originally had advertised three units for sale but received only two bids.

Putnam County R-I School purchased one bus for $1,425 with the second unit being sold to Shirley Green for a submitted bid of $625.

Overnight Trips

A number of requests for overnight trips were presented to the SCR-I board for consideration. Sponsor Ken Cross submitted a request to allow the DECA team to stay overnight in Lake Ozark on October 12 for a state event. FFA advisor Bill Cottrell asked for approval for chapter members to stay overnight October 29 through November 1 in Louisville, KY, the site of the National FFA Convention. Cottrell also made a request for an overnight trip on October 9 for the FFA Grasslands team to compete in the state event in Columbia.

All three trips were unanimously approved by the board.

Meeting Changes

Due to holiday schedule conflicts the board voted to change the meeting dates for both November and December.

The November meeting, originally scheduled for Thanksgiving Day, November 27th, was changed to the 25th at 6:30 p.m. The December meeting date fell on Christmas so the board agreed to reschedule for December 16 at 6:30 p.m.

Funding Update

Huff presented new information to the board regarding the declining financial picture for state education funding.

The superintendent shared foundation formula and categorical funding comparisons for 2003 and 2004 as prepared by the Missouri Senate Research Staff.

The bottom line of the report indicated a more than $360 million shortfall from the fiscal year 2003 state funding appropriations compared to what school districts are expected to actually receive in 2004.

The report showed a decline of more than $100 million in the overall appropriations and also anticipated nearly $200 million more in withholdings in 2004.

Following the discussion the board reviewed a position paper adopted by the State Board of Education on September 4 entitled “Concepts for Developing Any Foundation Formula.” The MSBA paper offered suggestions for how MSBA and its members felt a new state foundation formula should look.

The MSBA letter called for an “equitable and adequate” formula that will provide state revenue sources to combine with local school levies to insure each and every child’s basic education.

The equity issue revolves around the huge discrepancies in assessed valuations of the various school districts. The letter proposed the state cosider a way of capturing a portion of increased local revenues to redistribute to all districts to insure fair and equal funding for all students.

The proposal also stressed that district size should be addressed in the accreditation process and not by state funding. The letter noted that some additional funding may be necessary for smaller districts that fall below the optimal size range out of necessity to serve under populated areas.

Facilities funding also was highlighted in the letter. The MSBA suggestion noted that instructional facilities are key to successful education. The letter proposed a dedicated revenue source to help districts provide adequate facilities.

Finally the state board’s position indicates a need for additional taxes for education funding. MSBA noted that educational opportunities need added funding to simply keep up with inflation let alone provide improved opportunities for the students of the 21st Century.

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