Dear Editor:

The purpose of this letter is first and foremost to encourage every Scotland County voter to exercise their right at the polls on April 5.  Secondly, my hope is that each voter gets the facts so they can be informed voters.

Proposition 2 would address a number of issues the Scotland County R-1 school district faces regarding upgrades in the face of aging facilities and student needs in this rapidly changing global era.  The Board of Directors has heard feedback regarding concerns from you, the constituents, and I encourage everyone to get answers to questions on the Proposition 2 Facebook page or www.scotland.k12.mo.us.  You are also welcome to contact any board member or Ryan Bergeson at 465-8531.

Some concerns I have heard are related to the Early Childhood program, and I hope to clarify some of those. First, all schools in Missouri are mandated to provide programs for students age 3-4 with needs defined in an Individualized Education Program (IEP).  It is well proven that early intervention gives students a step ahead on tools they need to succeed in school.

Three years ago, SCR-1 expanded the Early Childhood program to include not only students with IEP needs, but to more children.  The program has grown in those short years to include 54 children in four classrooms, with a waiting list of 30+.

A legitimate question is, “What is the Early Childhood program costing the district?”  Necessary expenses such as teacher, paraprofessional, therapist, and administrative salaries, building lease, transportation, and a small supply budget are fully reimbursed through Missouri’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Early Childhood Special Education integrated model.  A small monthly enrollment fee is assessed to families on a sliding scale to support snack and supply needs.

Three of the four classrooms are housed at the First Baptist Church.  While we are grateful to the church for temporarily sharing their facility, there are undeniable concerns about security, transport, access to school nurse, administration, and cohesiveness of the program to be considered.  These concerns would be addressed with the passage of Proposition 2.

Development of an Early Childhood program that served more children has been on the long-range goals of SCR-1 School Boards for many years, long before I was elected to serve 6 years ago.  Today, we feel we are finally doing justice to as many children as possible, as well as we are able with facility restrictions.  Without a doubt, our Early Childhood staff is second to none, and our students deserve the best we can offer.

Thank you for being an informed voter on April 5.

Sincerely,

Trinity Davis, Vice President, SCR-1 Board of Directors