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By Sue Curry Jones
Ava R-1 School Board members received a detailed follow-up report on lightning damage that occurred at the school campus during a recent storm. Repair and replacement costs cited at the meeting last Thursday evening were presented as $55,798; however, this amount was not a final figure as damages are still being assessed.
A few of the locations destroyed by lightning were cited as follows: MS/ HS fire alarm systems, HVAC controls, outside lights, 15 phones, cameras and camera controls, nine switches, data line surges, refrigeration, one latitude computer, and 8 monitors.
It was acknowledged that most of the repairs are being facilitated in-house by Jon Doane, technology director, and Monty Valentine, maintenance supervisor, and their intent is to get the equipment in order as quickly as possible. Insurance companies have been notified of the claims.
In a 7-0 vote, the school board approved the proposed purchase of new scoreboards for the two gyms on campus – two board faces for the middle school building and two for the high school. Purchase approval, however, remains contingent upon procurement of advertising sponsors to cover the cost of the new boards. The estimated quote or total cost for the upgrades was $21,456. The process for purchasing the boards will be akin to the recent purchase of the new football field scoreboard, the costs will be absorbed through sponsors that buy advertising space adjacent to or below the scoreboard.
Superintendent Brian Wilson noted the new scoreboard at the football field is installed and is up and running.
In closed meeting, the board accepted the resignation of Carla Aborn who worked in food services, and agreed to change the TREND sponsor from Chelsea Gilmore to Charity Bentley. Gilmore wanted to step down for personal reasons.
Dr. Brian Wilson, superintendent, updated board members on school financials and funding prospects for the years ahead. Wilson said in 2007 school funding revenues were at 7.7 billion, and from that point in time, funding has steadily decreased.
Wilson noted approximately $6,002,017 in funding has been withheld each year over the past few years. The cuts target all areas of schools programs, including student transportation costs for busing, an amount that has decreased by $180 million, and career ladder funding, which is down $36 million.
Wilson advised the board that a significant funding gap is projected for 2013, and at that time, it is projected other funding constraints or variables will be phased-in for the year. It is also possible the State will do away with the money modifier for rural school districts such as Douglas County, and if that should occur, the school will lose an additional $70,000 in funding.
Wilson acknowledged funding issues will be forthcoming in the years ahead and the board may be faced with difficult decisions.
The Board Spotlight recognized the four building secretaries for their many contributions to the staff and administrators. Those honored were: Barbara Strong, middle school secretary; Katrina Matney, high school counselor and attendance secretary; Sabrina Wright, high school secretary; and elementary secretary, Rita Swofford.
Upcoming events and tentative plans set for the 21st Century Grant initiative recently awarded to the district were given by high school assistant principal, David Williams. Events were noted as: Sept. 28 – district wide meeting to discuss the after-school program; Oct. 5-6, grant conference in Jefferson City; and Oct. 27, the school will host a chili supper in the middle school cafeteria to explain program details to the public. The chili supper coincides with parent-teacher conferences.
At the request of Max Murphy and Terinda Hampton, the board approved transferring the Tracy Murphy scholarship account and the Mandy Hampton account from the school to the Community Founda-tion of the Ozarks. Max Murphy, Terinda Hampton and Mabel Everett were present for the discussion.
According to Max Murphy, who briefly addressed the board, the transfer allows the funds to benefit from a matching donation program being offered by the foundation.
Murphy explained that for every contribution made up to $20,000, the amount will be matched value for value. He noted investing the funds in the Community Foundation program will expand opportunities for the scholarship monies. The vote on the issue was 7-0.
The board adopted the proposed assessment plan for the school year as explained by Nancy Lawler, assistant superintendent. The plan, which is a policy manual for testing and assessing student’s abilities, describes each measure, tool, and test implemented during the school year. The plan also includes the testing calendar for the year.
The 2011-12 Professional Devel-opment Plan was also adopted by the board in a 7-0 vote. The 12-page document lists the goals and expectations for staff and personnel, along with the structure of the pro-fessional development committee and their responsibilities. The plan delineates expectations for first and second year teachers, and provides steps for their mentors to follow. Overall, the outline is a guideline for continued staff development.
In a 7-0 vote, the board adopted a date change for the 2011-12 early incentive standards. The details were as follows: for early re¬lease from a contract, profes¬sional staff and building administra¬tors will be assessed ac¬cording to the following schedules: May 1–31 (non-tenured only), assessed $250; June 1–30, $500; July 1–31, $1,000; and Aug. 1 or later, $2,000.
Early resignation incentives are: resignation received by Dec. 1, the incentive amount is $400; by Jan. 1, $300; and by Feb. 1, $200.
Assistant Superintendent Nancy Lawler reported Ava Middle School teachers have started training for the Investing in Innovation (i3) grant, and the eMINTS Validation Project. The grant includes the use of Smart boards and laptops in the classroom, and to-date all of the equipment has been installed.
The school has also received several hundred books from First Books. The books are provided free if the school agrees to pay $ .35 for shipping each book. The program focuses on ways to provide books for all homes, therefore the books will be sent home with students during the school year.
In the high school, Principal Teresa Nash noted the fall drama “Into the Woods” will take place Nov. 3-6 under the direction of Mrs. Michelle Wolfskill. The musical presents several different plots from the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales. Nash also reminded the board that Friday, Sept. 23, is the homecoming rally and game.
Kindergarten, first and second grade teachers are in the process of administering the first benchmark test of the year, according to Diana Premer, elementary principal. The test is a short assessment that gives teachers a quick overview of each student and their skill levels.
The fourth-grade special choir has started practicing for the play “Clowns”, and their performance on Sept. 29, 7 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center.
Principal Cody Hirschi noted the middle school sports program was well underway, and seventh and eighth-grade football teams had a strong opening against Liberty. The team plays Cabool next week.
Middle school enrollment is 406 students.
The board approved payment of bills totaling $201,553.76.
Board members present for the session were: Pat Henry, Johnny Burkdoll, Marsha Aborn, Larry Silvey, Ron Wallace, Randy Spurlock, and Regina Porter.
The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 20, 6:30 p.m. in the Board of Education room on campus. Meetings are open to the public.