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By Sue Curry Jones
Continuing to keep school board members updated on proposed funding for fiscal year 2013, Superintendent Brian Wilson reported no decisions have been forthcoming on the issue and even though two bills have been filed for legislative consideration, the process still remains in limbo.
Wilson explained two different formulas have been proposed, and both options depend on a pro-ration of the formula. However, each option offers an extremely different end result, for example:
Scenario 1 reflects funding with the newly calculated State Adequacy Target (SAT), and full pro-ration at the end of the calculation. This option would lower Ava’s projected funding by $ 8,000.
Scenario 2 reflects full pro-ration at the beginning of the calculation. This method will decrease funds by nearly $100,000.
There is no way to predict which formula option will pass. There has also been little speculation what will happen if an agreement cannot be reached. Nonetheless, Wilson noted Ava Schools will be better served with Scenario #1.
Decision-makers are also looking at leaving funding flat for the year, he said.
In a review of Federal programs, and the annual progress report, Dr. Nancy Lawler reported Ava R-1 did not meet adequate yearly progress (AYP) as set forth in the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) initiative.
According to the report, three items were noted as follows:
• students in communication arts did not meet any of the goal standards;
• in math, four out of four met the AYP designations;
• Ava Middle School is Level 3, corrective action school improvement.
For the middle school, the plan for corrective action may include implementing a new curriculum, working with outside experts or consultants, extending instructional time or making staff changes. However, if a school does not make AYP after one year in corrective action, the school may be required to restructure.
The Title I Federal Program review was approved in a 7-0 vote, with Ron Wallace and Johnny Burkdoll making the motions.
The audit report for Ava R-I School District for year ending June 30, 2011, was approved as presented by Dr. Wilson. The motion to accept the audit was offered by Marsha Aborn and supported by Johnny Burkdoll. The vote was 7-0.
In the audit, accountants cited the school’s declining fund balances, and recommended district spending correspond directly to the operating cash flow. The audit made note of the fact school expenditures have consistently exceeded receipts in the operating, teachers and capital projects funds, and this spending format has been the board standard and includes FY12.
The audit identified certain deficiencies in the school’s internal control system, and advised the District to put into practice a better system of checks and balances.
The audit report recommended the board also review provisions of GASB 54, and consider taking advantage of the opportunity to commit a fund to a specific purpose. GASB 54 allows a fund balance to be earmarked for a future project by board resolution.
The Ava R-1 audit which was conducted by Davis, Lynn & Moots, Certified Public Accountants, of Springfield, Mo., was deemed clear.
The capital project list for 2011-12 was briefly revisited, along with suggested needs for 2012-13.
The top ten projects implemented this year were cited as: new lights at the football field; elementary intercom system; district-wide thermostat access; security cameras in elementary (in progress); repainting middle school gym floor; installing T-5 lighting in gym; new paint in hallways and trim (in progress); replacement of stage stairs; replace the plastic pipe at playground (in progress); and upgrade landscaping (in progress).
In considering capital projects for 2012-13, the board was advised to select items of need or necessity, as school revenues remain uncertain, it is important proposed upgrades are deemed essential or needed.
Ava Middle School Principal Cody Hirschi noted 6th-hour Bear Time appears to be progressing well with students who need extra support in a classroom.
Hirschi also acknowledged Jon Doane and Jeremy Myers for the installation of new security cameras in the middle school building.
Principal Teresa Nash recognized Hannah Johnson for winning the Miss Merry Christmas competition. She also acknowledged Jessica Eggleston who spent nearly four hours over Thanksgiving raking and disposing of leaves for an elderly member of the community. Nash said the woman had contacted the school and Jessica volunteered to help.
Nash also reported Brecken Lewis won the local Voice of Democracy essay contest.
In the elementary, Principal Diana Premer reported two classes tied for perfect attendance during the month of November. Students in Erin Lansdown’s second-grade room and Lisa Johnson’s third-grade class had perfect attendance for 10 of 19 days during the month. Both groups were rewarded with popcorn, drinks and extra-play time.
Elementary students recognized for displaying the character trait of sportsmanship for the month were: kindergarten – Allanna Dutton, Aidan Williams; 1st grade – Kaelyn Stillings, Wyatt Johnson; 2nd grade – Macee Cutbirth, Logan Stout; 3rd grade – Layla Giorgianni, Trapper Harris; 4th grade – Tiffany Jackson, Owen Herrell.
Assistant high school Principal David Williams said overall the Bears Den program is receiving good feedback from parents. Parents have commented that students are excited about the program, and what they are learning.
Williams said students from 1st – 4th-grades are getting help with their studies and focused tutoring. In middle school, students rotate between homework tutoring and archery sessions at the Moose Allen Archery facility. Williams noted the community partnership is working well for students.
In high school, the Bears Den program has focused on preparing ten students for ACT testing.
Assistant Superintendent Nancy Lawler recently attended a meeting in Columbia, entitled “Leadership and the Common Core”. The seminar discussed the new common core standards and how to design an action plan for 2014.
Dr. Lawler has also been working with middle school Principal Cody Hirschi to implement a corrective action school improvement plan.
The First Book Organization, Dr. Lawler said, had recently provided over 300 boxes of books for families in the district. The books were given to Ava R-1 through a grant.
Principal Cody Hirschi presented an overview of the gifted program for board approval. Hirschi stated the gifted classroom allows students to interact with academic peers without being isolated from other school programs. The program provides an academic challenge, as well as accelerated learning and fortifications essential to exceptional students. In the report, Hirschi noted the Ava R-1 gifted program does not replace or duplicate classroom instruction already in place, but instead it supplements and enhances the needs, abilities and interests of talented students.
The motion to accept the program report was given by board member Pat Henry, and seconded by Ron Wallace. The vote of approval was 7-0.
According to Senate Bill 54 and Senate Bill 1, every school district must have a staff–student relations policy in place by March 1, 2012.
During last Thursday’s meeting, board members adopted a staff-student policy as defined and written by the Missouri School Board Association (MSBA). The policy sets rules and boundaries for proper staff-student contact, along with guidelines for the appropriate use of social mediums. The document comprises eight pages, and contains information on reporting procedures, staff training, and the consequences of inappropriate behavior.
The recommendation to accept the MSBA’s policy was made by the policy committee, and it’s members: Randy Spurlock, Brian Wilson, Jon Doane, Nancy Lawler, Teresa Nash, Larry Silvey, and David Williams. The vote in favor was 7-0.
A synopsis of the school’s athletic program was presented by Athletic Director Rex Sawyer. In the report, Sawyer provided a breakdown of each sport, the coaching staff, and the win-loss record as of Dec. 12. The program review was approved with a 7-0 vote, and Ron Wallace and Johnny Burkdoll made the motions.
Sawyer also mentioned plans to order new football uniforms, as the present jerseys and pants have served team members for six years. Coach Sawyer said the school would save money on the uniforms if they were ordered before the new year, and the school would also receive a credit of $500 to spend at a later date. The proposed purchase consists of two jerseys – one for away games, one for home games – and a stock pant in royal blue, a total cost of $8,450.
In other business matters, the A+ program was approved as presented, and the board also listened to an update on peanut allergies. In the update, the health advisory committee cited education as key to managing student reactions and sensitivities. The committee also stressed the importance of parents, teachers and staff working together as a team, and communicating well. It was acknowledged that claiming the school’s policy to be “nut free” gives a false reassurance.
The Bears Den Director David Williams, along with several staff and teachers, were recognized in the board spotlight for their continued hard work and making the program a success. Board members also recognized Douglas County Deputy Sheriff Brad Loveless, and drug dog Caesar, for their periodic visits to the school, and helping the staff maintain a drug free campus.
Board members in attendance for the session were: Johnny Burkdoll, Ron Wallace, Regina Porter, Randy Spurlock, Pat Henry, Marsha Aborn, and Larry Silvey.
The next monthly meeting of the board is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 19, 6:30 p.m. in the Board of Education meeting room.
Also, in a 7-0 vote, the board set the date of April 10, 2012, for the re-organizational meeting following the election. The session will begin at 6:30 p.m. Motions were made by Ron Wallace and Regina Porter.