School Board: Staffing Changes, Year-End Reports, Bus Camera Discussion

by Michael Boyink / mike@douglascountyherald.com

The Ava R-1 School Board convened for their regular monthly meeting last Thursday, May 16. 

In a closed session, the board  made a number of staffing decisions:

Resignations/Retirements:

Charlie McDonald (Rodeo Club) 

David Dooms (Maintenance)

Recommendations (new hires into existing positions):

Chelsea Maggard – Family and Consumer Science 

Jessica Fleetwood – Para-educator

Amy McDowell – Para-educator

Chris Polson – 5-8 PE & Health, Head Coach for middle school football, basketball, and track

Kylie Loftin – 2nd grade

Jennifer Pitts, who previously announced as the 2nd grade replacement for retiree Penny Loftin, accepted a 1st grade position instead.

Extra Duty (new responsibilities for existing staff):

Ann Leonard – Missouri Foundation for Health Grant Administration

Wes Davis – 3 extra days for Industrial Teach and Skills USA sponsorship

Cynthia Carnall – H.S. Pep Club co-sponsor

Sarah Sacco – H.S. Pep Club co-sponsor

Tristan Haltom – H.S. Assistant Football and Head Golf Coach

At 6:30 p.m. the board began the open session. 

Community Spotlight

The board recognized Sonic Drive-In, of Ava, for supporting various school events. The local Sonic is owned by Ava graduates, employs a number of students annually, and awards a scholarship to a graduate each year.

School Reports

Elementary School

Dr. Clint Hall submitted a year-end report summarizing the year-end activities for Ava Elementary School including:

3rd and 4th grade MAP testing

Reading celebration trips 

Year-end celebrations 

197 students enrolled in the upcoming after-school program

Middle School

Mrs. Marcella Swatosh’s year-end report mentioned:

A total attendance rate for the 2018/2019 school year of 94.78%

A MAP extravaganza for student effort, good behavior, and attendance

120 students enrolled in the upcoming after-school program

High School

Dr. Theresa Nash’s year end report included:

The overall attendance rate improved by .8% over the previous school year

The school awarded over $400K in scholarships to graduating seniors

Summer-school offerings will include traditional classes, dual credit courses, alternative school, and on-line classes

115 students enrolled in the upcoming summer school which begins Monday, May 20th

Special Services

Mrs. Erin Swofford said that Special services logged 150 students served, up 18 from last year.

Maintenance

Mr. Monty Valentine noted that summer maintenance projects were already underway.

Superintendent Dial’s Report

Baseball Team

Dr. Dial commended the Ava Bears Baseball team on their recent district championship after a 5-3 win over state-ranked Strafford.

Current Legislature

Dial said the state legislature session was about over and they were hoping for nothing new to pass as being this close to the end of session, it’s probably not well thought-out. Dial mentioned in-process bills that could generate up to $100K more revenue for the school, and he would provide more information in upcoming budgeting sessions.

Counseling Offices

Dial said the school had made space on campus for counseling offices. Counseling has been offered in the past, but students had to take an excused absence to attend the off-site sessions. Medicaid laws have also changed to cover the costs of on-campus counseling. The 3rd-party counselors will work out the old superintendents office.

Summer School Bus Routes

Dial said the school would run four bus routes for summer school: South on Highway 5, West on Highway 14, East on Highway 14 and 76 southwest to Goodhope.

Assistant Superintendent Dalton’s Report

Testing Status

Mr. Dalton said that EOC and MAP testing are complete. The school was able to shorten the time required to administer the tests due to the number of Chromebooks in use.

Professional Development

Mr. Dalton reported that the professional development committee has selected new members and set priorities for next year. They are planning to split up the personal development days so that different teams will take them at different times, rather than all teachers doing it on one day.

A+ Program

Dalton said that the school has 55 students qualified for the A+ program.

Budgeting

Dalton said that in upcoming budgeting work the school plans to focus on supplemental instructional resources for the elementary school, and additional tutoring at the middle school.

Discussion/Action Items

During the meeting the board handled a list of five action items:

1. Capital Project List

Dr. Dial reported that a list of capital projects had been sent to the board members for prioritization last month. He compiled the prioritized list and re-sent them back to the board members (a list of those projects was included in the Herald’s coverage of April’s school board meeting).

 Board member Deana Parsick asked “Which of these need to be complete before school starts?”  

“It depends on where we end this year budget-wise,” Dr. Dial responded. “And what we can fit into next year’s budget.”

Parsick then asked about the prioritized order with regard to student-safety related projects.

“I’m curious why the bus cameras are so far down on the list,” she said. “It seems like that should be a  priority over projects like the maintenance shed.”

“We approved bids in November for the maintenance shed,” explained Dial. “We had some ongoing work there yet.”

Newly-elected board member Dan Johnson agreed with Parsick. 

“I’m concerned about the cameras also,” he said. “The cameras protect the bus drivers and the students.” 

Johnson went on to describe a recent incident of a car driving past a stopped bus with open arm and kids waiting to cross. “The bus driver didn’t have time to get pictures of the car or anything else to speak of,” he said. “So my concern is to put safety first.”

“I can’t give you an answer today,” Dr. Dial said. “We have to finalize budgets yet and I’m still waiting on two months of payments from May and June. My plan is to get all of these projects done over the next 14 months, but I don’t know where they fall yet.”

“It seems like cameras would be best done before the school year starts,” reiterated Parsick.

“I understand that,” said Dial. “You guys prioritized the list and I work for you all. It may happen that soon, I just don’t know yet. I’d still need to meet with contractors. I do have four camera bids ready to go.”

2. Elementary & Middle School Roofing Bid

The board voted 6-0 to award this project valued at $162,688 to Stiles Roofing of Springfield.

3. Asbestos Removal in Elementary School

The board voted 6-0 to award this project valued at $26,134 to Security Storage Service, Inc. of Nixa.

4. VCT/Flooring Removal in Elementary School

The board voted 6-0 to award this project valued at $12,011 to Stoneridge Flooring in Nixa.

5. Handbook Changes

The board voted 6-0 to approve handbook changes submitted by each building’s Principal.

Attendance

Board members present for this meeting were Deana Parsick, Brandi Stanifer, Michael Stewart, Bart Ellison, Mark Henry, and Dan Johnson. Kenny Fleetwood was absent.

Video

The video from this meeting is available on douglascountyherald.com.

Next Meeting

The next regular board meeting is Thursday, June 20th at 6:30 p.m. in the board of education room on the school campus. Meetings are open to the public.