By Crystal Howerton
The Knox County R-1 School Board met in regular session on Tuesday, March 18, 2008 with all members in attendance. All votes were unanimous unless otherwise noted.
Regular business of approving the agenda, minutes and authorization for payment of bills was accomplished. There was no Citizens Communications this month.
Administrators’ reports were heard. Federal Programs Director/Process Coordinator Nancy Goodwin announced that two Special Education Improvement Grants, total amount $20,000, were submitted on March 3. She said the District should hear results within the next two weeks, but had reason to believe the applications scored well. Principals reported on the Parent Teacher conferences and MAP Reward Trips.
Superintendent D.J. Leverton discussed the purchase of a web based rapid notification service with School Board members. The District is looking into the purchase of ALERTNOW, which allows your school to contact thousands of parents or guardians simultaneously in case of school closings or an emergency. According to Supt. Leverton, the service would cost the District $2.70 per student per year or approximately $700 per year. However, the cost is reflective of savings the service would replace in other segments or systems of communication. He believes that a system of rapid notification will be state mandated by the year 2010. His goal is to work on implementing the system during last quarter so it would be up and running for the 2008-09 school year. The District will continue to explore this product in the coming months.
In recent meetings, Supt. Leverton continues to hear about cyber-bullying and cell phones. He said the District would probably need to look at banning cell phones from school in the future.
Steve Ramer reported on the Varsity basketball season, stating the girls’ record of 11-14. Ramer said the girls’ team won more games this year than in the past two years combined and finished sixth in the Tri-Rivers Conference. The boys’ team, ranked third in the Tri-Rivers Conference finished an amazing season with nineteen wins and only ten losses. Varsity boys’ coach Jesse Crawford and his team were present for School Board recognition of the District Championship win and exciting game played against Harrisville in the Sectionals. Coach Crawford thanked the School Board and entire community for their support. He was highly impressed with the amount of fans offering support. “It really shows something when 25% of a small community shows up at a basketball game,” said Crawford.
CTA Representative Lisa Bowen announced that Kate Murphy had been recognized as the March Educator of the Month, however she was unable to attend the meeting.
Programs and Services Evaluation Reports were heard from the Ag and Business Departments. Ag Instructors Jessica Erwin and Ben Bradley and Business Instructor Judy Shultz discussed the strengths and weaknesses in their programs. Although both programs’ numbers are currently holding their own, the instructors said that their greatest fear was the state’s graduation requirements would continue making it difficult for students to benefit from their program electives.
School Board members approved a Distance Learning Agreement with Adair County R-II Schools (Brashear) presented by Marilyn Waite, which is identical to the current agreement. Waite informed them that the Brashear School Board members approved the agreement on the previous evening. She said the District is looking at offering over 50 Dual Credit hours next year.
High School/Middle School Principal Andy Turgeon presented the Career Pathways Guide for 2008-09, which received its yearly approval from the Board. He said the guide had experienced some alteration to make it more user-friendly and updated it to meet the state’s requirements.
Board members approved an adoption agreement for a 403(b) Plan through Forrest T. Jones and Company, Inc. presented by Supt. Leverton. According to Marilyn Waite, a 403(b) plan is a special tax-advantaged retirement plan designed exclusively for employees of public schools, colleges, universities, or charitable entities tax-exempt under 501(c) of the IRS code. Basically, 403(b) plans are similar to 4019K) plans. Just as with a 401(k) plan, a 403(b) pan lets employees defer income of their salary. In this case, their deferred money goes to a 403(b) plan sponsored by the employer. This deferred money generally does not get taxed by the federal government or by most state governments until distributed.
Supt. Leverton presented an Early Separation Incentive Plan for School Board members’ approval, which would provide a financial incentive for early retirement of two years’ insurance following retirement not to exceed a certain amount. Yea: Joe Delaney, Ruey Douglas, Shelly Bugh, Mark Greenley and Darrell Shultz. Nay: Billy Hunter and Chris Harrison.
Steve Ramer asked for the Board’s consideration of a Co-op for Middle School Softball with the Brashear School District. The proposal stated the following: 1) All away buses will depart from the Knox County School District. Brashear School District will be responsible for getting their students to Knox County School District by the bus departure time. 2) On trips where the bus travels through Brashear, Brashear students will be picked up and dropped off at the Brashear School District. 3) Brashear School District is responsible for getting their students to and from practice at Knox County School District. 4) First four student athletes from the Brashear School District will be at no cost for any of the programs expenditures. 5) The fifth player and any additional players will cost the Brashear School District $110.00 per player to help with program expenditures. The fee should be paid by the Brashear School District, not its players or parents. 6) If Co-op results in 15 or more combined players the softball schedule will have a regular five inning game, followed by a three inning game for substitutes, as much as the schedule allows, providing that the opposing team has enough players. 7) If co-op results in 18 or more combined players the softball schedule will have a two-team schedule. This schedule may be played on the same or different nights.
After some discussion of Ramer’s proposal, Board members voted. Yea: Joe Delaney, Ruey Douglas, Chris Harrison, Billy Hunter, Mark Greenley and Darrell Shultz. Nay: Shelly Bugh.