Clark County R-1 School Board Names New President; Interviews Board Candidates

Clark County R-1 School Board Names New President; Interviews Board Candidates

By Mike Scott

The Clark County R-1 School Board met on Thursday, April 8.  Topping the agenda was a board reorganization following Tuesday’s election.  Mark Plenge, who was reelected, and Craig Hunziker, who was elected for the first time, took their oath of office, which was administered by board secretary Martha Ewart.
Brad Sprague was elected as board president.  Bill Schutte will serve as vice president, and Kristi Webber will be the treasurer.  Ewart will remain as secretary.
Superintendent Ritchie Kracht updated the board on the district’s financial situation.
“I think we’re still on pace to have a balanced or positive budget this year,” Kracht said.  Average daily attendance for March was 912.39 students, up seven from February.
State funding is still very much in question.  Despite the governor’s announce two percent cut in school funding, the general assembly is considering exempting 157 school districts from that reduction.  These so-call “hold harmless” districts vary in size from Luray and Revere, to Kansas City and St. Louis.  These districts would have lost funds under the state’s funding formula when it was enacted four years ago, but were deemed “hold harmless” to avoid those cuts.  
Currently, a number of state legislators are working to exempt the “hold harmless” schools from Governor Nixon’s cuts, placing a greater burden on the remaining schools, such as CCR-1.  For example, the two percent cut would cost the district about $61,000, while exempting hold harmless school will cost the district about $78,500.
“It’s the next 2-3 years that we’re really worried about,” said Kracht.  “Summer school is probably gone, and career ladder will probably be cut by the state next year.”
Kracht also discussed the successful school bond vote.
“Some projects will be difficult to complete this summer,” he said, noting that many contractors already have summer work scheduled.    Ground work on the Black Hawk and High School projects should start, with the projects being completed in the fall.  Projects like the waste water treatment upgrade and electrical upgrade at the middle school should take place this summer.  Other projects, such as window replacement, will probably wait until next summer.
“I wish we could do it all this summer, but it’s just not feasible,” Kracht said.
Kracht also reviewed the district’s safety plan, citing policies in effect at each building that require vistors to sign in, building only having one door unlocked, and the new intercoms in the elementary buildings as strengths.  
One major concern is that the buildings are difficult to lock down in case of emergency, bu the bond issue will address many of those concerns.
In other business, the board:
–Continued its review of the Comprehensive School Improvement Plan.
“We’ve come a long way in all areas.  How will the budget effect what we are doing in the future?” Kracht asked.
–Reviewed application material for a board member to replace Miles Cameron.
The Clark County R-1 School board met in special session on Monday, April 12 to conduct interviews to fill the vacant board seat, left open by the resignation of Miles Cameron.  Six individuals applied for the one-year appointed spot.  They were Carmen Arnold, Ron Gregory, Jason Acklie, Kari Bevins, Ruth Brotherton, and John Hume.  Current board members asked questions then allowed all six applicants to respond.  The board will hold a discussion and vote on which applicant will be appointed at the next board meeting.