This blog features observations from Randy Turner, a former teacher, newspaper reporter and editor. Send news items or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Debbie Fort at R-8 Board meeting: District reserves at dangerously low level
She only had three minutes to speak (and they time it down to the second) but during that time former Irving Elementary Principal Debbie Fort provided the most vital comment during Tuesday night's 90-minute meeting of the Joplin R-8 Board of Education.
During the public comment time, in which those wishing to comment are limited to items on the board agenda, Dr. Fort proposed that the board look at two of the policies it is reviewing and allow professional and support staff employees who retire to donate unused sick pay to a pool to be used for employees with catastrophic illnesses.
Dr. Fort said that it would be better if the retiring employees could be paid for those days, but “with our budget constraints, With our reserves being down to 14 percent and I have heard somewhere they are going down to eight to 11 percent,” she said, she knew it would not be possible.
If Dr. Fort’s information was incorrect, that could have been sending an unnecessary negative message about the district’s finances.
No one corrected her and those attending the meeting included Superintendent C. J. Huff, the board of education, and the district’s CFO, Paul Barr, all of whom could have corrected any misinformation.
None of them said a word.
The meeting also included the following:
-Board member Jeff Flowers said his middle-school aged son was thrilled with the new wi-fi on the district’s activity buses. It enabled the younger Flowers to do his homework. The investment was “well worth it,’ the board president said.
-The safe rooms will all include six basketball goals.
-Board member Annie Sharp suggested taking time at a later meeting to talk about what things were done during construction of the new East Middle School that would make it better than the old one and advanced from what was done at the new South or the refurbished North.
-The high school will have an archery club. The board heard a presentation that included the information that 200 students had expressed an interest and that there are currently archery clubs at the five Springfield schools, Seneca, Sarcoxie, and Carl Junction. The startup cost will be $9,000, but some of that money can be obtained through grants from the Missouri Department of Conservation and other sources.
-The interest in archery may go up later this year, C. J. Huff said, noting that the next Hunger Games movie will open November 22.
-The meeting also featured construction updates and presentations on the WEB and All-Pro Dads programs.