Friday, May 06, 2016

Bright Futures Board to R-8: We need money until 2017-2018

The independence of Bright Futures Joplin from the Joplin R-8 School District may take longer than expected.

During a special 7 p.m. meeting Tuesday night in the Memorial Education Building, the Board of Education will consider a request to consider funding positions for the upcoming school year and allow BFJ to become fully independent for the 2017-2018 school year.

A letter from the Bright Futures Board to the R-8 Board explains the situation with all bold letters placed exactly where the writer put them:

As many of you are aware, Bright Futures Joplin has been hard at work evaluating its efforts and transitioning to meet the needs of the current Joplin Schools student body and staff. Through the end of March, BJF has:

-Met the immediate needs of 247 students

-Managed the distribution of over 14,000 Snack Packs for food insecure children

-Provided school supplies to over 800 students

-Managed over 500 volunteers for a total of 8,000 hours

-Managed $61,000 in in-kind donations

-Helped support teachers' classrooms with $55,901.21 in classroom materials for students

-Funded the Operation College Bound program and

-Funded the 2016 Volunteer Breakfast

We are dedicated solely to the benefit of Joplin Schools' students and staff focusing on (!) meeting the immediate needs of students so they can be successful in school, and (2) increasing leadership capacity in Joplin Schools to assure every building has the supports and resources needed to take care of its kids.

BFJ has been working to become financially independent from the District has has in plans in place to make that happen by the start of the 17/18 school that funds remaining in the District can be utilized for only student needs. This spring in an effort to save funds for the much-needed increase of pay and benefits for Joplin Schools employees, Joplin Schools Administration made the determination to no longer fund the Coordinator of Community Engagement position salary beyond the June 2016 fiscal year end (which was agreed upon through the BFJ JS MOF (memorandum of understanding) in December of 2015. Prior to January, Bright Futures Joplin has always sustained this salary from within the Bright Futures Joplin dedicated funds in the District (formerly the Bright Futures Joplin assistant coordinator)  Due to this new understandable cutback, Bright Futures Joplin would once again like to support that salary.

Additionally, Bright Futures Joplin has had a contracted cost-share VISTA serving the program this school year who has been tremendously helpful. As the Director of Community Engagement's duties expand under Dr. Ridder's direction and she spends more time and attention elsewhere, BFJ would like to bring in Melissa Doura, (our current contracted VISTA) to help with fundraising, marketing, etc., in order to sustain the BFJ program long-term.

BFJ would like to request the use of the designated Bright Futures Joplin funds housed in the District to once again pay these salaries for the 2016-2017 school year. These positions are critical to BEJ's ability to effectively meet the needs of Joplin Schools, students, support volunteers, and fulfill our mission. After this next year, BFJ will be in the position to sustain those salaries long-term without using in-district funds, so this agreement will only be for one school year, beginning July 1, 2016.

Realizing that there are new members on the BOE, we are (as always) happy to entertain any questions and ensure that there is complete clarity regarding the relationship between BFJ and Joplin Schools, as well as four commitment to ensuring the success of our ongoing partnership for the benefit of Joplin kids.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Christie Barnhart
Bright Futures Joplin Board Director


Anonymous said...

Uhh...yeah. Hope the new board says no thank you and we wish you the best of luck.
Everyone, please remember - Joplin schools were doing everything BFJ is doing before it ever existed. Schools had backpack programs, clothing programs, school supplies were available, a shoe program, some schools even provided Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners to many families! All Bright Futures does is package these things in a quasi-corporate model.

Anonymous said...

Hmm. Maybe they should start with canning Melissa Winston. That should free up some funds and get rid of a negative influence on the organization. Two birds with one stone

Anonymous said...

It is past time to wean these titty babies from their government checks!

Anonymous said...

Just say no.

Anonymous said...

Do they really think donors who donated money to help kids in need want their money to pay salaries? PLEASE BOE DO NOT APPROVE THIS.

A Subscriber said...

Well said 2:58: The services were provided within schools before the additional salaries of BFJ came into being.
While the District isn't paying competitive wages, the request should be denied.
BFJ knew well in advance when the support was to end.
And 4:11: No, surely the funds were given to children and not salaries.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2:58, not all of the schools were not able to provide those things before Bright Futures. I worked at Emerson before and after the creation of the program. We did not have a snack pack program, and there were limited supplies available to provide students who do not have parents buy them. I'm not sure where you are getting your information, but it is not entirely accurate. Did we provide for needs the best we could? Sure! Were we as connected to community resources as we are now? Absolutely not. There may have been missteps over the years, but Bright Futures has transformed the community involvement of faith-based and business partners in Joplin Schools for the better.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2:58, there are many other things that could not be done without Bright Futures. The would be no fancy website to promote Bright Futures, and there would be no organized facebook posting and twittering operation to keep everyone informed of all the selfless deeds Bright Futures does to promote itself. Was there a Golf Classic at $100.00 a head before Bright Futures? I'm not sure where you are getting your information, but there is something else you didn't consider. Without Bright Futures, where will Joplin be "growing up next generation school board members"? Were Bright Futures as connected to community resources and influential business leaders as we could have been? Absolutely not. Otherwise the school board wouldn't have been infiltrated by nonbelievers. C.J. Huff would still be Superintendent and R-8 would not have veered off course. Financially things could always be better, but truly inspirational and transformational leaders usually aren't CPAs.

Anonymous said...

1:03, the connections are great and could probably continue without BF or they need to get their own funding, but NOT from tax payer funds through the school district.

Anonymous said...

Socialism at its finest!

Anonymous said...

How about just taking what was paid for salaries and buying shoes and food, etc. with it? Skip the middleman. If that money was in an account that principals and counsellors could access through Central Office, I expect the middleman could be omitted altogether.

Also, why just Operation College Bound? Why not the same emphasis on jobs not requiring a college degree? Those are nice but not everyone is getting one or needs one. How about touring some places of work and finding out what is needed to get those jobs? A dose of reality all the way around. Work is honorable and should be encouraged.