Thursday, July 20, 2017
R-8 Board bills include Victory Ministries attorney fees, half a million for computers, Chamber membership
During a closed session at its June meeting, the board agreed not to oppose Judge Douglas Harpool's awarding of $103,976.45 to the American Humanist Association and $46,935 to Arthur Benson and Associates.
The fees were less than the $211,000 the lawyers originally requested. Harpool noted that while the basic decision had been in their favor, they had not totally won.
Contrary to what has been reported in some media, including the Joplin Globe, Harpool did not rule that the R-8 School District can no longer take field trips to Victory Ministries or other religious venues, only that no type of religious activities can take place. Trips that are made solely for social purposes, which would include the type of field trip North Middle School students took when they celebrated the conclusion of MAP testing would not violate Harpool's ruling.
The problem, according to Harpool's decision, did not stem from the trip itself but from the permission slip. The district used Victory Ministries' permission slip, which gave its employees authorization to not only deliver religious messages to the students, but also to use photos of them to advertise the facility.
Huff ignored warnings that the trip could bring legal action. He acknowledged there were problems with the permission slip, but only said something would be done about that next year. Even after Victory offered to substitute a permission slip that would have corrected the problem, for some reason Huff did not follow through.
Among the other items on this month's bills:
MAC airbooks- The district will pay $499,040.30 to Apple for the final shipment of MAC Airbook computers for Joplin High School students. Approximately $2 million has been spent over the past four years, enabling the district to replace the computers the district received thanks to a $1 million gift from the United Arab Emirates in 2011.
Joplin High School sink hole- The district paid $17,148.90 to Asbell Excavating to repair a sink hole at the high school.
Chamber membership- The list includes $360 to the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce listed as "membership investment."
Bus Wi-Fi- $376.21
Numerous Meals- Among the meals the board is expected to approve are $345.50 to Moe's Southwest Grill listed under "supplies," $161.51 to Red, Hot, and Blue for brisket, pork, potato salad, and cole slaw listed under "miscellaneous supplies," $274.67 to Red Onion Cafe, a lunch for 42 people, plus tip and delivery fee and $191.23 to Schlotzsky's Deli for "sandwiches for 42 people."