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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Purdy school board discusses student numbers as new year opens

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Purdy Middle School students set up their lockers as classes for the 2009-10 year opened today. [Photo by Kay Wright]
Financial, staff and facility preparations for the new school year were reviewed by the Purdy R-2 Board of Education during its August meeting.

Board members voted to keep the same tax levy as last year. The levy calls for property taxes of $2.75 per $100 of assessed property for general operations, plus $.6857 per $100 of property for paying off debts.

The district has the authority to raise the levy for paying off debt to as high as 91 cents. Superintendent Jerry Lingo said the district has tried to keep the debt levy in the 67-to-69 cent range to impose no hardships on patrons. The levy has stayed at its present level for at least the past five years, Lingo said.

There was good news in the assessed valuation report from the county assessor. A marginal increase in the value of property in the district will bring more money into the district in the coming year. Lingo pointed out that even though real estate valuations dropped by almost $1,000, personal property assessments were up by almost $180,000. Commercial property assessments rose by a little over $250,000.

The proposed levy is expected to bring in $668,305 for operations, the teachers fund and the building fund. The debt service levy will generate an estimated $166,639.

Funding becomes increasingly important as the district declines, which results in less state revenues. Principals anticipated very similar numbers to last year and were hopeful that more students arriving after Labor Day would offset any shifts in enrollment numbers.

Elementary Principal Jeff Swadley anticipated having one more student than he had last May, though the total would be seven less than in May 2008. Swadley said the smallest class would be second graders and the biggest group would be fourth graders. Kindergarten and first grade would stay unchanged. Grades three and four are expected to have 20 less students than last year.

Middle School Principal Janet Boys was hopeful her numbers would stay very close to last year's totals. High School Principal Bob Vice expected similar figures. Seniors would again be the smallest class, he said, while the freshman and junior classes would each have about 15 more students than the seniors.

In preparation for the new year, handbooks for students and employees were approved. Student manuals dropped an old provision about having floppy discs scanned for viruses if brought to school, since almost no one uses floppy discs anymore. Changes implemented several years ago in graduation standards have now superceded old standards, which were dropped from the manual, Vice said.

The comprehensive school improvement plan (CSIP) cited in the faculty handbook will be up for revision this year. Vice said the committee overseeing changes would begin meeting in October. Boys said part of this year's effort will involve aligning district goals with federal programs, requiring significant matching between the lists.

Teachers will also be working on tracking student mastery of objectives. Vice said administrative software purchased last year has a curriculum and assessment portal for this purpose. Staff will be trained this year to use the software. The additional work will be needed for the district to pass the upcoming fifth cycle review under the Missouri school improvement program, Vice said.

Student scores of state standardized tests last spring have left the district classified as in need of improvement under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Boys said around three-quarters of districts in the state now fall under that classification. Purdy has been cited for improvement long enough that this coming year is scheduled for corrective action. A letter will be sent home with parents telling them of the classification, as required by law.

On facilities, Lingo reported paving of parking lots all around the school buildings had been finished. There were now 166 marked spaces. Around 10 more slots had been gained in the middle school lot and the line had been moved between faculty and student areas on the north side, adding more space for students.

Despite earlier work, Lingo said it appeared the high school gym is still not waterproof. New paint has started bubbling again. Varsity Construction was sending in a new team to take a fresh look at the problem.

Money in the district's general fund for the year was up by almost 2 percent, according to notes from the auditing firm of Davis, Lynn and Moots. The capital projects fund, built up over several years, was spent down by $487,269 to finish the last three additions. The remaining $340,000, Lingo said, should be enough to get the district through the coming year.

The board approved its substitute teacher list for starting the new year. Vice reported Jackie Rutherford, who had run the Missouri Options program, was now the A+ coordinator. Rutherford will be developing career path guidelines and identifying curriculum revisions needed for the comprehensive school improvement plan.

Grandparents Day at the elementary school has been scheduled for Sept. 18. Open house will be on Sept. 3 for all campuses. The Jordan Valley Dental Clinic has scheduled its annual visit for Sept. 28.

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