"Due to the hard work and efforts of each and every staff member, our district has met 14 of 14 accreditation standards for the 2009-2010 school year," announced Assistant Superintendent Julie Germann in an e-mail to faculty this week.
"This state designation is something that is not easily earned, or kept," Germann added. "On behalf of Dr. Jungmann, the Board of Education and myself, thank you for your hard work and dedication to the students of Monett R-1!"
Word of the achievement was shared at the November Board of Education meeting by Superintendent John Jungmann though details were not publicly announced until the state report could be reviewed. Jungmann told board members the district had met its goal.
In the previous year's report, the district fell short in graduation rate and in the number of subgroups showing significant improvement. In this year's APR, Monett improved its graduation rate by more than 2 percent. Eight of 12 subgroups showed significant improvement, one more than last year, meeting the state's criteria for passage.
Six of eight school districts in the Big 8 Conference met all 14 standards. The remaining two had a score of 12 out of 14.
|Good news also came from Tyler Laney, director of the Southwest Area Career Center. The North Central accreditation organization had conducted its first review of the Career Center in November. The Career Center was granted "first candidacy."|
"This is exciting news," Jungmann said. "It opens doors for the Career Center to offer PEL grants and federal loans for adults that may want to come back for programs at night or during the day. This is the first step to really expand our adult education programs."
Laney said the Career Center now has 24 months to prepare for a full review to complete the process. He expected official confirmation of the status to arrive this month. Laney is preparing to have PEL grants available to students in the 2010-11 school year.
"North Central accreditation is huge," Laney told The Times. "The possibilities are limitless. We're going to move full speed ahead."
In the current economy, Laney felt there are many adults looking for the opportunity to retrain and needing the funds to do so. Financial assistance would provide the money, but there also needs to be courses that meet the standards for PEL grants. One step is to open available seats in the daytime program to adults.
Another step is creating more classes offering career opportunities. Laney, health occupations instructor Heather Schmidley and adult education coordinator Kim McCracken made a presentation to the board about expanding the health occupations program. They had visited career centers in Columbia, Rolla and Waynesville and recommended how additional courses could better meet the needs of students.
"We know that one in five jobs created in the next 20 years will be in health care," Jungmann said. "We could do surgical classes or physical therapy-related courses. There are tons of programs. The demand is there without a doubt. We currently have 36 students in the program, half in the morning and half in the afternoon sessions. We could easily double in size."
In the dispute between the city of Monett and the counties over tax increment financing (TIF), property tax revenues from the school district have been going to the city. It appears the county collectors are preparing to hold revenue from school taxes, preventing money from being distributed to the city until the legal dispute is resolved. Money due to the district would also be held.
Jungmann explained participation in the TIF was a decision made between the school board and the city. The county is not part of that choice nor does it have any say in the decision. He felt the county collectors had no legal standing to withhold the district's money.
Board members authorized the superintendent to consult with the district's attorney on where the district stands in the process.
"We have concern about our money being held by the county collector," Jungmann said. "We want to make sure we're doing our part to protect the district's tax dollars and where to go from here."
Enterprise zone position
The Barry County Commission has also held talks about the creation of an Enhanced Enterprise Zone covering the entire county. After attending that hearing, Jungmann recommended the school board vote to have the R-1 District left out of any countywide enterprise zone plans.
"It seems like a bad practice to grant blanket authority for tax abatement to people who don't live in the district," Jungmann said.
Board members agreed and voted accordingly. They also expressed support for the enterprise zone concept if one was organized by the city of Monett and decisions would be handled locally.