The Purdy R-2 Board of Education eyed the coming school year and targeted specific cuts in the budget likely to be needed for the 2010-11 session. With declining enrollment, board members decided to reduce the number of bus routes from eight to seven next year.
Consequently bus driver David Still, who had been with the district since August of 2008, was not rehired for the coming year. Superintendent Jerry Lingo said Still will be rehired in the event that another driver retires or chooses not to return next year.
"At-will [non-certified] employees are presumed to work for the district until they are notified of termination or they resign," Lingo told The Times. "We will simply notify the employees that they are still considered an employee for the next year."
Only one other staffing change was made. Board members did not rehire Blake West, a physical education teacher since 2004. West was hired on a temporary teaching certificate as a permanent substitute in January, but he has not passed his Praxis test in physical education and could not be fully certified. Lingo reported a replacement would be hired.
Sports schedule change
Lingo told board members superintendents at the Ozarks 7 Conference meeting had voted to take a proposal back to their school boards that would bring a major change to the basketball season to save money. Under the proposal, conference games would only be played on Tuesday and Friday. On those nights, teams would play boys, girls and junior varsity games.
The idea, Lingo said, is to save money on travel and officials. Only Southwest and Purdy have junior varsity girls games. A junior varsity conference tournament at the end of the season was also proposed so that the total number of games would not be reduced by the scheduling change.
Southwest, Verona and Wheaton have agreed to try the new schedule. Thomas Jefferson had already gone to the different schedule and McAuley was expected to support the plan. The Exeter superintendent did not attend the conference meeting.
Lingo favored trying the revised schedule. School board members were less convinced of the advantages. Ken Terry pointed out that the basketball program presently makes money and cutting back the number of games on different nights would reduce the opportunity to sell tickets.
Lingo thought attendance would increase but perhaps not enough to make up for an additional night. Board secretary Stacey Williams said revenues dropped when the district shifted to an activities pass. Families with more than one child playing were buying the passes rather than repeated admissions.
Savings were possible on out-of-town games. Lingo agreed to take the board's concerns back to discuss the details more thoroughly with the other superintendents. Concern was also voiced that if a majority of districts had already voted to make the change, Purdy's reservations would not be addressed.
High School Principal Bob Vice identified a number of outstanding student achievements. The Academic Team took first place in Class 2 Area 11 district competition, advancing the team to regionals. Art students won the Ozark 7 Conference Art Competition held at Crowder College for the sixth consecutive year.
The Business Team won the sweepstakes award at the Ozark 7 Business Contest. Three students won gold medals and eight received silver medals at the state Family, Consumer and Career Leaders of America conference. Vice praised both the instructors and the students for their outstanding efforts.
Elementary Principal Jeff Swadley reported the district presently has 179 students signed up for summer school.
Upcoming year-end activities will include: the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) graduation at Southwest on May 7; the high school spring band concert at 7 p.m. on May 6 and the middle school band concert at 7 p.m. on May 7; the high school academic awards assembly on May 12; baccalaureate at 7 p.m. on May 12; and graduation at 7 p.m. on May 15.
The board approved the resignation of Kelly George, physical education and health instructor. George took a position with the Monett School District.
Board members voted to renew their membership with the Missouri School Boards Association (MSBA). According to MSBA records, the Purdy district saved more than $14,600 in the current school year by buying natural gas through the MSBA's consortium instead of on the open market. Since the natural gas arrangement began, the MSBA reported the Purdy district has saved $64,205.
The next regular school board meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on May 17.