Preliminary results of the Annual Performance Report from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) have been released. Superintendent Dr. John Jungmann said the district has met all 14 categories of assessment for the second year in a row.
The district got additional points for closing the achievement gap from previous years and for giving two tests in math, communication arts and science at the high school instead of just one to get a better measure of student achievement. The district thus earned 16 out of a possible 14 points.
"The board is extremely excited and proud of our students," Jungmann said. "We feel real good about the faculty and staff, but the kids take the tests. It's a thrill for us to see them do well. They take their focus on education seriously in showing what they've learned. They've done a tremendous job again."
Jungmann did not anticipate any changes that would affect the district's status in the final report. The R-1 District will receive accreditation with distinction honors again.
The second big news was word that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had approved the district's application for a hazard mitigation grant to fund construction of a community tornado safe room as part of the expansion at Monett Elementary School. The grant will cover 75 percent of the cost for a maximum of $932,766.
"That's a large chunk of money to get it done the way we wanted," Jungmann said. "We can provide a resource for the kids and the community. We were really counting on this coming through."
Details of the second round of federal stimulus money for Missouri have now been released. Jungmann said the Monett R-1 District will receive $550,000 as its share.
Whether or not the money will reach Monett as a supplement to regular state support is unclear, Jungmann explained to board members. If state revenues fall short and the Foundation Formula is not adequately funded, the money will end up replacing the shortfall, possibly bringing no additional dollars to the district. Jungmann said the money would not be passed through to schools until the supplemental budget process at the end of the legislative session in the spring.
"We'll still get the money, but it may be a wash or reduced," Jungmann said.
Health services update
A written report on the health services program detailed how the staff of two registered nurses, one licensed practical nurse and one health clerk have continued their services. More than 14,500 student health issues were assessed in campus health rooms during the past year, according to Nurse Linda Lauderdale.
The annual visit by the Jordan Valley Dental Van helped approximately 40 students receive no cost dental treatment on campus.
The "New Year, New You" program, offered for a second year, helped 64 participating employees lose a total of 480 pounds.
Last year. the district also provided H1N1 immunizations for the first time. The vaccine was given to more than 360 students in kindergarten through grade four.
Lauderdale expressed concern over a significant loss of funding from the Missouri Department of Health for school services. The grant has provided $12,000 to $15,000 a year. Jungmann said funds would have to come from the operational budget, reducing money available for educational programs.
Construction is progressing at a steady pace at Monett Elementary School. Jungmann said crews hope to have the new bus loop from the north to the east side of the campus done in the next 30 days. Then attention will turn to the west end and work in the lower parking lot, where buses have been letting off children.
Board members reviewed the annual facility improvement list, which outlines plans for the next five years. This year's list includes laying new topsoil and grass on the football practice field north of the high school.
Other plans for the year include upgrading more doors at the intermediate school, which were not done earlier due to a lack of funds. Floor tile in the hallways and cafeteria at Central Park Elementary as well as lighting will be replaced to match work already done in the classrooms. More of the high school parking lot will be sealed and striped, adding to work done last summer.
Acting on Trinity Lutheran School's request to allow its seventh and eighth grade students to participate in wrestling and football, board members voted no.
"We have three private schools in town," Jungmann said. "How do you say yes to one and not the others? We could get a lot more kids in the program. It's not that we don't want to partner with the schools, but as a financial component, the board did not want to step into that now."
Both the high school and the Southwest Area Career Center have received accreditation under both the North Center Accreditation Association in the past. The board decided it was no longer necessary to have the high school reviewed by both North Central and DESE. Board members opted for drop the North Central accreditation for the high school for the next year and rely solely on the DESE assessment.
Bus routes were reviewed and approved for the year. Jungmann said even with less state funding, the district is maintaining the existing number of bus routes, which remain full. Costs are controlled by using centralized pick-ups, but even so, Jungmann said less state funding means more money from the operational budget moves away from instruction to keep the buses running.
The next board meeting will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 19.