The Purdy R-2 School District received an upbeat audit report in light of uncertainty over state funding in the coming year.
Superintendent Jerry Lingo reported the audit, which was conducted by the Springfield firm of Davis, Lynn and Moots, showed the district had built up its reserve funds from 18.1 percent to 19.8 percent over the school year that ended on June 30. The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education recommends having a 20 percent balance.
Lingo said gaining $77,000 in the funds for general bills and paying teachers helps the district in a time of fiscal uncertainty.
The district received $609,631 in federal stimulus money during the audit year and would get more through June 11, 2011. Some of the money had been used for salaries, helping the district to save money that would have been spent on personnel otherwise. Board chairman Randy Henderson said much of it had been earmarked for technology upgrades and programs like special education.
Lingo said with the pending cut-off of federal funds that amounted to 5 percent of the annual budget, every effort was being made to economize. Additional cuts in state funding are expected, especially in the 2011-12 school year. Henderson said the board will size up its options in preparing the budget for the coming year.
No recommendations for changes came in the audit. Lingo pointed out auditors had previously recommended spending down the amount set aside for professional development. The report showed that amount had dropped from a high of $11,000 to below $1,500.
Foreign language review
Foreign language instructor Gerry Wass made his ninth annual visit to the board to talk about the classes he teaches. Wass enlisted board member Ken Terry to demonstrate the kind of role playing activity Wass uses to stimulate learning beyond what students hear.
Wass talked about using "discovery education" as a strategy, as well as Malcolm Gladwell's book "The Tipping Point" and "Tools for Teachers" by Fred Jones. All of the approaches emphasize teaching through showing and providing more attention to details.
Wass brought two students, Cameron Terry and Colton Coy, to talk about the work of the Spanish Club and its recycling program. In its fifth year, the recycling program processed 154,464 pounds of paper, 23,960 pounds of metal, 18,350 pounds of plastic and 133,700 pounds of cardboard in 2010.
Having brought in nearly $30,000, mostly from grants, the recycling program acquired can crushers for both aluminum and tin, allowing the recycling of big cafeteria cans. A conveyer moves material to two new 72-inch balers. The program now has two balers for cardboard and two for plastic. A new oil pump also helps to recapture furnace fuel from crushed oil filters.
The Spanish Club is looking for a new project, Coy said. The students are considering working toward building a new community playground in the city park that will help attract more people to Purdy. Wass said the city council has expressed interest in redeveloping the park playground. Club members would like to participate in some way.
Special education report
Special education director Dixie Farris reported on her program's progress. She said First Steps, the area intervention organization that screens pre-school children for developmental delays, has regularly referred new children for potential problems, mostly in language delays. Farris has asked First Steps to forecast how many 2-year-olds may need additional assistance. She said the program could become "very full" in the next few years.
|Presently, the early childhood program has eight students placed in special education. The district has 10 students with specific learning disabilities, almost evenly split between the middle and high schools. Five students deal with mental retardation.||Six students have health impairments, another area likely to increase, Farris said. One student is legally blind and works with a paraprofessional.|
In all, the special education program provides services for 60 children, 34 of which have speech or language disabilities. Five full-time teachers and four paraprofessionals make up the staff.
Lingo reported overall enrollment has reached 673, up 16 from the first day of school.
Elementary Principal Jeff Swadley said 60 children received assistance for Christmas through the Angel Tree program. All the children who applied were "adopted" by families in the community. The First Free Will Baptist Church gave out 22 coats as well.
|Middle School Principal Janet Boys and Swadley discussed the use of the "four blocks" model for teaching communication arts. The strategy acknowledges not all children learn in the same way and provides substantial instruction to support the learning personalities of all students.||High School Principal Bob Vice said the Southwest Center for Educational Excellence is looking at making more on-line dual credit courses available. Purdy students could take those classes if the district could budget for the cost, Vice said.|
Homecoming would be held on Jan. 14, 2011, with the Eagles facing the Sarcoxie Bears.
The next board meeting will be Jan. 17, 2011.