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Handbook changes at Verona schools

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Verona R-7 Board of Education accepted resignations and hired staff for the coming year during its June board meeting.

Resignations were accepted from Molly Rothert, high school social studies teacher who has been with the district since 2002; Jamie Graham, elementary teacher, who has been with the district since 2005; and Isaac Crawford, high school counselor, who has been with the district one year.

Hired was Jessica Malter as an elementary teacher. Malter is a recent graduate of William Woods University.

Lori Antel was hired to teach high school social studies. Antel taught for 11 years in Illinois and has been working in the private sector.

Anna Lamar was hired as the high school counselor. Lamar has been an employee for the Springfield School District working as a high school counselor at Ozarks Technical Community College. She is a graduate of Evangel University.

The district has 15 new employees for the coming year, representing 27 percent of the certified staff.

In other personnel action, Kristy Madewell was retained as the secretary of the board.

Changes were approved for the student handbook for the coming year. Students will be allowed to use cell phones prior to 8 a.m. or after 3 p.m. on school property during non-instructional time, but not during the lunch hour. High school students can use iPods in the classroom with teacher permission for instructional purposes only. An A+ policy was added as party of certification during the past year.

The handbook directed that any elementary students handing out party invitations in class must have one for all class members. Eating and drinking will not be allowed on school buses, a policy that had not previously been put in writing. The discipline policy was spelled out rather than referring to letter references used in the past.

The acceptable use policy was approved, describing the appropriate way to use district equipment and technology.

Financial action

The board amended the 2011-12 budget through May to match actual expenses then adopted the revised budget as the preliminary budget for the 2012-13 school year. Madewell said spending has stayed in line with projections through the year.

Board members approved transferring 7 percent of the district's incidental fund into the building fund, allowed once a year by state law in June. Superintendent Bill Sweet said the maximum amount allowed in the transfer would be $203,383.

As a maintenance matter, the junior high building where the superintendent's office is located will have soffit work done over the summer. The old ag building, now used for the Parents as Teachers program, will be tuck-pointed and painted. Carpet will be replaced in three elementary classrooms.

Facilities are generally in good shape, Sweet said. The only area in need of upgrading is the library, which would have to be gutted and fully remodeled. Sweet estimated the project would run between $100,000 and $200,000.

Eight grade graduation

Sweet asked how board members felt about continuing the eighth grade graduation program. Seventeen districts responded to Sweet's inquiry about their programs. Of those, seven had discontinued the practice while three do it on the last day of school and several conduct the ceremony at night.

Board members preferred to keep the graduation in place. They suggested scaling back some of the preparations students make for the occasion.

A report on how to evaluate district programs was approved. Goals included creating a safe and academic environment as well as reducing discipline referrals. Administrators would refer to data from student records and compare it to past years.

Referrals in the high school increased by 286 between 2011-12 and the previous year, mostly due to better reporting on tardies. The report proposed clarifying expectations and consequences in the student handbook.

Administrative reports

Jeannie Abeln, elementary principal, reported summer school started with 100 students and ended up with 95.

Terry Winton, high school principal, said the summer school credit recovery program had nine students completing classes. For the coming year, the alternative school and the at risk program, both taught by Cherri Nash, would be combined.

Sweet reported the preliminary audit was finished and the final audit would be conducted on Aug. 8 through Aug. 10.

The next board meeting will be held on July 19.

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