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Friday, Aug. 22, 2014

Verona school board nears decision on superintendent

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

An announcement may be forthcoming this week on a new superintendent for the Verona R-7 School District.

Hoping to meet their Jan. 7 target date for signing a new top administrator, board members held a closed meeting on Dec. 28, 2012. Dr. Mike Jinks, from the Missouri Association of Rural Educators (MARE), met with board members to review applications for the position.

The board met in closed session on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 4 and 5. Two interviews were scheduled both days with the finalists.

During the board's December meeting, plans took shape for renovating the high school library. According to Superintendent Bill Sweet, the stand-alone building housing the library has now been incorporated into the high school complex and is the last piece of the puzzle for upgrading.

School officials have looked at the library since last spring. The wing represents considerable wasted space. Architect Richard Werner presented board members with a possible floor plan after the present walls are removed, leaving 3,600 square feet of space.

In addition, the roof will be replaced. Werner presented three different price estimates, from $144,000 to $216,000, depending on the cost per square foot. Sweet said the district has $150,000 budgeted for work this year and the rest can go into the coming fiscal year.

Board members directed Werner to move forward with the project. Construction will begin this spring.

The annual audit was approved. Sweet said the district again received notices for two points. Because of the district's small staff, the same person conducts the financial duties. Also, the district employs the same firm for bookkeeping and the audit.

In other action, the board approved a new policy for non-certified employees. The policy allows four years of qualifying experience to be credited upon employment by the district. Sweet said changing the old policy from two years gave the district more flexibility to hire staff for custodial and food service duties.

Sweet reported Protel planned to install wireless Internet service throughout the school complex over the Christmas break. Carpets were also replaced in all remaining upstairs elementary classrooms.

Income from the food service continues to run below last year. Sweet said he is not seeing more home lunches, despite the change in meals to meet the healthier national standards.

"We're down about 30 kids," Sweet told The Times. "I think that's 90 percent of it. I'm surprised it's still going down. I think participation is still like past years. They're not getting cakes and cookies, but kids are still eating."

Jeannie Abeln, elementary principal, reported teacher Carla Deaver was starting a 4-H chapter at the school. Members planned to meet after school on Wednesdays.

Donorschoice.org has awarded the district $200 to buy bilingual books. The grant application was written by Melvey Hillhouse, Abeln said. Four grants are being sought from the Aurora Community Foundation for special education services.

Fourteen students took the ACT college entrance exam on Dec. 8, 2012 reported Terry Winton, high school principal. A total of 21 students opted out of taking final exams for the fall semester.

Winton's efforts to decrease tardies by students resulted in a 24 percent reduction in the first semester.

The next regular board meeting is scheduled for Jan. 22.



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