The Pierce City R-6 Board of Education heard during its January meeting that influenza has hit district students and staffers hard.
"We had 54 kids out with the 'flu," said Kristi Marion, principal at Central Elementary School. "It's starting to turn around.
In his report to the board, Steve Garner, high school principal, invited board members to attend the district's surplus property auction, slated for 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 13, in the high school gymnasium. The Doug Weatherly Fun Run will precede the event.
Garner reported all seniors were currently on track to graduate. He said those struggling with classes were aware of the need to stay on top of class and homework assignments, as were their parents, in order to fulfill the requirements necessary to receive their diplomas.
"We are looking forward to everyone walking across the stage at graduation." Garner said.
Garner also advised the board that the district would have to add more math classes, such as pre-calculus and trigonometry, at the high school level.
"Students are taking Algebra 1 in eighth grade," Garner said. "By the time they are juniors and seniors, they have run out of math classes.
"We're looking at the possibility of having an additional math teacher at the high school half time and at the middle school half time," he continued. "Adding math classes will only enhance students' performance at college."
In his report to the board, Dr. Aaron Cornman said school financing was still up in the air.
"[The federal government] doesn't have the money they promised to give you," Cornman said.
In a letter from Chris Nicastro, Missouri's commissioner of education, he informs school leaders the proposed budget cuts would amount to the loss of $51 million to Missouri schools, impacting programs such as federal Impact Aid, special education, Title I funding and school improvement grants.
Nicastro advised school districts across the state to prepare for layoffs and program cuts that may hit the state's 558 school districts as early as July 2013.
Cornman reported the district is also in need of technology upgrades in order to meet the criteria for technology ready schools in 2014.
At that time, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) will require school districts to use computer-based state assessments for students in grades three through 11.
Some challenges many districts will have to overcome include bandwidth requirements, hardware issues and facility concerns. Another concern for the upcoming program is the keyboarding skills of students at the elementary school level, resulting in student frustration. In that case, the test scores would be a reflection of computer skills rather than subject knowledge.
In other business, board members approved:
* The conceptual drawing of the Jenny Garner Student Memorial.
* The surplus property list that will be sold at auction on April 13.
* The purchase of new doors and security systems for the elementary school in the amount of $10,800 and $11,401 respectively.
* A stipend for Harrison Campbell, eighth grade science teacher, to serve as the assistant junior high school track coach.