Friday, Jun. 29, 2012
HSB OKs contracts
Harrisonville School Board members faced somewhat of a quandary at their June 26 meeting. Low bid versus locally owned seemed to be the question of the evening. Ultimately, a local business came away with the district's milk contract for the 2012-13 school year.
Although board members were advised by administration to accept the low bid from Anderson Erickson of Des Moines, Iowa for dairy products, which amounted to $2,000 less per year than the other bid, the final vote came down in favor of locally owned Sunnyside Dairy, a company that maintained the contract last year and also had two representatives in the audience, one of whom voiced a short plea to members to stay with his local firm.
Considering that both bids amounted to less than what the district spent last year for milk, Board Member David Kauffman recommended keeping the contract in town. Board member Marie Vallee agreed.
“I would prefer to stay with Sunnyside Dairy,” said Vallee, who moved to accept the firm’s bid. “They have a history of delivering what we want when we need it.”
The motion carried, with all board members voting in consensus except for one. Although he agreed with the concept of spending locally when possible, Chris Bell voiced concern over fiscal responsibility.
“I remember sitting in this very seat two years ago and cutting $500 from this program and $500 from that program,” he said. “The economy appears to be turning around, but I don't want us to lose sight of that view. I believe every time we can make a savings for our constituents we need to do so.”
In other business related to nutrition services, the board reluctantly voted to increase student lunch prices by 10 cents - to $1.95 for grades K-5 and $2.20 for grades 6-12 - for the upcoming school year or face the possibility of losing federal funding for its free and reduced lunch program.
As a result of the Federal Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, schools participating in the National School Lunch Program are required to provide the same level of support for lunches served to students who are not eligible for free or reduced lunches as they are for those who are. The current amount being reimbursed is $2.46. All schools that are not at the $2.46 level are required to increase lunch prices by the minimum of 10 cents per student. To put the impact of this program into perspective, Harrisonville had between 37 percent and 39 percent of the student population on either free or reduced lunches last year.
Among other business, the board tackled several other action items, including approval of the following:
Cass County Cooperative Agreement (a consortium of five local school districts, including Raymore-Peculiar, Pleasant Hill, Midway, Belton and Harrisonville) for educational support.
2011-2012 budget amendments and 2012-13 budget.
Bids from Wonder Bread-Hostess Brands for bread products for the 2012-2013 school year and MFA Oil Company for gasoline and diesel fuel.
Contracts between the Harrisonville Booster Club and Harrisonville School District for the lease of a 1997 Prevost 56-seat bus and a 1997 Prevost 58-seat bus for transportation of students on district-sponsored extracurricular trips for the one-year period ending June 30, 2013.
Change order for the roof at HES.
Although the contract with the City of Harrisonville for two School Resource Officers for the 2012-13 school year passed as presented, the vote was not unanimous.
The district currently has two SROs – one at the high school and one at the middle school building – who also serve as DARE officers/instructors. The recommendation to the board was to raise each of the officer's pay by $1 per hour. Although he expressed the need to retain these positions and stressed the importance of having law enforcement at the schools, Bell does not agree with the current arrangement in which the school district is responsible for bearing 100 percent of the cost; therefore, he did not vote in favor of this proposal.
“This has nothing to do with the level of service,” he said. “My argument is not that we shouldn’t have them there. I would just like for the City of Harrisonville to pay their fair share.”
In audience recognitions and reports, the board heard from Gary Davidson, president of the Athletic Booster Club, who presented an overview of the organization's activities for the past school year. Dr. Shari Osborn, director of curriculum & instruction, was on hand to offer a brief presentation on the district’s gifted education program, including an update on budgets, scores, and future plans.
Three students from the HATS (gifted education) program, along with Donna Pfautsch (director), were recognized by the board. Recently traveling to a global competition in Knoxville, Tenn., the students shared their experiences with the group.
Dr. Bryan McDonald, superintendent, presented the Board with a plaque for receiving the Missouri School Boards Association Leadership Team Award. Noting that Harrisonville was one of only 11 districts across the state that received this prestigious award, McDonald congratulated the group.
“I am very pleased and excited for this board,” he said. “I think it shows your commitment to our community, education, professional growth and excellence.”