Following the April 8 election, two incumbents (Kim York and Ruth Johnson) held on to their seats on the Raymore-Peculiar Board of Education, and one newcomer (Barbara Boucher) took her place at the table. Prior to the regular April school board meeting, held April 17 at 7 p.m., the school board gathered two days earlier for a special reorganization meeting, at which time the group certified election results, swore in members, and elected officers, including naming Leo Anderson president.
Kicking off the Thursday evening meeting with student recognitions, the board heard from Hannah York first. A fourth grader at Raymore Elementary, she received an honorable mention award in the kindest Kansas Citian Essay Contest. Valerie Lightle took her spot in the limelight next. Honored for placing fourth in marketing management at the state DECA Career Development Conference, she will advance to compete at the International Career Development Conference held in Atlanta in May.
Director of Student Services & Secondary Education Kristel Barr took the podium next, updating board members with a review of the district’s vocational program, which includes family and consumer sciences, marketing, and business education. Within this program, 44 courses were offered this year among the three departments. According to Barr, vocational student participation is on the rise, as 200 more students enrolled in the program this school year (1,268) as compared to the previous year (1,068).
Karen Hurst, director-curriculum, assessment & elementary ed, gave board members an overview of the Gifted/LEAP Program, which provides enrichment services for students in grades two through eight. In addition to sharing program highlights and statistics, evaluating the prior year’s goals and results, and offering ideas for enhancing the identification process of gifted students, Hurst and her team presented three future goals for the 2014-15 school year: 1) Two research-based assessment tools will be identified for recognizing the nontraditional gifted student as measured by a rubric; 2) Baseline data will be gathered of the affective needs of current high school LEAP students as measured by an affective needs student survey; and 3) LEAP students will have two additional opportunities to participate in outside competitions that apply creativity and critical thinking strategies.
Based on the results of a recent survey conducted by the department, Hurst explained that many of the parents of LEAP students either agreed or strongly agreed that their child is having a challenging experience in the program and that the lead teacher helped develop a positive self-image in their students.
Following the presentation, Board Member York commented that she thinks LEAP is a great program; however, she stressed the importance of balancing resources. “As a board member, we work with limited resources all the time,” she said. “I hope we will continue to try and balance our resources. In talking to parents, I know there is some frustration concerning how many resources we focus in certain areas.”
LEAP Teacher Kathy Payne addressed York’s concern, saying that she is all for all of the Ray-Pec programs getting all of the funding they get. “We would love to have a program for that next 5 percent for the gifted program, but it takes a lot of money,” she said. “And, unfortunately, that’s money we don’t have right now.”
Addressing several action items, the board made its way through a short list of votes, including passing Option 1 for insurance renewal of employee benefits, as recommended by Director of Human Resources Lisa Hatfield. Option 1 maintains the current base plan options for employees and is a blended increase of 22 percent across all plan designs. Hatfield also presented staffing additions to the board for the 2014-15 school year, all of which passed unanimously.
Moving on to copier decisions, Director of Technology Ryan Gooding recommended a four-year agreement with Knighton Business Solutions for digital document imaging/copying equipment and services. Board members approved this proposal as presented. They also voted in favor of his recommendation to approve the AOS bid of $32,939.61 for seven servers to be installed at Shull Elementary and two at East Middle School as well as to accept Midwest Recycling Center as the vendor for technology equipment recycling and/or disposal.
On the facility management front, Assistant Superintendent Jay Harris asked the board to declare the property presented as surplus, declare the technology equipment listed as surplus, and approve the bids for surplus property. The board voted in favor of all three recommendations.