Harrisonville school board honors students

Special to the Democrat MissourianMay 30, 2014 

Several students took their turn in the spotlight at the May 20 Harrisonville School Board meeting. Honored for their respective accomplishments, the students addressed board members after being congratulated and introduced by Harrisonville High School Principal Andy Campbell.

Nick Johnson, who was unable to attend the meeting because he was in transit from the state golf meet, was recognized for qualifying and playing — where he placed 60th out of 90 golfers.

Junior Annie DeVenney was honored for being selected and installed as the Missouri State President for Children of the American Revolution at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. According to Campbell, this honor earns her the opportunity to pick a chairman for the society as well as represent the organization at the state and national level.

Annie explained her interest in this group as well as described the service project, "Paws for Patriots," she has chosen to pursue in relation to her recent appointment.

“The goal of C.A.R. is to promote citizenship and a love of history and country,” she said. “I plan to raise money for service dogs that will help veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and brain injuries.”

Annie has already raised $750 of her total goal of $5,400, which will be enough to fund two service dogs.

Finally, the Cass Career Center FFA Trap team was honored. Senior and captain Eric Farr presented highlights from this year’s competitions. A total of 32 students practiced with the team and 13 competed. At the state competition, the team finished 17th out of 160 squads and more than 80 schools.

“Overall, we did really good this year,” Farr said. “We had a great season. We also have a really good upcoming team full of juniors so it will continue to be good from now on. I am pretty proud to shoot on the team all four years.”

Board Member Deb Welhoff updated the group on the Missouri School Boards Association activities as well as provided highlights from the Harrisonville Public School Foundation. After Tim Ryan, assistant superintendent of HR & Operations, gave an overview of the district’s At Risk Program, Superintendent Bryan McDonald asked board members to approve the 2014-15 certified salary schedule as presented.

Although this motion carried, narrowly passing 4-3, this particular item sparked much discussion among board members. Marv Cochran, for example, who voted against the motion, indicated he would like to see a higher figure on the base as well as a reconfiguration of the extra-duty schedule.

“I think we can do better for our people,” he said.

Also voting against the proposed schedule, Jerald Dickey shared Cochran’s sentiments and asked administration for more than one option to consider.

“I believe the most important thing in our district is not technology but our staff,” he said. “Our teachers are the most important asset our district has. I truly believe we can do better. I would like to rework it [the salary schedule] and see what other options would look like to bring the base up. I would like to see more figures.”

In response to these comments, McDonald explained that although he agreed wholeheartedly that teachers should be paid more, this recommendation is solely based on the confines of the budget.

“Of course I would love to do more,” he said. “I have a dream of what I want it to be, but this is the recommendation for the coming year. When you start talking about doing more, you have to consider how much this board is willing to deficit spend.”

Although they disagreed on the certified teacher salary schedule, board members were in consensus on the following salary recommendations for the 2014-15 school year, unanimously voting in favor of salaries for: degreed, non-teaching positions, substitute teachers, other instructional pay employees, coaches, extra-duty pay, food service, maintenance/custodial, clerical/technology/business office, and focus facilitator/paraprofessional/aides.

In other business, the board voted to appoint Susie Yoder, Jeff Rudell and Marie Vallee to serve on a subcommittee to explore standards-based grading. Board members also voted to retain PC computers in the two business classrooms at Harrisonville High School, declare specified items as surplus property, and approve the board resolution approving and enabling the lease of copier equipment for the Harrisonville School District.

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