Ray-Pec school board honors band studentsRay-Pecschool board recognizes band students

Special to the Democrat MissourianMay 30, 2014 

More than a dozen Ray-Pec High School band students were honored at the Raymore-Peculiar School Board meeting May 22 for earning a 1 rating (exemplary) at the recent state band festival.

As Board President Leo Anderson read the names and accomplishments of each student, the long list of honorees brought music to board and audience members’ ears.

Recognized for being part of this elite group of musicians were: Mara Beedle, clarinet solo; Connor Berry, mallet solo; Sawyer Bletscher, tenor sax solo; Taylor Byrnes, alto sax solo; Will Dickerson, tuba solo; Noah Goodwin, trombone solo; Kit Leonard, mallet solo; Rebecca Scott,, trumpet solo; Daichi Tadokoro, mallet solo; Alex Taylor, french horn solo; Mandy Snell, Amber McNeill and Brooke Purvis, flute trio; and Sawyer Bletscher, Braydon Roberts and Taylor Byrnes, sax trio.

"Getting a 1 rating for a solo or small ensemble at state is a really big deal," said Dillon Jarrett, assistant band director. "It takes months of preparation and practice. The commitment it takes really is a tribute to their moral character. We love working with them every day, and we’re going to miss those seniors. They all did a great job."

Two district residents requested permission in advance to speak during the public comment segment of the meeting. Each was given three minutes to address the board.

Tonya Long of Peculiar expressed her objection to a proposed change by MSBA to one of the board policies related to student assessments.

"I am here tonight to make sure my rights as a parent are not being challenged," she said. "I have three kids in the district, and I opt them out of MAP testing. I believe I have the right as a parent to continue to assess tests as they are presented to me so I ask you not to make any changes to board policy."

Marcie Calvin of Raymore spoke out next against the Common Core Standards, urging the board to support Missouri House Bill 1490, which prohibits Common Core state education standards from being adopted or implemented without general assembly approval. "I’ve been to several meetings in Jefferson City trying to eliminate Common Core from our state," Calvin said. "I think if we all take off our school board hats, we will see that Common Core is not in the best interest of our district or our students."

According to Calvin, there are "too many strings attached" to Common Core.

"We just need to take a step back and extricate ourselves from it," she said. "We need to get away from anything that puts us under the thumb of the state and -- believe it or not -- the federal government."

Following public comments, the board heard several informational presentations, starting with a Professional Development Program Review by Assistant Superintendent Kevin Daniel. Colleen Johnston, director of child nutrition services, followed this up with a review of the District Wellness Program, and Chief Financial Officer Kendra Hutsell gave a budget update. Next, board members made their way through a lengthy list of action items -- some of which are highlighted below, including votes to:

Increase lunch prices by five cents for the 2014-15 school year.

Approve a bid from Imperial Construction for $414,000 for secured entrances at Peculiar Elementary, Raymore Elementary, Shull Elementary and the South High School with a 3 percent contingency to address any unforeseen costs.

Approve the total base bid from Tandem Paving Company of $188,830 for site improvements at Timber Creek Elementary and the South High School with a 5 percent contingency.

Approve the South High School weight room renovation bid and contract from Titan Strength and Fitness for $79,914 and up to 5 percent contingency, with district funds to cover the flooring renovation. This project is in partnership with the booster club, which will cover more than 50 percent of the total cost. The motion passed; however, Board Member Barbara Boucher was not in consensus. "I cannot vote for this," she said. "I think there are other projects in our district that should take priority."

Approve the temporary construction and access easement valid through July 1 that would allow the City of Peculiar access to district property for the annual tractor pull, which takes place on adjoining property. This motion passed; however, Boucher voted against it, expressing strong concerns. "I think it’s a negative because alcoholic beverages are sold there," she said. "I absolutely oppose that."

Approve the bid from Best Buy for the purchase of 600 Samsung Google Chromebook computers for a total purchase price of $158,880 from the 2013-14 budget.

Approve the bid from AOS for the purchase of $406,444.20 of infrastructure components to be financed in a four-year lease agreement and using 2014-15 technology budget funds of $143,906.00 for additional equipment and infrastructure.

Approve the revisions to the 2014-15 calendar to include three scheduled make-up days, contingent upon past attendance on Good Friday was 80 percent or above. This motion passed; however, two board members (Johnson and Boucher) expressed concern over slotting Good Friday as a possible makeup day and voted against the motion.

"I have heard some very serious concerns about using a Christian holiday as a makeup day," said Boucher, who proposed using Martin Luther King, Jr. day as a possible makeup instead. "People are saying they will not send their children to school that day. It’s not a viable day to be making up school anyway because people travel on that day. It’s a Christian holiday – it should not be used for makeup days."

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