Malta Bend school board discusses cost-cutting, corporal punishment
The 2009-2010 school year at Malta Bend School will start on Aug. 24, 2009, the school board decided at its meeting Thursday, Feb. 12. The board chose this option instead of an earlier date to avoid student absences during the Missouri State Fair, which runs Aug. 13-23.
In action items, the board approved three student fundraisers and discussed other fundraising ideas.
There was also discussion about the school's farmland, which had previously been leased out to farmers. The board decided to set aside the land for student use for Supervised Agriculture Education projects. Students will have to make "bids" to use the land.
Another action item the board approved concerned corporal punishment. Principal Roger Feagan said one parent had approached him in favor of using corporal punishment for children at school. The board moved to create a permission letter for parents to sign if they want to permit their children to be spanked at school.
In other business, the board heard from two individuals during public participation time.
First-grade teacher Veronica Bondy, of the teacher salary committee, shared the committee's proposals for cutting costs at the school, as well as a new salary schedule for teachers. Some of the ideas included combining classrooms, eliminating one administrative position and winterizing school windows. The committee asked the board to raise teacher base pay to $25,500; Missouri mandates $25,000 as a minimum salary.
Student Council President Dakota Kiser reported to the board about a Student Council discussion on in-school suspension and bad language at school. Kiser said that STUCO hoped the board would make ISS stricter as more of an incentive to behave in class.
In the principal's report, Feagan said high school attendance in January was slightly up at 91.7 percent and elementary attendance had fallen to 93.2 percent.
Feagan also said he had talked to other schools, such as Sweet Springs and Santa Fe, about block scheduling, after Malta Bend students had expressed a wish for it. But after his discussions with other districts he said, "I just don't think we should try to tackle it," citing the school's small student body and staff as obstacles.
In her report, Superintendent Melissa Vesser reported on electrical, plumbing, heating and stove repairs throughout the school. She said some of the problems occurred after the heavy rain a few days ago.
The board adjourned into executive session to discuss personnel, legal, property and student matters.
The board's budget committee will meet Monday, March 2, at 3 p.m. The board also set a date for a working board meeting to discuss the budget and teacher salaries: March 9 at 6 p.m. The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Malta Bend Board of Education is Thursday, March 12, at 7 p.m.