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Slater School Board considers bond issue for new building (UPDATED 9:34 a.m.)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

After adjourning into executive session, the Slater School Board reconvened their regular meeting on Thursday, June 18 to discuss the possibility of using the newly available Quality School Construction Bond (QSCB) money to build a permanent building to house students in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten.

The interest free bonds have been made available through federal stimulus money, said Superintendent John McEachern, adding it would mean a $209,000 savings over the life of the bond.

"The interest free bonds would mean no tax increase to taxpayers," he said. "It's just an opportune time to take advantage of this."

Currently those classes are located in portable buildings on the school grounds.

He said the board would decide by the end of June whether or not to put the issue on the ballot. Under the QSCB program a vote would require just a 4/7 approval by voters as opposed to the normal two-thirds approval.

Earlier in the evening the board said farewell to longtime elementary principal Jean Dowell at the regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday, June 18 in the school library.

"We appreciate everything you've done for the school system," said board president Rick Hays.

"It's been a pleasure. It's been fun" said Dowell, who is retiring after 31 years in education, with the last 16 as principal. "It's been good to work with everybody. I appreciate the last 16 years."

Only four board members were present at the meeting, which dealt with several routine items.

In old business, McEachern said summer maintenance projects at the school were "going well."

"We're getting a lot accomplished fairly quickly," he said.

McEachern also told the board that in early May the Missouri Department of Secondary Education (DESE) approved the district's purchase of the OdysseyWare online curriculum program for credit recovery.

"It's something that I think the students who use it will benefit from," he said "It's more in-depth in its curriculum."

He said the system will also serve the community "because there is a GED component on it." It is paid for through the Transitions grant.

"It is going to be very beneficial," said McEachern, adding it will have many uses, including special needs or homebound students.

Later in the meeting they voted to not renew the NovaNet online system, which they had previously used.

Because of the country's current economic situation, the board's bonding company, L.J. Hart recommended that the board rescind a previous motion from Aug. 19, 2008 board meeting regarding repayment of $100,000 bond and approve a new resolution to for "redemption of the same $100,000 of the series 2007 bonds on March 1, 2011 without establishing an escrow account."

Both motions, which will save the district $31,600 in interest expenses, were approved unanimously.

After board discussion, McEachern said the money would be put in a Certificate of Deposit at the State Bank of Slater until March 1, 2011.

Also during the meeting, the board members approved a FFA float trip for June 23-24 at Sand Springs Resort.

Before voting on the original motion board member Steve Taylor asked, "What kind of chaperones are they going to have at this thing?"

"We should have parents and we will get a list of who the chaperones are and make sure everything is accurate," said McEachern.

After more discussion, board member Jodi Fuemmeler amended the motion to state the trip was approved as long as there were chaperones - preferably parents. In voting, Hayes, Fuemmeler and Mike Venable voted for the motion while Taylor voted against it.

It was also reported at the meeting that 198 students were attending summer school, which is slated to end on Friday, June 26 at 1 p.m., after a barbecue and swimming at the Slater Park.

In other business the board approved the bus route for 2009-2010; voted to keep tuition prices the same as last year; set board dates for 2009-2010; continued the contract with Sweet Springs Therapy Center and set a special meeting at noon on June 30 to close the books for the 2008-2009 school year.

After adjourning to executive session the board approved Laura Johnson and Haley Linneman as co-chairs and pep club sponsors for the school.

Contact Marcia Gorrell at marshallag@socket.net

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