Slater school board hears summer school report

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Slater school board officials heard about a successful summer school program during their meeting held Tuesday, June 19, at the school.

"I have heard lots of good comments," noted board President Rick Hays, about the summer school program which ends on Friday.

"The kids enjoyed the way we had it set up," said Jim Audsley, summer school coordinator and the newly hired high school principal.

"Some said it went by quickly," he said, of the three-week program in which 147 kindergarten through eighth grade students and 45 ninth through 12th grade students participated.

Attendance was at 96.63 percent for the elementary students and 107 students had perfect attendance. Those students who missed 2 days or less will be given cash prizes.

After previously using a "canned" summer school program administered by an outside company, this year the district went back to administrating the program itself, Vaillancourt said.

During administrative reports, elementary principal Jean Dowell reported on the Title I surveys recently handed out to participating parents. An overwhelming majority of the parents gave the program credit for improving the children's reading skills.

All the parents agreed that their children had benefitted from the Title I program, Dowell said.

Dowell also reported on the retentions for the previous school year, saying five students were retained in kindergarten, two in third grade, two in fourth grade, two in fifth and two in sixth grade.

Dowell said the number of kindergarten students held back was a "little high," noting that none of those students had previously been in pre-school and several were "extremely young."

"That is one thing with our pre-school program, we really notice a gap between the students who have not had any kind of pre-school and then come in and go to kindergarten," Dowell said. "Then if they are young also, with a May or June birthday, that really throws them far behind and we can't catch up."

Superintendent Paul Vaillancourt reported on summer building projects saying everything was going well.

"They are moving right along," he said.

This summer the school is getting a new geothermal heating and cooling system and a new roof on the Alexander building.

All the masonry buildings are being waterproofed, including tuck pointing and caulking. The projects are funded by a bond issue which passed with an 84 percent approval rating in November 2006, said Vaillancourt.

Vaillancourt suggested asking workers to roof a small area behind the parapet walls at the three entrances of the Alexander building, where moisture tends to accumulate, and some water damage has shown up. The small areas were not included in the regular bid.

"I can't imagine it costing too much. I just thought while they are here, they can do that, too."

The board agreed to the suggestion, as long as the price wasn't "out of line."

He also suggested that the money which will be made from the scrap iron taken out of the building during the heating and cooling project be used to replace the aging carpet in the high school weight room with rubber mats.

"It's a mess. It's just not sanitary," he said.

The board had no objections to the proposal.

Vaillancourt also told the board he had received a bid from the heating and cooling company to replace the old boiler with a new system for $60,000.

The new system would be more than 90 percent efficient as opposed to the existing boiler, which runs at about 60 percent efficiency.

"I suggest you think about it and see if you can get a system that runs 90 to 96, 97 percent efficient for $60,000," he said.

The board agreed with Vaillancourt's suggestion to take the bid under advisement until they see how the old boiler, which has been recently serviced, performs with the new system.

Newly hired superintendent John McEachern was on hand at the meeting, but won't take over his official duties until July 1.

In other business the board

-- Voted to appoint Valda Kilgore as the board's treasurer;

-- Authorized a transfer from the General Fund to the Special Fund to zero out the Special Fund at the end of the month;

-- Changed their transfer policy after consulting with the Missouri School Board Association (MSBA) to require students receive a minimum of 2 1/2 credits (or 5 classes) at the school before they are eligible for a Slater High School diploma. The policy change is to keep students from "school-hopping" in order to receive a diploma, if they find out they were going to be short of credits at a high school requiring more for graduation. The policy does allow the board discretion if the transfer is a "legitimate" transfer;

-- Approved audit expense;

-- Confirmed special meeting date of June 29, at noon, when the board will close out the fiscal year. The meeting will also mark the last meeting for Vaillancourt as superintendent. He has been with the Slater district for 35 years.

The board then adjourned to closed session in order to discuss personnel.

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