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Knox Co. School Board Responds to Rising Fuel Prices

 Knox Co. School Board Responds to Rising Fuel Prices

By Crystal Howerton

During the school board meeting on Tuesday evening, June 17, 2008, Knox County R-1 Superintendent D.J. Leverton opened a discussion on current mileage reimbursement and recommended that the Board reimburse mileage at the State of Missouri mileage allowance.

According to Supt. Leverton the current mileage reimbursement offered was 39 cents, however he provided the current State of Missouri and Federal (IRS) mileage allowances of 50.5 cents (Federal) and 47.5 cents (State) and recommended that the district reimburse mileage at the State of Missouri mileage allowance effective July 1, 2008 to be adjusted annually.

Superintendent’s and Administrators’ reports were presented. High School Principal Andy Turgeon announced that fourth graders would be taking the NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) test on January 26, 2009. Transportation Director Steve Ramer discussed progress of the bus fleet inspection and reported that the high school gym was being painted and should be completed the following day. Elementary Principal Marty Strange reported on Summer School, in which 104 students are enrolled. Federal Programs Director/Process Coordinator Nancy Goodwin said that she is pursuing the purchase of additional testing supplies for participation in the gifted education program that were discussed during the May meeting.

Supt. Leverton reported that 53 employees have opted to participate in a Health Savings Account (HSA) that was approved in May. He updated board members concerning projected state funding including transportation. According to him, the district won’t see any additional funding and possibly less funding than in past years.

Ramer requested approval for the final report on eleven bus routes for the past school year. Supt. Leverton added that fuel prices for the district have jumped from $2.45 at the beginning of last school year to $4.07. The bus routes covered over 164,000 miles and used 25,649 gallons of fuel. Ramer is not anticipating buying any buses for the 2008-09 school year, but says the District might need to purchase one the following year.
Goodwin presented the Title 1/Preschool report. She said that it is a benefit to the program that former Kindergarten teacher Lisa Spilker would be moving down to the preschool level because she has first-hand knowledge of what is needed for kindergarten. She reported that having a five-day program has been a benefit to students. However, since numbers are decreasing, it is planned to incorporate 3-year-olds back into the program.

Prin. Turgeon presented curriculum for K-12 Communication Arts and 9-12 Foreign Language for the Board’s approval. He said the goal was to make the curriculum a working document and he expects to see teacher’s using it daily.
Outgoing Professional Development Committee (PDC) chair Joyce Delaney presented the report as well as the end-of-year report, accompanied by Incoming PDC Chair Tracy Hamlin. Delaney said that PDC came within $96.00 of spending the $14, 903.34 budget this year. They expect a state funding reduction this year.

Librarian Sherry Miller presented the Library Media Center report and stated that the program has had the opportunity to purchase sample books from clubs at a significantly reduced cost. She informed board members that the Children’s Literature Festival at TSU in Kirksville is scheduled to return after several years of not having it.
In presentation of the Transportation report, Ramer stated that the District has one of the best bus garages in the area. He is looking forward to seeking opportunities for GPS systems and digital cameras to be installed in the buses. He said that currently substitute bus drivers have to rely on an older student to direct them along the bus route. With the installation of a GPS system, bus routes could be programmed for each bus, reducing the need to rely on students for direction and stops. In addition, Ramer said that the digital recording devices have proven to record better quality on school buses than older cameras. He reported that several school districts are considering or have gone to four 10-hour days to reduced fuel costs.

All of the above reports were approved as presented, in addition to the CSIP End of the Year Report and Proposed 2008-09 CSIP Plan presented by CSIP Coordinator Marilyn Waite.

Principals Marty Strange and Andy Turgeon presented Building Level Improvement plans and they were approved as well.

School Board members also: made numerous policy revisions; voted to table deletion of Policies 4322 and 4323 – Personnel Services – Absences, Leave and Vacation; and approved Elementary and Middle/High School Student handbooks, Activities handbook and Coaches/Sponsors handbook. Prin. Turgeon said rules regarding cell phones in school have been changed to include a Saturday detention as discipline for a first offense. In the past, students were given a warning.