Increasing student enrolment topic of discussion

School Board looks at possible student realignment for upcoming year

By Hope Lecchi -

School Board looks at possible student realignment for upcoming year

By Hope Lecchi

The direction of the school district was the main topic of discussion at the Sedalia School District 200 board of education meeting held Monday night.

The two primary topics concerned the Comprehensive School Improvement Plan (CSIP) and the increasing student population throughout the district.

“The CSIP Plan needed to have changes made to comply with new state guidelines,” Carla Wheeler, director of curriculum, instruction, and assessment said at the meeting. “DESE made some major recommendations and so we rewrote our plan using the recommended DESE template.

“The changes we made we felt were more relevant to the academic goals we want our students to have,” Wheeler added.

Superintendent of Sedalia 200 Schools, Brad Pollitt, told the board that the 2015-16 CSIP plan represents a total change to the plan but it is one that keeps the relevance and importance of putting the student’s academic and career goals first.

A second major topic of discussion resolved around the ever-growing enrollment throughout the district and the space concerns presented by that at the elementary schools.

“We are starting to see that some of our elementary buildings are close to capacity,” Pollitt said. “Because of that, after many discussions with our principals and the administration I feel we have three possible options to address the concerns.”

Pollitt listed those options as:

•Leave the fourth grade students in their respective schools for another year.

•Move all the fourth grade students to the middle school.

•Move all the fourth grade students to the middle school with the exception of the students who currently attend Heber Hunt.

“The decision to keep the fourth grade at Heber Hunt is based on the fact that they still have the most room to accommodate additional students if their enrollment increases,” Pollitt said. “If we were to move all of the fourth grades with the exception of those at Heber Hunt there would be 710 students at the middle school next year.

“With this plan of moving all but one fourth grade to the middle school it allows us to keep the Co-op (Pettis County Early Childhood Cooperative ) to remain intact,” Pollitt said. “I don’t think any of us wants to see that program suffer any cutbacks because we know the benefits to the services they are providing our students.”

Pollitt told the board that since the new high school was opened six years ago the district is seeing a one to two percent yearly increase at each grade level.

Currently the district is home to 5,067 students.

Pollitt also stressed that the district would do all they could to make sure that the programs offered to the fourth grade students at Heber Hunt would mirror those offered at the middle school.

“I know we have looked at this and studied this a lot,” Pollitt said. “I also know that there probably isn’t any parent who wants to see their fourth grade student moved from the school they are at because these schools become families.

“I also know that what you must decide is how we can best utilize the space we have available to meet the needs of the students,” Pollitt added.

The board heard the December attendance report as well as a special presentation by Smith-Cotton Junior High Principal Jason Curry concerning the 90/90 attendance policy.

Currently the district has 90.95 percent of their students in attendance 90 percent of the time.

“That number is great,” Pollitt said “I am extremely pleased with were we are at and our attendance is much higher than I expected with is a testament to the hard work of the building administrators and their staffs”

Members also heard a report from Chief Financial Officer Harriett Wolfe regarding the lease refunding certificates.

“Investors purchased $8.16 million Lease Refunding Certificates in December,” Wolfe told the board. “The net interest savings to the district is $351,306 which is an increase of $22,182 over what was originally estimated.

Wolfe told the board members there is also a “call” provision for April of 2020 that the board may consider if future interest rates become more favorable.

The Board also accepted donations from the following individuals:

•A donation of a Johannes Kohr upright bass to the Smith-Cotton orchestra department valued at $1,500 from Doug and Tammy Spratley.

•A donation of $2,000 from Tom and Carla White to Washington Elementary for student needs in the building.

•A donation from JC Shartzer to Washington Elementary for $2,000 for student needs within the building.

•A donation from Four Seasons to Washington for $500 as well as a supply of coats and gloves.

•A donation by the Kroeger Family of $1000 in Walmart gift cards to Washington Elementary to be used for student needs.

•A donation of $2,000 and extra value meals by Charlie Marshall. The money and food will be used to support the expenses at the upcoming McDonald’s Boy’s Classic Basketball Tournament.

Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484

Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484

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