The Sedalia School District 200 Board of Education seated a new board member, heard a report on Smith-Cotton Junior High School and reviewed a report on the possibility of building a sports complex at Smith-Cotton High School during a work and special public session on Monday night at the junior high.
Jeff Redford was sworn into office to replace John Meehan, who vacated his seat last month after being elected Pettis County presiding commissioner.
Superintendent Harriet Wolfe said the board was required by policy to appoint someone to fill Meehan’s seat. The district advertised the open position and asked for interested parties to submit a letter of interest to be appointed. Wolfe said Redford was the only person to submit a letter by the deadline.
Redford will sit on the board until the April municipal election and then will be required to seek election to the seat for a three-year term.
Redford spent six years on the school board before being defeated by David Wolf last April.
Board members unanimously elected for Redford to join the board.
“He is a qualified and an experienced board member,” Board President Jeffrey Sharp said.
Board members also heard a first semester data report on Smith-Cotton Junior High School from Principal Steve Triplett.
Using a PowerPoint presentation, Triplett informed board members about attendance, discipline and grades. Triplett said the school fell short of its 95 percent attendance rate during the first semester. He cited illnesses and discipline as reasons behind the decline. “We are at about a 94 percent attendance rate for all three grades,” he said.
Triplett said 79 students achieved perfect attendance during the semester.
Triplett also reported office referrals are up from last year because of the school’s zero tolerance policy on bullying.
The school’s hard stance against bullying, harassment or threats of physical violence has led to a marked increase in the number of students being given school suspension.
“We are taking a hard stand,” Triplett said. “We hope the zero tolerance policy pays off and we see those numbers go down in the second semester.”
Rob Davis, Smith-Cotton athletic director, led a presentation on findings from the members of the facilities improvement committee. Davis said the 15-person committee was comprised of coaches, administrators and school supporters. The committee was formed to establish a plan to construct a sports complex at Smith-Cotton High School.
Davis said committee members traveled to various places throughout Missouri that had built similar stadiums.
Dennis Paul, Septagon Construction manager and committee member, said the proposed sports complex would include an all-weather turf football field; seeded, grass practice field; all-weather synthetic track; concession stand; locker rooms; and storage area. Paul said the plans drawn up for the committee include seating for approximately 3,000 people.
The committee estimated the complex would cost between $4 and $6 million to build. Davis said the athletic booster club has set aside $250,000 for the project.
Martin White, Smith-Cotton High School principal and committee member, said the benefit of constructing the stadium would be that it would be a “multipurpose field” that could be used for many high school sports and community events such as Relay for Life.
Mark Johnson, Smith-Cotton head football coach and committee member, said the committee was only looking for the board’s approval to delve deeper into constructing a sports complex. “We’re just asking for support, not money,” he said. “This would be privately funded.”
Both Sharp and David Wolf, board member, expressed concern over maintenance costs associated with the proposed stadium. “With the district cutting programs and teachers, we need to be cautious,” Wolf said.
Davis answered that concern by saying committee members found maintenance costs at Jennie Jaynes Stadium, where football games now are held, to be about $20,000 annually, not including labor. Davis said that number would be significantly less with turf.
No decision was made regarding the sports complex by board members.