Following the groundbreaking ceremony for the Loftus Early Childhood Center Saturday morning on the grounds of Smith-Cotton High School, the Sedalia School District 200 Board of Education met Monday night to approve bids for groundwork for the center.

The district received bids from four companies. The low bid was from KAT Excavation of Bates City in the amount of $645,209. Board members voted to accept a local bid from B&P Excavating for $648,614. The bid is $3,405 more than that of KAT Excavation. Members voted to use B&P based on the quality of previous work from the firm and the desire to keep the contract local. B&P’s bid is approximately 0.5% more than that of KAT Excavation. According to Superintendent Steve Triplett, work is expected to begin within the next two to three weeks. 

In its continuing effort to provide a safe and secure environment for students, staff and patrons, the board voted to approve a contract with Strategos International Inc. in the amount of $22,000 for a full-scale safety and security assessment on all district facilities.

According to information from Assistant Superintendent Todd Fraley, the assessment will include external and internal security of property and persons, policy and procedural developments and safety training for staff and community partners.

Board members also voted to approve the addition of an eSports Club. The club will not be competitive until the 2020-21 school year, according to information provided by Assistant Superintendent Dr. Nancy Scott who proposed the club during the September board meeting.

The anticipated cost to the district will be $4,440. This includes a sponsor and supplies for the club. The cost of the game license will be covered by the high school budget.

The board has also been asked to consider withdrawing from the West Central Special Education Cooperation.

Several years ago, Scott and then-Superintendent Dr. Sarah Spence wrote a grant to start a cooperative with the other Pettis County schools in order to hire full-time therapists for special education students.

According to information provided in the meeting packet, there are 11 schools that participate in the partnership. As the largest district, Sedalia 200 serves as the fiscal agent for the partnership.

“We have not really used anything from the cooperative, but have been paying the fee to belong,” Scott explained in the packet. “The yearly fee is based on the child count in the area of special education. For Sedalia 200 the yearly fee is between $8,500 and $12,750 depending on our count.”

Leaving the cooperative will not affect the services provided to special education students, according to Assistant Superintendent Chris Pyle. 

Pyle explained to the board Sedalia 200 has been in contact with many of the other schools involved. Pyle indicated another district will take on the responsibility of serving as the fiscal agent. The board is expected to vote on the matter during the Oct. 28 meeting.

In other actions the board:

• Heard information concerning the approval by State Fair Community College to offer free dual-credit tuition for students who qualify for free and reduced lunch. The program does not cover the cost of textbooks or additional fees. SFCC will offer dual-credit scholarships as they have done in the past to cover the cost of books and fees.

• Heard a report by Devon Gilmore regarding the 2018-19 AIMSWeb Data Report. Gilmore serves as the Director of Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment for the District.

Gilmore discussed a number of strengths and successes of district students including grade-level collaboration, curriculum with scope and sequence, fluency instruction for math and English language Arts and the additional Tier 2 Interventions for math and ELA. 

Gilmore noted the administration is going to establish a summer school committee to determine what skills and standards should be taught in summer school to help support year-long curriculum. 

“We will evaluate the program and focus on removing barriers that stand in the way of students reaching further success,” Triplett told the Democrat following the meeting. “We are moving in the right direction.” 

• Heard that district-wide enrollment has increased by 85 for the school year. During the September 2018 enrollment count, Sedalia 200 had 5,059 students enrolled. As of the September 2019 count, 5,144 students are enrolled. An additional 37 students are under evaluation at the Pettis County Early Childhood Co-op who are not included in district totals.

• Heard that district-wide attendance is at 91.44%.

• Accepted a donation from Wood & Huston Bank to the Smith-Cotton Activities program. Wood & Huston donated 360 cases of bottled water and popcorn bags to be used by concession stands at home events. The district plans to sell the water for $1 per bottle. The donation has an anticipated value of $8,000.

Education Reporter

Hope Lecchi is the education reporter for the Democrat, covering all things education in Sedalia and Pettis County, as well as providing general assignment and feature coverage. She can be reached at 660-530-0144.

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