With the cancellation of the December meeting due to inclement weather, Sedalia School District 200 Board of Education members discussed a number of items during their meeting Monday evening.

Many of the agenda items centered on the progress on the Loftus Early Childhood Education Center which is under construction on the grounds of Smith-Cotton High School. Superintendent Steve Triplett said he is pleased with the work completed to date.

“We are seeing good progress on the Loftus Center, thanks in part to the favorable weather we have had,” Triplett told the Democrat prior to the meeting. “If the weather continues to work in our favor we should see concrete poured sometime this month.”

Triplett noted the project remains on schedule. Administrators continue to meet with the design team and architects to address smaller issues as they arise.

During the meeting, members approved a $10,513 change order from B&P Excavating for additional work related to pipe diameter and structure change. The placement of Geo Fabric under all paved driveways at the facility was included in the change order. Members also voted to approve bids in the amount of $117,816.86 from Food Service Care Sales for food service equipment. The board voted to reject the previously submitted floor bids for the sports floor and for flooring and base materials at the center. The board authorized Septagon to rebid those items.  

Project manager Dennis Paul of Septagon addressed the board on those matters and the overall progress of the Center. He said the project is going as expected. He is hopeful, weathering permitting, crews will begin to dig footage for the facility next week. 

The Loftus Early Childhood Center is expected to be completed for the start of the 2021-22 school year.

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Nancy Scott submitted two calendars for the board’s consideration for the upcoming school year. Both calendars are similar in their scheduling for students and staff members.

“The state legislation regarding the school calendar had no impact on our district since we already wait until the close of the Missouri State Fair to begin classes,” Triplett commented. “Our calendar for 2020-21 is basically the same as past years but each year there are some small differences.”

Teachers and staff were presented the calendars and asked to vote for their choice. Under Draft 1, which received a majority of the votes, students will start Sept. 1. The first semester will end Dec. 23 and students are slated to return to school from break Jan. 7. A guaranteed spring break is scheduled for March 15 through 19. Graduation is May 22. The last day of school for underclassmen is tentatively scheduled for May 26.

Board members are expected to approve a final calendar at the next board meeting.

Members began a discussion of how the board will proceed with insurance coverage for district facilities.

At the close of the calendar year in December, the district was informed Markel, its insurance provider for property and casualty insurance, would no longer provide coverage for any of the school districts it worked with in those areas.

According to Triplett, the district was able to secure casualty and liability coverage through Liberty Insurance beginning Jan. 1. Moperm will provide property insurance throughout the year. Board members asked the administration to seek bids for insurance on district facilities.

In other actions the board:

• Approved payment of bills from Nov. 20 to Dec. 10 in the amount of $1,865,044.49.

• Received the Course Description Guide for Smith-Cotton Junior High School. According to SCJHS Principal Jason Curry, the staff “added core class descriptions — students/parents can have a better understanding of the concepts and topics covered in each course. People outside the district looking to move here can have an idea of what we cover at each grade level.”

• Discussed proposed changes to the Smith-Cotton High School Handbook as presented by SCHS Freshman Counselor Ashley Burris. Administrators at the high school are proposing a number of classes be considered for dual/weighted credit. The course description lists were also updated to reflect classes to be added or removed.  

• Approved the Title 1 Program Review as submitted by Scott.

• Approved 49 candidates from Smith-Cotton High School and 17 candidates from Whittier High School for early graduation. The total number is down slightly from last year. 

• Approved an increase to bring any district employee receiving less than the federal mandated minimum wage of $9.45 per hour to that level. Total cost to the district is $4,543.

• Accepted a $2,400 donation from First United Methodist Church to Whittier High School. The money will be used to purchase T-shirts and hoodies for students and staff.

• Accepted a $500 donation from Donald and Joan Woods of Woods Supermarket for supplies for the Whittier foods class.

• Accepted a $225 donation from Wilson, Toellner and Associates to Washington Elementary to pay outstanding lunch balances.

• Was informed district-wide attendance through Dec. 10 is 91.94%.    

Prior to the start of the meeting, the board recognized the achievements of the Smith-Cotton High School JROTC All-Female Raider team and the recipient of the John T. Belcher Scholarship. 

“We are pleased to recognize our national championship JROTC All Female Raider team,” Tripletted told the Democrat. “These young women proved they are the best of the best and they are positive ambassadors for the JROTC program, their school and the Sedalia community. 

“We also had the opportunity to recognize senior Hunter Sparks as the district-level winner of the John T. Belcher Memorial Scholarship,” Triplett added. “She earned the scholarship through her leadership in the classroom and in her many school-related activities.” 

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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