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R-III pursues outdoor grant, eyes threats to budget

Posted on Monday, April 21, 2014 at 9:20 am

The Lincoln County R-III School District will pursue a grant which would help fund and increase recreational opportunities for both students and the public at the current Troy Middle School campus. The ‘go-ahead’ was granted by the newly reorganized Board of Education.

Early in the meeting, the existing board was presented and accepted the official election returns from the April 8 election. Re-elected to the board were Susan Eales and Greg Strawhun with Dale McDonald elected to his first term. McDonald and Eales were sworn in by Dr. Ron Brandly, recording secretary. Following this, Mark Penny acknowledged outgoing board member director Dan Reed for his work on the board. “Dan Reed has selflessly served the students in the R-III School District as an acting member of the Board of Education since April 2011, and we greatly appreciate his service to the district students, staff, and patrons,” said the superintendent.

An election for board offices was conducted with the following elected: Ron Mills, president; Mary Sue Thompson, vice-president; Strawhun, secretary and Eales, treasurer. The board also accepted the successful results of the ‘no-tax’ bond issued approved by voters for construction of a second middle school on property off Adelhardt Road

Charley Branham presented information concerning the outdoor grant for the middle school. If approved it would help finance a basketball/tennis court and an outdoor nature trail for walking and cycling. It will be sent to the Department of Natural Resources’ grants management section for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Assisting with the process are Dale Black, Robb Krieg, Kevin Bishop, Bill Benhardt and Jeff Boyd. The grant amount is $75,000.

Amy Salvo, principal at New Horizons High School, presented up-to-date information on the continued accomplishments of the students and staff at the center. They were the recipient of a Promising Practice Award for Character education. Some of the other activities included a “4C Your Future” (job interview skill building), a senior day were students received free haircut, styling, free senior pictures and recording a video to be shown at graduation next month. Salvo shared information on an unique aspect of New Horizons called the ‘Payback Time.” This is where the students, to make up for time lost, are taught to make up class work so they will not fall behind. Salvo said attendance continues to improve. Comparing students’ attendance for the first quarter at their previous school and this year at New Horizons, their attendance improved from 73 percent to 91.4 percent. Test scores in verbal, math, science and technology all showed improvement. The Missouri Option Program targets students with the capabilities to complete high school graduation requirements but lack credits needed to graduate with their class and are at-risk of leaving school without a diploma. As of April 1, twenty-three (23) drops (students) have been recovered.

Salvo said in addition to the staff and administration, much of the success could be attributed to the great community support the school receives.

Following her remarks, Nick Marler, a student, spoke of the difference New Horizons has made in his life.

“I wasn’t having success at Troy Buchanan and was thinking of dropping out before I was informed about New Horizons,” he said. “New Horizons has provided me with new insight and goals. I thank you (board) for opening such a school and to the staff members who have made a big difference.”

Marler is expected to attend Pike/Lincoln Tech Center as he continues down his educational pursuits. New Horizons will have 60 graduates, their largest to date.

Jeremy Bertels, Lori Horner and Sharon Schlup presented an update on the technology integration efforts in the lower elementary grades. Assisting was Luke Porter. Students have learned many new technology skills this year and the three presented a power point presentation of the students’ activities.

Kay Richardson presented budget updates and information about two recent developments which could have long-range effects on the budget. One included counties (including Lincoln) appealing the current depreciation schedule submitted by AmerenMissouri. County assessors are wanting more clarity on the new rules from the Missouri State Tax Commission for depreciating an utility’s assets and specific values. Ameren has already filed appeals, challenging the assessed valuations in several counties. The counties will split the costs for this possible court battles. Superintendent Penny said that Lincoln County Assessor Kevin Bishop has met with all county school superintendents, keeping them aware of the situation.