April 1, 2004
Outstanding MSIP Review Clouded By Continuing State Funding Concerns
The SCR-I district received 19 strengths and only three weaknesses on the MSIP Cycle 3 review but the good news was overshadowed by the darkening forecast for state funding of education.
The Scotland County R-I Board of Education meeting March 22 featured good news and bad news as the district got positive results on a recent review by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) but also learned more about the continuing funding crisis for education in Missouri.
The highlight of the event for the district’s residents was the release of the Missouri School Improvement Program (MSIP) final report from Cycle Three.
“I informed the Board that the district has received our final MSIP report and to say that the results are spectacular would be an understatement,” stated Superintendent LeRoy Huff. “The District received an unprecedented number of strengths, 19, and only three concerns.”
“To our entire staff, I offer my congratulations,” Huff stated. “No one with whom I have visited can document this number of strengths being sited during a Cycle 3 MSIP.”
In Cycle 2 the district received nine strengths and three concerns
“This is a remarkable improvement for the district to make in only five years,” Huff told the board. “I hope you are excited about these spectacular results.”
Following the MSIP report, Huff passed along the bad news regarding the state’s funding issues.
An unprecedented number of schools, 113, in Missouri are asking the local taxpayers permission to increase their levies. These school districts represent more than 20% of the schools in Missouri.
“These increases are being requested as a result of limited educational resources being supplied by the General Assembly and the Governor for public education,” Huff said.
Missouri’s Commissioner of Education, Dr. Kent King, stated in a letter to superintendents “I have never seen anything like the current situation in my nearly 40-year career in Missouri education”.
While SCR-I is not seeking a levy increase, the large number of such proposals across the state likely will result in the loss of additional state funding for the local district.
“Should many of these levies pass, an already depressed formula proration factor could be further depressed by an additional two percent,” Huff noted.
The proration factor is the percent of monies schools are scheduled to receive in any given year. Schools should receive 100 percent of all monies scheduled from the state.
Huff indicated that current estimates reveal this percent next year could be as low as 81 percent of what is scheduled. Therefore, the shortfall may be extremely significant for all Missouri children.
The superintendent highlighted the impact of these levies by showing the board a composite effect on the formula if only the 10 largest schools passed their levy increases.
Collectively these 10 districts would draw an additional $41,668,000-plus from the formula over what they are currently receiving. The draw on the part of these ten districts equates to an additional 2.11% of the total formula monies being dispersed to these districts.
Since this was an informational item only, no action was required by the Board.
The SCR-I Board recently attended the annual meeting of the Missouri Association of Rural Education conference at the Lake of the Ozarks. The event pinpoints the issues that face public schools and allows board members to share information regarding the situations.
Highlights of the meeting included a general session at which Tom Mickes, attorney for M.A.R.E., outlined for schools the recent legislation with which schools are required to comply and a legislative update from Randall Relford, a former member of the General Assembly. Relford is now currently employed by M.A.R.E. as a consultant for education to the General Assembly.
The Board is required by statute to reorganize within 14 days following an election. The Board voted 6-0 to have the reorganization meeting on April 8th at 6:30 p.m. Secondly the Board voted unanimously to reschedule the April meeting from the 29th to the 19th at 6:30 p.m. A conflict of scheduling necessitated this change in schedule.
The Board received three letters for approval of overnight trip requests.
The first letter was from FFA advisor Bill Cottrell requesting permission to stay overnight for the State FFA Convention to be held in Columbia April 15-16.
The second request was also from Cottrell requesting an overnight trip to Columbia for the Envirothon contest on May 6th.
Lastly, the Board received a letter from FBLA Advisor Carol McCabe asking permission for her group to attend the state FBLA convention in Columbia and stay overnight on April 19th.
The Board voted 6-0 to grant permission for all three overnight trip requests.
High School science instructor Roxanne Hoover submitted a letter of resignation for the board’s consideration at the March 22 meeting. Hoover’s letter indicated that her husband has accepted a new assignment with the Missouri Department of Conservation and that the couple will be moving to Albany, where the new job is located.
The Board of Education voted 6-0 to accept Roxanne’s resignation with regret and wished her and her family the best of luck.
In Executive Session the Board received the teacher evaluations from principals Rob Moore and Dave Shalley. Following receipt of the principals’ recommendations, the Board voted to accept certified staff evaluations as presented by a 6-0 vote.