California School Board tours buildings

The California R-I School Board checks out the new Pre-Kindergarten classroom in the elementary building before the regular meeting at the high school.

The California R-I School Board checks out the new Pre-Kindergarten classroom in the elementary building before the regular meeting at the high school. Photo by David Wilson.

At the California R-I School Board meeting Wednesday, Aug. 21, the board began with a walk-through of the buildings and heard reports on House Bill 253 concerning possible affects on K-12 schools.

The walk-through was conducted first with the board members checking out the work at all three schools. A new loading dock at the elementary school makes it easier for the custodial personnel to put trash in the large dumpster. New concrete steps make it safer for students to enter and exit the elementary playground. There is a new preschool room. Of course, there has been a lot of fresh paint and floor wax as well as a few storage areas repurposed.

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Before convening for its regular meeting, the California R-I School Board toured the school facilities. Here they are seen in the elementry cafeteria, which has new paint as well as new dining tables put in during the 2012-13 school year.

As the board convened at the high school library media room, one change for the board was going paperless with laptops used for the first time.

Several individuals were present to request the board to take a stand on House Bill 253, also called the "Broad-Based Tax 2 Relief Act of 2013", which the governor vetoed. Also present was their invited guest, Brent Ghan, Chief Communications Officer for the Missouri School Boards' Association (MSBA).

There is an effort underway to override the governor's veto of the bill which would reduce taxes on businesses.

Ghan's monthly MSBA report to the districts was played then Ghan spoke briefly. He said there are many problems with the bill, but focusing on the "impact on education," he said that the state's foundation formula is currently underfunded by $600 million, and if this bill is overridden, there is concern it will be more underfunded.

He said MSBA challenges the premise of the bill that lower taxes will increase economic development. He said schools lead to economic development. He said the politics is close on the bill, and MSBA is concerned about the possibility it could be overridden. "This would mean that the state would not meet education goals for at least 20 years," he said.

Superintendent Dwight Sanders commented that, if the bill goes into affect, it could change bond ratings and possibly the ability of the school to sell the bond issues.

Ghan asked that the board approve a resolution to sustain the veto of the bill.

One board member spoke up, commenting that there are a wide variety of monetary figures being publized by different groups about exactly how this bill would affect the state's income and what effect it might have on schools. He said those quoting the highest numbers, which would supposedly reduce the funds for the California school district by more than $700,000, are calculating the numbers based on the tax relief being retroactive. Others do not see this happening and come up with much lower numbers.

A motion was made to pass the resolution asking that the veto be sustained. After a brief discussion, the motion passed by a vote of four to two.

Elementary Principal Daniel Williams reported enrollment at 613 counting 10 pre-k young people. The open house was a success with 88 percent attendance. High school students worked at the open house.

Middle School Principal Matt Abernathy reported 295 students enrolled. Once records are received for another five, enrollment will be 300. The middle school gym has new digital scoreboards, a new scorekeepers table and a sound system.

The report of High School Principal Mike Hight gave an enrollment figure of 436.

The school will continue to align the curriculum with the Common Core in content area.

Many points made during the Intruder Training workshop are being addressed and a room has been created at the high school to serve as a conference room, as well as a location to be used by law enforcement officers and a professional library for faculty and staff.

The next regular monthly meeting will be Sept. 18, at 6 p.m.

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