Today's Paper News Sports Obits Events Classifieds Contact us

FFA champions recognized at school board meeting

California R-I also approved new bus contract by Garrett Fuller | May 24, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.
Democrat photo/Garrett Fuller — Members of California FFA's Conduct of Chapter Meetings team pose for a picture May 16 as they are recognized for their state championship during the California R-I Board of Education meeting in California High School's media center.

Eight state champion students received recognition last week.

These aren't typical sports champions.

The California FFA students are the best in Missouri at Conduct of Chapter Meetings, a FFA leadership program introducing its members to parliamentary procedure.

The team was recognized May 16 at the California R-I Board of Education meeting, where Superintendent Daniel Williams read a proclamation commemorating their achievement. Following the recognition, the board quickly moved through approving a new bus contract and staff resignations to complete the open session meeting in 30 minutes.

In the proclamation, Williams discussed how FFA has affected the lives of its participants before celebrating the Conduct of Chapter Meetings team's championship. The students will later represent Missouri Oct. 30-Nov. 4 at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis. Members of the team include: Preston McMillian, president, Haden Oliver, vice president, Peyton Dunham, secretary, Lucas Blecke-Ferreira, treasurer, Tayte Higgins, reporter, Issac Haile, sentinel, Cody Schneider, advisor, and alternates Addison Arnold and Kayson White.

"These guys are pretty excited to go," said Gary Reichel, California High School agriculture teacher and FFA sponsor. "It's a big deal to go out to nationals when you're representing Missouri now ... . Looking forward to representing California, Missouri, here in the first week in November."

In new business, Williams said the district would need to sign a new bus contract after its transportation provider, Apple Bus, was purchased last year. According to a news release, First Student, a Cincinnati-based transportation provider, purchased the Cleveland, Missouri-based firm in February 2022.

Williams said the district would need to have a new contract with First Student, since the existing contract is with Apple Bus. The annual contract presented at the meeting, he added, would feature an automatic renewal for up to three years while locking in a 4 percent rate increase. With the automatic renewal, the district would be able to exit the agreement to find a new transportation provider if it notifies First Student of its decision by December.

"The reason (the 4 percent rate increase) is important, some of our neighboring districts that also use First Student, such as Jefferson City, saw a 19-percent increase this year to next year," Williams said. "Cost of business is not going down in most sectors right now, so I would recommend approving the contract as-is because it does give us the flexibility of moving away from that as long as we make that decision by December 31st of that fiscal year."

All members present voted to approve the contract except Tony Haile and David Cook, who abstained.

The board also approved resignations for: John Heimann, high school PE teacher, assistant high school football coach and head high school wrestling coach; Amy Howard, second-grade teacher; Sarah Wickham, elementary school administrative assistant; and Denise Banderman, middle school track coach. Banderman will continue teaching in the district.

In administrative reports, California High School Principal Jeff West said seniors pranked staff members in their final week by beating them to school and taking their parking spots.

"I thought it was pretty classy," he said. "Kids had a good time, got here early, got a picture of them playing cornhole and cooking breakfast. We got everything moved and got back to class on time, so well played."

West said seniors he spoke with said they arrived as early as 5:30 a.m. to pull the prank.

Assistant Superintendent Matt Abernathy previewed maintenance projects for the summer, saying the school stays busy with maintenance and cleaning after teachers and students leave for break.

"A lot of people talk about how things are wrapping up and they're getting ready for summer, and it is the exact opposite for me and our guys," he said. "We have a whole lot of stuff that is getting ready to start this summer .... There are all kinds of companies that will be in and among the buildings, doing work throughout the summer months."

Along with cleaning and other typical maintenance, Abernathy said the district will be installing its new SafeDefend system; replacing a heating, ventilation and air conditioning system in the elementary school; and building a new secure-entry vestibule for the elementary school this summer.

The California R-I Board of Education will meet next at 6 p.m. June 21 in the California High School media center.

Print Headline: FFA champions recognized at school board meeting


Sponsor Content