Advance school board members sworn in, officers elected

Friday, April 17, 2015 Incumbent school board member Charlie Mayo is sworn in by board secretary Ronnie Martin at the April 13, 2015 meeting.

Advance R-IV School Board members met on Monday, April 13, 2015, following an April 7 election which approved the newly-proposed FEMA Safe Room, returned Charlie Mayo to the board, and added new board member Jim Below.

Board president David Kennedy expressed the board's thanks for the community's passing of the safe room bond issue.

"On behalf of the Board of Education, I would like to Thank the Keep Advance Safe Committee for their hard work and dedication in getting Proposition Keep Advance Safe passed!" said Kennedy. "It was awesome to see everyone come together to benefit our students, our district and our community! I am so proud to be part of this district and community!" Jim Below takes the oath of office for his first term on the Advance R-IV School Board on April 13, 2015.

Official results were as follows: Jim Below, 537; Charles Mayo, 433; Odetta Holland, 308.

On Proposition "Keep Advance Safe," the vote was 434 yes votes--61.64 percent; 270 no votes--38.36 percent.

Retiring board member Linda Eggimann was honored for her contribution to the district.

"I have learned a lot as a member of the board," Eggimann said. "I now know the two sides of education--as a teacher and as a board member. It was very informative, and I must say that every time I came to a meeting, I saw progress."

In officer elections, David Kennedy was re-elected as president, Charlie Mayo was elected vice-president, Ronnie Martin was re-elected as secretary, and Nanie Hawkins was elected treasurer.

In his report, Superintendent Stan Seiler reported that attendance was up from last year: 95.36 percent in March and 95.91 for the year. Enrollment is up from 416 to 420.

"The yearly attendance is academically and financially awesome!" Seiler stated.

A look at the financial status of the district revealed that fund balances remain strong, even after the payment for the new VoAg building and the pre-school.

Board member Mayo asked about the percentage of the budget that was in fund reserves, and he was told that it was 41-42 percent. The average in our area was reported at 19 percent, and the average for the state is 34 percent. The superintendent explained that if a school's balance falls to 5 percent, the State takes control of the school. Five years ago, the Advance district had a balance of 26 percent.

"The board continues to be fiscally conservative," Seiler said.

However, school budgets are highly dependent on the State, and board members learned the the Missouri State House of Representatives sent the budget to the Senate 6 weeks ago, and they have not acted on it.

If the Missouri Senate changes the Education Foundation formula, the Advance District may not have the funds for the summer school program.

Superintendent Seiler will be going to Jefferson City in a couple of weeks, so he may be able to find out what's going on.

"The budget needs to be finalized and signed by the governor," Seiler emphasized.

Ronnie Martin asked where the State was on funding the A+ program.

Mr. Seiler replied that they had tried to cut the funding, but their constituents were not pleased, so funding has been granted for the program in which high school students can obtain two-year scholarships.

High School Principal Shana Kight updated the board on the A+ Program. She is having meetings with the students to explain the rules. One of the problems is that some students are choosing not to stay after school and do the after-school tutoring required by the A+ students. As a result, they get to their senior year and do not have their 50-hour requirement.

Charlie Mayo pointed out the difficulty for athletes to get all the A+ tutoring hours, but Mrs. Kight explained that there was enough time, and she used a previous athlete as an example. She also explained the great need for after-school tutors.

"The room is full!" Kight said.

Kight also distributed her monthly newsletter and went over it with the board, pointing out student achievements in academics, sports, and music. Six choral music students are going to compete at State in May.

"Mrs. Page is a program builder," agreed the superintendent.

In the update on the new Ag building, it was reported that local contractors are looking at the plumbing and electrical in the building. Plans remain steady to have the building completed by the end of the school year.

Elementary Principal James Hamlin reported on various successful programs--Scholastic Meet, music and Grandparents' Day.

The MAP test began Monday. This year the test must be taken on computers, instead of paper. Trial runs had been done to prepare the students. The staff from Blue Chalk Software was on hand to help.

Kindergarten graduation is Thursday May 21 at 2 p.m.

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