The Rock Port R-II Board of Education held a calendar hearing and regular board meeting March 14, 2019. President Jeremy Davis called the meeting to order. Other members present were Afton Schomburg, Ken Miller, Rich Dewhirst, Harold Lawrence, Dan Lucas, and Clay Vogler. Also present were Elementary Principal Steve Waigand, High School Principal Donnie Parsons, Superintendent Ethan Sickels, Board Secretary Debbie Young, and Monica Bailey.

The agenda was adopted, and Mr. Sickels presented the proposed calendar for the 2019-2020 school year with the starting date for students of August 20, 2019. The calendar hearing was being held to comply with legislative action that requires a public hearing if a district desires to establish a starting date for school more than 10 days before the first Monday in September. There was no public comment, and the proposed 2019-2020 school calendar was approved as presented.

The minutes for the regular meeting of February 11, 2019, were approved with one correction. Mr. Sickels reviewed the financial information for the month ending February 2019, and the transfer of funds, the February final check register, the March check register to date, and the activity account checks were approved. Mr. Sickels read a thank you note from the family of Willie and Lynette Holmes. During scheduled audience, Monica Bailey with Atchison County Development Corporation presented information regarding the renewal of the ¼-cent economic development sales tax on the ballot for the April 2 election.

Mr. Waigand reported February attendance for the elementary was 97.15% (192 students). Fifth grade received the attendance championship award with 97.97%. The character word for March is Cooperation. Read Across America Week was celebrated March 4-8. In honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday several different activities were planned with themed dress-up days. A special thank you to the committee members: Mrs. Farley, Mrs. Hughes, Mrs. Bredensteiner, Mrs. Waigand, Mrs. Hastert, and Mrs. Spiegel. Delta Dental was at the school March 8 to speak to students in grades K-3. Summative evaluations and meetings with teachers took place the weeks of February 18 – March 1. Mr. Waigand said, “I enjoy these opportunities to visit with them as we reflect on talents they bring to our school community, areas they would like to improve, and where they would like to see our building in the coming years.” Preschool registration for 2019-2020 was held February 27. Currently they are at 19 full-day students, and nine half-day students. The MAP Incentive Committee is starting to meet and make plans for the upcoming MAP assessments. A special thanks to Mrs. Ellis for her work on the testing schedules. There are some practicum students from Peru State College in the building this month logging observation hours. The first “Frozen Friday” event was a success on February 22. Students had the opportunity to bring in a dollar for a sweet treat from the cafeteria. Special thanks to Tyne for setting this up. A special thank you to Mr. Hastert and the FFA members for hosting the petting zoo on February 20. Parent-Teacher Conferences were held on February 14 at the midway point of third quarter. There were 73 out of 77 scheduled conferences (95%). Several upcoming events were noted as well as reports on the staff members attending professional development.

Mr. Parsons reviewed several upcoming dates and activities. February attendance for the junior high and high school was 96.29%, and enrollment for grades 7 – 12 is 152. Fourth quarter is here and will be a long and busy one, especially as standardized testing approaches. Teachers are busting it trying to stay on pace with the crazy weather. Their tireless work is commendable. It’s disappointing and frustrating to all that test standard indicators are not available from the state yet, as those are the single most useful data piece teachers have to improve instruction. The Rock Port staff, however, is improvising and working to have students ready. Rock Port finished second in the 275 Silver Cup Standings, and has passed the cup on to first place finisher, Mound City. Winter sports post-season honors have been awarded to: Kelcie Gaines – 1st Team All-Conference and 2nd Team All-District in Girls’ Basketball; Holden Farmer – 2nd Team All-Conference in Boys’ Basketball; Ethan Wood – 6th Place All-State in Wrestling. The 2019 D.A.R.E. role models have been selected as follows: Riley Vogler, Josie Watkins, Ayden Wilroy, and C.J. Minino. Staff reports were received from: Mrs. Herron, Mrs. Gaines, Mrs. Burke, and Mrs. Miller.

Mr. Sickels stated that Mr. Parsons would be presenting the monthly evaluation report on the district’s Student Athletics/Activities program. The current district practice regarding employment of coaches was reviewed and compared to the current MSHSAA regulations. Mr. Sickels stated, unless the board members have objections, he plans to recommend changes to the current board policy next month. He reviewed the current negative balances in the school food service program. Mr. Sickels discussed the latest information he has from Tarkio College regarding the status of their accreditation and the direction they are headed with offerings of vocational courses and programs. He also updated the board on the latest information regarding pending legislation on wind farm tax assessments. Mr. Sickels gave the monthly TABS meeting report.

The board then proceeded to address several items of new business. The amendments to the 2018-19 school calendar for inclement weather make-up days, amendments to the 2018-19 budget, and the preliminary 2019-20 budget were approved as presented. Consideration was given to the 2019-20 district salary schedules, work calendar, and board-paid group medical benefit with action taken to approve the 2019-20 salary schedules and work calendar as presented and to increase the board-paid group medical contribution by $12 per month. The group medical insurance plans offered for the plan year beginning July 1, 2019, were reviewed and approved. Action taken to adopt the following policies and regulations: P0320, P1210, P2640, R3165, P3425, and R6190.

The administrators recommended the employment of all non-tenured and part-time teachers for the 2019-2020 school year. It was noted that since tenured teachers are under a continuing contract board action to offer employment is not necessary. Action was taken to approve employment contracts for the 2019-2020 school year be extended to the following non-tenured teachers: Ciara Armstrong, Jacob Erdman, Shelby Garst, Crystal Goins, Kaitlea Hastert, Alec Hendrickson, Sheena Roup, Molly Spiegel, Rachel Stanton, and Tabitha Waigand; and to the following part-time retirees: Wayne Moore, Sue Owen, and Jim Skillen. Letters of resignation from Jan Burke and Ross Hastert were approved.

Action was taken to approve Software Unlimited as the school accounting software vendor effective January 2020, to approve the purchase of pole vault and high jump equipment from Just Vaults, and to approve the 2019-20 OPAA food service management agreement. Following discussion of future business items for the regular April meeting, the meeting was adjourned.