Officials hear plans for outdoor graduation ceremony

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

SIKESTON -- Plans are being finalized for Sikeston High School's outdoor graduation ceremony next week.

High School Principal Tim Regenold briefed the Sikeston R-6 Board of Education on graduation procedures Tuesday during its monthly meeting. The class of 2015 will graduate during a 7 p.m. ceremony May 21 on the football field at Public School Stadium.

"Plans have been made. We've talked with all the inside and outside people involved, and the Department of Public Safety has been contacted," Regenold said.

In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony is moved indoors at the Sikeston Field House.

"If there's more than a 50 percent chance of rain in the forecast made 48 hours before graduation, we will plan on having the ceremony inside," Regenold said. "Having an indoor or outdoor ceremony is not something we can change at the last minute."

Brent Keefer, assistant superintendent of secondary/support services, reported on the closing of the 2014-2015 school year. He said May 22 is the last day of school for all students with early dismissal at 11:20 a.m. for Fifth and Sixth Grade Center and the high school; 11:40 a.m. at junior high; noon at all elementary schools; and 12:15 p.m. at the Kindergarten and Early Childhood Education Center.

"On June 15, we'll start prepping for next school year with an administrative meeting," Keefer said.

Also, in June and July, the district will host Network for Educator Effectiveness training sessions.

Lori Boardman, director of business services for R-6, provided an overview of the budget for the 2015-2016 school year.

"We're at the part now where we're working on revenues. We have all the information were going to get from DESE, at this point, on numbers to use. We should be getting at least in the next week or so some of our first rounds of allocation numbers on federal programs," Boardman said.

Most all information is in for expenditures, Boardman said.

"We have some big purchases and we have the money earmarked but no amount yet. ... We're in the process of reviewing all the codes," Boardman said.

The budget meeting is set for June 23. The budget for the new fiscal year must be approved by June 30.

At the recommendation of the district's insurance committee, the Board also approved the renewal of health insurance for June 2015 through May 2016.

"The insurance committee met April 28 with Beth Johnson from Mitchell Insurance to look at the renewal we received from Health Scope Services," Boardman said. "We're going to ask the Board to do the same thing this year as last year."

When the actuaries looked at the individual lives on the district's plan and some things that are pending with their health, the actuaries estimated the maximum claims to be $4.3 million, Boardman said.

"We have some information locally and feel we we'll be safe covering $3.5 million in claims," Boardman said. "If we do the $3.5 million in claims for coverage, then we can keep the renewal at less than 1 percent."

The backside of it is if the district has a bad year of insurance claims and exceeds the $3.5 million, it will hit the self-funded insurance account, and Boardman would have to come back to board for a budget adjustment, she said.

"You either pay up-front now and build an insurance account that's already very healthy and not use it, or you just wait and see what happens in a year's time, and that's what we did this year," Boardman said.

The district will have a base renewal on $3.5 million in claims holding less than 1 percent, she said.

"We'll still be using Health Scope, LDI Pharmaceuticals, and Health Link will still be the network," Boardman said.

Board Vice President Jim Gleason asked what insurance claims totaled this year. Boardman said they would be right at $3.5 million.

"I think this is a feasible option and a sound option for both insurance account and board of education," Boardman said.

Also on Tuesday, the Board approved a 10-cent increase in student meal prices, a 25-cent increase for adult breakfast prices and a 10-cent increase in adult lunch prices for the 2015-2016 school year. A la carte items will also increase by a dime. Reduced meals set at the federal level will remain the same.

School districts that participate in the National School Lunch and Breakfast Program are required by law to do an annual review of their programs.

"We've always done an annual review, but now there's a formula provided by the federal government to go by," Boardman said, adding the recommended rates are based on the calculations this year.

As it approves the budget for next school year, the Board will also need to consider the provisional breakfast program at the Kindergarten Center, where all kids regardless of free and reduced status eat free in the classroom.

Last year, the district lost $15,000 but determined it was well worth every penny, Boardman said. This year there is a $10,000 loss with the program.

"The pros outweigh the cons," Boardman said.

She also noted after looking into the community eligibility provision where an entire district would be able to eat free regardless of their status, it wouldn't be worth it as the district would lose about $30,000 a month.

Board member Heather Drury asked how much the district gets annually from the national School Lunch and Breakfast Program.

"Annually, we usually get a little over $1 million," Boardman said.

Drury asked what would happen if the increase wasn't approved.

"Then we'll be out of compliance with the program," Boardman said.

"So this is something we have to do?" Drury said.

Boardman said she couldn't recall a year the district did not follow the federal guidelines in her 20 years with the district and in the time before that, when Dorothy Lawrence ran the program.

In other business, the Board awarded the bid for roofing repairs at the Math and Science Center to ABC Supply Co. of Cape Girardeau.

"About a month and a half ago we had a leak at the math and science building around a skylight," said Mike Brown, R-6 director of building and grounds. "Because of the newness of the building, we called the contractor, and they came out to do repair under warranty, but they also informed us that the actual roof itself -- for us to maintain the manufacturer's warranty with that -- we had to re-coat that every five to seven years."

The district must use a Johns Manville product to comply, and the only supplier anywhere near is Cape Girardeau, Brown said.

The Board approved the amount for the bid to be the low-end of $15,176 to the high-end of $17,300

"It's going to be a fluid amount because of how thick it rolls on and rough the surface is," Brown said about the reason for the varying cost.

Board member Amy Blanton asked if there were any other warranties at the Math and Science Center that needed checking, and Brown said he couldn't think of any.

The Board adopted the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's Model Compliance Plan for implementation of IDEA, Part B, as presented by Lynn Crader, assistant superintendent of elementary and special services.

The Board tabled the appointment of a board member to the Education Foundation Board of Trustees until next month.

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