NMC R-1 renews contract with food service provider

Friday, January 19, 2018

NEW MADRID, Mo. - Opaa, the New Madrid County R-1 School District's service provider, will continue to serve up breakfast and lunches for the students across the district.

At their January meeting, the school board accepted a bid from Opaa for food service. Dr. Sam Duncan, district superintendent, said with the acceptance of the Opaa bid, the pricing for meal services will remain largely the same for the coming year.

"We did have a competitor and their bid was good but not as good as Opaa's," Duncan said. "We appreciated (the competitor) for providing us with another look."

In accepting the Opaa bid, the board was advised the company was adding an assistant manager to its staff. Also Duncan said the district has surveyed students about the food and that Opaa has responded to student requests and made changes.

Also during the January meeting, Renee Smith, who currently serves as half-time Technical Skills Center director and serves as half-time health occupations instructor, presented information on TSC programs.

According to Duncan, the R-1 technical skills program is undergoing a transformation. He called Smith's report forward looking as Smith works to grow the center's programs and to help students connect with the job market.

He noted when the district was faced with budget constraints several years ago, changes were made at the center to deal with the reduction in funding including making the director a part-time position. Following Smith's presentation, the board decided to hire her as the full-time director beginning with the 2018-19 school year.

"We still have a very strong program with excellent teachers," Duncan said about the Technical Skills Center. "We have to have a coordinator … with a good plan for moving forward. We are being very proactive. We do feel we have industry coming and we want to make sure our technical skills program is up to speed and providing a pathway to jobs"

An update on the district's property and fleet was provided by John Garner, who said the district has accepted a bid of $12,000 for the lot on Davis Street in New Madrid. The lot was originally purchased as a site for a home to be built by the building trades classes.

Duncan said the district is not planning on having the building trades class construct a new home and rather than continue to pay for the lot to be maintained, it was decided to sell it and use the money elsewhere.

Contingent on the closing of the sale of the lot, the Board approved the purchase of a 2016 van from Martindale Chevrolet.

"Everything right now is a trade off. We have a need to stay true to our budget and you have to give up something in order to get something," said Duncan. He explained one of the district's main vehicles used to transport students and teachers to conferences was having major problems. With the proceeds from the sale of the lot along with the trade-in of the old vehicle, the newer vehicle will be purchased at a minimal cost.

At the December meeting, the Board approved the purchase of additional Chromebooks from Novacopy to be used in the New Madrid County Central High School core subject classrooms.

The purchase of approximately $17,000 in Chromebooks is being funded with part of the money the district received from the sale of the building trades house on St. Francis, Duncan said.

"This will allow us to have four or five Chromebooks stationed in core rooms," Duncan said, adding the recommendation for the additional computers was made by the instructors. " We think it will meet a tremendous need."

Also during the January meeting:

• Bridget Heiser and Beta Club officers presented information on the State Beta Convention.

• The Board selected Allyson James as the district's candidate for the John T. Belcher Scholarship offered through Missouri School Board Association.

• In an update by Duncan, the Board was informed attendance is holding steady at about the same level as this time last year. Enrollment is down about 110 to 120 students from this time last year which Duncan attributed to the closing of Noranda Aluminum Company.

• In addition to the transfer of Smith from half-time to a full-time position beginning with the next school year, other transfers include Casey Rost from Eighth Grade ELA to counselor at Central High School for the 2018-19 school year; and Eddie Haynes from substitute bus driver to bus driver/substitute custodian starting this January.

The following resignations were accepted during the Dec. 14 board meeting: Emily Carlisle, counselor at Central High School at the end of current school year; Gary Clark, vocal music for Central Middle School at the end of current school year; Cathy Sides, secretary at Central High School at the end of the current school year; and the resignations in December of Kim Jones and Noell Robbins, secretaries at Central High School, and Erica Townsend, special education assistant at Lilbourn Elementary.

Employed during a special meeting in November were Angie Williams, secretary for Central High School beginning in December, and Christy Keene, secretary at New Madrid Elementary beginning in December.

With the close of filing on Jan. 16 for school board positions to be filled in the April election, Duncan said current board members Dee Moore and Ralph Barnwell are the sole candidates seeking the three-year terms.