Dr. Jeremy Burright
Dr. Jeremy Burright
Next Board Meeting: 8/19/21 immediately following the Open Tax Rate Hearing in the school library. Open Tax Rate Hearing immediately prior starting at 6:30.
Board Summary 4/15/21
Next board meeting August 19, 2021. Open Tax Rate Hearing August 19, 2021 at 6:30 p.m.
All bills were approved for payment.
Donations and Thank You notes:
The district received a donation to our playground fund from Lori Smith in the name of Pat Smith who recently passed.
We received a thank you to the Senior Class of 2021 from Susan Braams for the gift given to her for performing as the accompanist during graduation.
The district will finish the year contributing $230,000 to reserves. At this time we are exploring the use of this year’s reserve contribution on projects for the physical plant. We still have items that we have not been able to finish that were identified in our levy campaign in 2018 and we will need to renovate our playground in the 21-22 school year.
The board approved full payment to Froeschl Floors for the installation of our epoxy flooring.
Floors are being refinished and painting is being done. Some repairs have also been made to areas that have been in need of work for a while. We expect the building to be available to teachers sometime during the week of July 19th.
The installation of fixtures for our elementary bathroom will begin on July 19th.
Our new cafeteria tables will be delivered on August 20th.
We discussed a tentative timeline for our playground renovation:
During architect visits we have discussed the following:
Additionally, I would like us to consider replacing the visible, aged and damaged insulation on our boiler system. While this should be low on our list, details like this make our building look much cleaner.
The new flooring in the elementary entry way, cafeteria, and hallway to the old gym is complete and looks great.
The calculation procedure and payment amount from Tarkio to Fairfax R-III for expenses related to our EA Wolves COOP were discussed. This year Tarkio has issued payment to Fairfax R-III in the amount of $5981.39. This payment offsets the additional expenditures assigned to Fairfax for being the fiscal agent of the COOP (we pay the bills) and takes into consideration shared personnel costs.
The board accepted the resignation of Mrs. Amy Fast during executive session. We wish her and her family well.
April 2021 Summary of Reorganization, Regular, and Executive Board Meetings
We are working on a number of items that need repair around the district facility. Items discussed were repairs to damaged downspouts, water leak in the girls locker room, repairs to lighting fixtures around the building, the status of our window replacement process, and the floor replacement for our elementary bathrooms and cafeteria.
March 2021 Board Meeting Summary
The Fairfax R-III School Board met at approximately 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 17th, 2021. The following items were discussed and decided:
Last night the board had its regular monthly meeting, followed by an executive meeting for personnel.
January 2021 Board Meeting Summary
Next Board Meeting: 2/18/21 at 5:30 (early meeting).
We have two openings on the board this year and Theresa Larson (Pennel), Chris Smith, and Jon Graves have all filed. This will be the first year in my time at Fairfax that an election is required.
We are sad to see Jada Howell and Patty Bredensteiner leaving us and we wish them well.
Scott Ray has been hired for our new custodian. He will be here Monday for paperwork and compliance then start cleaning responsibilities in February.
Our calendar for next year has been approved.
Approved through June 2024.
It is always my pleasure to serve the Fairfax School District and its community. It has been my personal goal since I have been here to work for the preservation and progression of this district. As we move forward into our next years together we will need to return to our CSIP and ensure that we have a clear plan for the success of our district. Even with the struggles that we go through together I still believe that this is a wonderful district, with wonderful staff, and an amazing community. I'm thankful for the ability to serve a greater good through service to this district and I’m looking forward to the next three years.
Decision Making in a Covid-19 Pandemic
I wanted to take an opportunity to post some information that would normally go on our Covid page. However, because of the content, I feel like this location is a better place to post it. My hope is that through sharing this information I can break down a pretty expansive set of decision making criteria and help everyone outside of our decision making process understand why we have taken the steps we've taken with Covid-19 and why we continue to follow our plan.
The core of this reasoning is the following four questions:
“What will guarantee safety for our students, staff, and expanded community?”
“What is good for the social and emotional health of our students?”
“What is the community tolerance for the safety measures we put in place?”
“Is the benefit of a choice worth the potential cost of a choice?”
I will warn you now, this is a long post. Everything we have had to do with Covid-19 has been, and continues to be, complex. To get to a point where we might be approaching clarity takes some time and a lot of words. Please don't feel you have to digest this all in one setting. Please also note that your school district would like to remove Covid-19 restrictions as soon as it is legitimately safe to do so.
It feels like years that we have been struggling with Covid-19 and implementing safety procedures put in place because of the virus. While we would love to be at a point where we would be looking at relaxing safety procedures, at this time, we will continue to implement the same plan that has been in effect since the beginning of the year. It bears explanation as to why we wouldn’t relax when other entities and districts have so many different takes on dealing with Covid and so we want to share some justification to at least let our stakeholders know “why” we are doing what we are doing.
The most significant pieces of this puzzle that need to be shared are the four questions we have asked. I believe everyone has asked these in one way or another regarding adopting or abandoning safety protocols with Covid-19.
The first question is, of course, “What will guarantee safety for our students, staff, and expanded community?” The truth is, this should probably be the only question that we ask. It has been, and remains, the most important question regarding the pandemic and has spawned a huge amount of debate, contradicting studies and information, and lists of recommendations from reliable sources, and recommendations from sources that would never make it into a legitimate piece of literature. To say that safety recommendations come from everywhere is entirely accurate and to say that they are hotly debated is a gross understatement.
The district and its personnel have a responsibility to maintain an essential level of safety for its students and staff. In the case of Covid-19 we also feel a responsibility to help with the safety of our wider community. Currently, the plan we have in place illustrates the partnership that we have with our local DHSS, recommendations from the CDC, policies from national and state lawmakers, our governor, from DESE, and our legal counsel. We have taken the safety of our students, staff, and stakeholders seriously and will continue to do so. We know that the severity of the virus decreases in younger populations, but we have seen the effects of the virus in the grandparents and parents that make up our staff and larger, stakeholder population. Also, while the number of cases in Atchison County have declined over the last few weeks, in just the last week a number of our boys basketball team had to quarantine due to exposure.
Additionally, even though we can’t share specific information with anyone regarding who has been infected or in contact, I can share numbers of contact quarantines and positive cases. As of our last update from the Atchison County DHSS, 25% of the students in our district have had to be quarantined at different times throughout the year with four of those quarantines due to infection. Our staff has also been affected by quarantines this year with 12 instances of quarantine reported for both classroom and support staff positions. I can personally report that I was quarantined twice. According to the same source of information, as of the writing of this communication, eight of the staff quarantined tested positive for Covid. In all of these cases the district assisted with close contact tracing and appropriate communication was provided by Atchison County DHSS.
The good news is that since the Governor’s mask mandate we have had only nine instances of quarantines. We've had 52 total quarantines with 238 combined days of onsite learning missed by students. On average, a quarantined student misses about six days of onsite instruction. This information illustrates that there is still a need to guarantee an appropriate safety level. While the mask mandate helps us stay in school, we should also note that the mask mandate only exempts students and staff from quarantine as it applies to the school day. Even if both parties are wearing a mask, the close contact individual is still required to quarantine outside of the school day including athletics, school clubs, tutoring, and any other activity not directly related to being present in a classroom.
Please keep in mind that many of the quarantines resulted from contact at home or in the community. Please also keep in mind that Fairfax R-III was closed for a period prior to our Thanksgiving break because we did not have enough staff to cover kitchen and maintenance staff positions. Our district has felt, and continues to feel, the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The second question we ask is, “What is good for the social and emotional health of our students?” Families have witnessed the effects of long-term isolation on our children. We don’t need studies and data to tell us that a true quarantine is emotionally hard on our students. We also know that participation in school activities helps students create and maintain friendships, participate in positive social experiences, and gain a sense of accomplishment. While the safest, and most extreme, protocol to follow to stop the spread of Covid-19 is a complete lockdown, we know long term isolation is detrimental to our students. This is why, even though it may seem like it's inconsistent, we have continued to have athletics, clubs, and other extracurricular activities with safety protocols specific to those events.
It is readily apparent, that from district to district, safety measures for the school day and extracurricular activities vary. We can only assume why another district has, or does not have, safety measures in place that are the same as Fairfax R-III. I can confirm that we believe we understand the possible impact of Covid-19 on our ability to maintain onsite classes and extracurricular activities, and we continue to follow a plan designed around the positive social and emotional impact created when students are able to be around each other in school.
The third question we ask is, “What is the community tolerance for the safety measures we put in place?” This question is asked because we know that we do not exist separately from the community that supports us. We know that community support is a a key building block to success in the school and it’s just good sense for school leaders to process decisions through this particular lens. We also know that some of the effects of long term closures and quarantines negatively affect families and businesses.
When it comes to issues of safety, and make no mistake our response to Covid-19 is a response to a safety threat, there are clearly things that we have to do that are not ideal and are not what we really want to do. I feel the truth is, if we were told by government officials to immediately lift all safety precautions, not many of us would be upset. For instance, many of us hate wearing a mask. We can’t wear glasses with a mask because they fog up. We forget it when we go into stores and have to go back to the car to get it. It’s something else we have to wash, and it’s uncomfortable. However, because we know masking up helps us stay open, wearing a mask is the rule even though we don’t necessarily enjoy it.
The last question we have been asking is, “Is the benefit of a choice worth the potential cost of a choice?” For instance, limiting spectators during athletic events is a safety measure that was put in place after we examined potential risk to spectators and to our athletic teams. We knew that athletic participation is a family affair so we knew, while it was the safest measure possible, it wasn’t appropriate to have athletic events without spectators. We also felt we could guarantee an appropriate level of safety regarding the spread of the virus at athletic events.
Kids actively participate in an event while families and extended families ensure the student has the support and the resources they need to be successful. In many cases, having a student athlete is an investment of emotional energy, knowledge, time, and money on the part of the family. The risk to not limiting spectator numbers was widespread exposure to Covid-19. We know exposure causes people to catch the virus and have to quarantine. If a student athlete is found to be in close contact he/she would be quarantined and then miss an additional week of games due to the re-entry protocol established by MSHSAA. In the case of basketball this could be six or more games.
In the meantime, if quarantined or ill, the family members closest to the student miss out on seeing the success their child has after their parenting investment. Not limiting spectators puts family members in the position of potential exposure, potential quarantine, and the district in a position of potential legal liability. We have constantly asked ourselves whether or not the benefit of a given activity is worth the risk associated with that activity. If the answer is ‘no’ then it isn’t likely that the activity in question will occur, at least not in the manner it has in the past.
Finally, we can look at what other districts are have to implement regarding long-term online learning. This might either be due to an inability to implement safety protocols or to staff and student absences. We can be thankful that we haven’t had to do a lot of that in the Fairfax R-III District.
The metaphor that comes to mind for me is this: Just because you finally feel like you’ve gotten in good shape and your neighbor never goes to the gym, doesn’t mean that you should stop going to the gym. It’s still good for you and over the long run will most likely prevent problems with your health.
It seems the same with our safety plan. While it seems like things are going pretty well, and some of our neighbors are abandoning some of their protocols (or never had them), following our plan is what has gotten us this far. There are still risks to our students, staff, and community stakeholders. Until those risks are minimized by other means, our district plan is the best defense our district has against Covid-19 and the best guarantee we have that we can continue to have school onsite.
This means that, at this time, we will still take action that we believe will slow or stop the spread of Covid-19. We do not have sufficient, reliable data that supports the reduction of safety measures and we haven’t received notification from DHSS, CDC, an external governing body, or our legal counsel that it is safe to stop following our safety plan. Our hope is that as we continue to struggle with the Covid-19 pandemic that we can continue to count on your support and understanding.
Good morning! It is my hope that this update finds you well and rested. If you’re away on vacation, or just binging Netflix or Disney+, don’t read this now. It can wait until you’re ready.
During our executive session, the board accepted the resignations of Mrs. Corie Hicks and Mrs. Alicia Straub. We are thankful for the hard work and commitment the two have shown and we know their positions won’t be easy to fill. Please wish them well.
We will finish this year by adding $199, 384 to our reserves. This is due to additional Covid relief revenue, conservative budgeting of tax revenue, and money saved through the spring closure. This will place our reserve at roughly 49% with the 2020-2021 year being currently budgeted as a deficit or break-even year. This is due to a reduction in state tax revenue and a consistent increase to operating costs for the district. At this time, our long-term budget projections are on track with this year being one where we will most likely come close to an equal amount of expenditures and revenues.
Our current fund balance is $1,218,968.
The board approved the tremendous gift of new bleachers for our football field! The Fairfax Improvement Foundation, led by Jill Kingery, has worked to fully fund the cost of the bleachers, find volunteers for the removal of our old bleachers, and install the new ones. We are incredibly thankful for the work of that organization and know that we will use their gift well.
Fire Alarm Update:
Our contractor assures us that the fire alarms will be completed by August 17th.
Our goal is to communicate to everyone what school will look like in August so that we can provide peace of mind to our community and so that community members can plan. While we had hoped to have a plan that we could call “final” by now, we continue to get information and recommendations from state agencies that cause us to modify the existing framework. We are also being responsive to feedback that we are receiving from the board and from teachers and that feedback has already caused us to modify the plan. Our plan will most likely continue to evolve until we reach a stopping point in the unpredictable flow of information.
We all want school to be safe for our students, staff, and stakeholders. When it is up to our local decision-makers we will focus on having classes on site instead of online. We feel we are well on the way of providing a framework to do these two things. If you have not seen the plan yet, please feel free to take a look and make recommendations and voice your opinion. All points of view will be considered and ultimately the safest, most practical route will be chosen as a course of action. We will have a staff meeting on August 3rd to discuss the plan and how details of the plan will work in the school setting.
Last night, concerns were heard from the board that included masks in the school setting, recess time, lunch shifts, consistent district action between the school day and athletics, and low numbers of cases in the community. We are doing our best to provide safety; respond to recommendations from multiple, reliable sources; and provide for the social-emotional health of students, staff, and stakeholders. The evolving, published plan will continue to reflect our best response to all of these items. Since not all state agencies have offered a final list of recommendations, cases in the country continue to increase, and everything about this pandemic has been unpredictable, we are thankful we are able to plan to open school even if it is with safety measures in place. You can view the DRAFT Covid-19 Safety Plan by clicking here: 2020 Covid-19 Safety Plan DRAFT.pdf
Tax Rate Hearing:
The date for the August Tax Rate Hearing was set for 8/20/2020 at 6:30 p.m. This meeting is held to set the 2020 property tax rate and, in part, determines our local tax revenue.
Maintenance is still working throughout the building on floors and projects. Teachers will be allowed in the building on August 3rd and may work in classrooms after that date. There may still be times when an individual room or floor cannot be accessed but these situations will most likely be on an individual basis. Be prepared to work around maintenance and our fire alarm installers.
Annual Wolves Expenses and Revenues:
As the fiscal agent (the district that pays the bills) for the EA Wolves COOP, Fairfax has consistently been the recipient of a year-end payment from the Tarkio School District. At the end of each fiscal year the superintendents meet and calculate differences in expenditures and revenues. This calculation is used to ensure equitable participation in the COOP on both sides. This year the Fairfax School District received payment in the amount of $12,521.95, which represented the difference in expenditures and revenues related to EA Wolves Athletics.
Next Board Meeting:
August 20, 2020. 6:30 p.m. or immediately following the Tax Rate Hearing.
Board Summary 4/16/2020
Thank you to Mr. Doug Miller and Mr. Marshal Oswald for their dedicated and outstanding work on the Board of Education over the past several years.
Thank you to Mr. Mike Lewis for accepting the election as President of the Fairfax R-III Board of Education.
Thank you to Mrs. Samantha O’Riley for renewing her commitment to the board for another three years and for accepting the election as Vice President of the Fairfax R-III Board of Education.
Thank you to Mr. Brett Johnson and Mr. Miles Smith for becoming new board members.
Board members still completing terms are Josh Oswald, Chris Smith, Jon Graves, and Mike Lewis.
These are unpaid, voluntary, elected positions that require time, effort, dedication, and emotional commitment. If you see a board member, please thank them.
End of Year Procedures:
School will end on May 15, 2020. New course work will be due on May 8, 2020 and the last week of school will be used to finish work for those students who have fallen behind since our closure has occurred. The week of the 10th through the 15th will also be used by students and staff to facilitate the checkout process in small groups. More detailed information will be sent to students, families, and staff by Mr. Barnes.
Class of 2020 students and their families have had to endure an emotional blow this spring as doubt has been cast on whether or not we will be able to hold once-in-a-lifetime events like graduation and senior trip. On 4/16/2020 the Board unanimously approved to extend the Class of 2020’s access to fund raising money until July 1, 2021. While the school district will hold, and still approve expenditures, for the class of 2020 until then, we feel this will give ample time for our 2020 Senior Class to plan and participate in graduation and senior trip. 2020 Seniors will still need to plan and present a senior trip itinerary to the board prior to using their funds, but the funds will remain available until 7/1/2021.
Graduation has tentatively been planned for June 13th, 2020. We will most likely utilize the football field this year and follow any social distancing orders we might still be under. The board approved all class of 2020 graduates pending completion of graduation requirements.
Prom is delayed but not canceled. The students, sponsors, and parents of the junior class will need to work together to plan prom once we are able to congregate in large groups. This may be delayed until after graduation, but we anticipate it happening as soon as we are able.
Mr. Barnes will be contacting parents and students of the 2020 seniors in order to coordinate any Senior Class events that have been postponed due to the Covid-19 school closure.
There will be no APR or standardized testing in 2020. Students will also not be required to make up state mandated grade-level or End of Course exams that were missed during the Covid-19 shutdown.
We currently have openings for Spanish and upper level Math.
The district will be receiving an additional amount of money from the CARES act which should offset lost revenues from a shortage in sales tax revenue. If our revenue stream stopped immediately, we would still have enough revenue to cover expenses through the end of the fiscal year and place some money in reserve. Our current fund balance is $1,514,770. Our year to date revenues are $1,947,148 and our year to date expenditures are $1,451,962.
The board also approved a modification to professional development expenditures to allow expenditures to reach only one-half of one percent of our state formula money. This allows us to stay in compliance with statutory requirements governing PD expenditures since we will most likely not spend our entire PD budget this fiscal year. Normally, we are required to spend an amount equal to one percent of our state formula money on PD for teachers.
Currently we are in the process of finalizing the installation of our fire alarms. Electronic Contracting Company is on schedule to complete the work by the April 30 deadline.
The board also approved two other upgrades to our facility. The first was the installation of fiber-optic cable to connect the vocational building to our network through a physical connection. This upgrade has needed to occur for several years and this year we have the ability to offset 70% of the cost through Federal ERATE dollars.
The second is the installation of video cameras in main areas of the building. This upgrade has also needed to occur and would have been a great benefit to the district at different times in the last three years.
The board approved the following items for building maintenance and repair:
The board approved a contract with Launch, a provider of online learning services which is designed and run by the Springfield Missouri School District. This contract will allow us to access their services to expand our offering of elective courses. It will also allow us to offer services under MOCAP and cover us as a last resort when a certified teacher cannot be found in a core area.
Extra duty contracts:
The Board approved the slate of extra duty assignments as presented. Because there were candidates on the slate related to two board members, those members abstained from the vote.
Our next board meeting date will be May 21, 2020 at 6:30 p.m.
Fairfax R3 Response to 4/3/2020 Governor's Address
Currently, neither of these two qualifying factors have occurred and we are in compliance with direction from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education issued after Governor Parson's address.
Special Board Meeting Summary 3/30/2020
Lunch Service Update 3/30/2020
In this evolving situation, it is advisable to make sure whatever process we have in place for lunch services keeps everyone as healthy as possible. At this time, I have not been notified that any of our personnel have been diagnosed with the coronavirus. However, as the virus continues to spread we feel it is wise to make our lunch system as safe as possible.
Lunch Service Update and Board Summary 3/20/2020
Good morning! Thank you for your dedication to our shared, educational purpose. The fact that you are reading this tells me that you are still connected and ready to care for our children and our community. There is important information in this communication so be sure to read it completely and look at the attachment.
Lunch Services During Coronavirus Cancellation
We understand that accommodations during our current shutdown are being made by your families. These accommodations mean changes to work patterns, childcare, and meals. While we are unable to impact work and childcare at this time, we are able to offer food services to families who would like to have lunches prepared for either delivery to the home or pickup from school.
If there is enough interest, Fairfax will be preparing lunches for students according to the following plan:
For ease of communication here is a summary of the information you need at sign up:
For questions please call 660-686-2421 ext. 2 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
School Cancellation 3/16/2020
Atchison County Families,
It is after much discernment regarding the evolving situation with the Coronavirus that we pass the following information on to you. The school districts in Atchison County always keep the safety of our students as the primary factor in any decision-making process we undertake and it is through that lens that we now work.
We feel we have an opportunity to be proactive in a situation that is quickly escalating and will be upon us sooner than we would like. Already, 27 states have closed schools and many cases of the coronavirus have been reported in Missouri and our neighboring states. Whether we realize it or not, our communities are not immune to the spread of the coronavirus. The I-29 corridor passes through our county, we share classroom space with Maryville, and all of our students have contact with each other through family members and activities both inside and outside of school.
It is for these reasons, along with the rate and method of infection related to the coronavirus, that schools in Atchison County are canceling classes and all school activities beginning Thursday, 3/19/2020 until at least 4/6/2020. While classes are canceled beginning this Thursday, activities are cancelled effective immediately. Prior to reconvening regular classes, area superintendents will coordinate with health officials to determine current risk and decide whether or not coming back to school will be the safest course of action for our communities.
We understand that this is short notice for a closure that could last for an indefinite amount of time. We wanted to provide our families at least a small amount of time to prepare for an extended closure since a long-term closure involves different family resources than those that normally occur for one or two days. We want to be as fair as possible and keep everyone informed regarding this ongoing situation.
We thank you for your understanding and willingness to help with this issue.
Coronavirus Update 3/13/2020
Dear Fairfax Families,
FXR3 continues to monitor the situation surrounding the Coronavirus (Covid 19). Earlier this week we sent home a letter detailing what we knew regarding the prevention of the virus and how proper hygiene is key in preventing the spread of this virus. According to our most recent information the information in that letter is still true.
This week we have received communication both from the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and through the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). There is a flood of information regarding what the World Health Organization has labeled a pandemic. It is important that we be discerning regarding where our information comes from and choose sources that are as reliable as possible. DHSS and DESE both work to ensure that information they share is as factual as it can possibly be. We know how positively and negatively impactful the spread of information can be to a community.
Here is some information that may be new based on communication we have received this week:
We thank you ahead of time for responding appropriately to all sickness in your households. The steps you would normally take to fight the flu are the same steps that work against Covid 19. We also thank you for staying informed and working with us to ensure students are cared for and our school district functions with the most minimal disruption possible. We will keep you posted with new information as we receive it.
Updates will be posted on here, on the superintendent’s webpage. This web address is: https://fairfaxk12mo.us/index.php/administrationschool-board/superintendent/
For your convenience we have also listed links to CDC, DHSS, and DESE:
You may also email the superintendent with any questions: email@example.com
Jeremy Burright Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Fairfax R-III School District
Board Meeting Summary 2/19/2020
We need bus drivers! Did you know that our full time route bus driver makes $100 per day? In one year this position has the potential to earn over $16,000.00. The district pays for all of a person's fees related to training and licensing as well as rewarding a $300 bonus to current employees who earn their CDL with a bus endorsement.
First things first! Our snow day makeup is outlined below:
4/13/2020- Full day
5/14/2020-½ day (teacher workday)
5/15/2020-½ day (teacher workday)
We currently have three extra hours for the year with the changes listed above so if we don’t have anymore inclement weather or emergency dismissals, this schedule will most likely change again. We will always attend the required number of hours.
2020-2021 Fairfax R3 Calendar
The calendar presented to the staff prior to Christmas Break was approved by the Board. We will post this calendar on our website for public view. Here is the link: 2020-21 School Year Calendar Board Approved.pdf
Junior High Cross Country was approved for the fall of 2020 and Mr. Barnes was approved as the 2019-2020 head golf coach.
Resignations from Bambi Simmons and Melissa Comstock were accepted by the board.
We are on schedule to prep and present certified staff contracts in March 2020.
Our current fund balance is $1,680,541.92 up from last year by approximately $63,000. Along with our total revenues, our local tax revenues are higher than budgeted for this time of the year and our expenses are down from last year by approximately $86,000. Overall, we are in very good financial shape for the near future.
The board approved all payments presented in the consent agenda along with payments for our lease purchase, Tru 2 U, snow removal, and Sped Track.
The Facility Committee met again this week and made observations in our high school facilities. That committee is ready to complete internal facility walk-throughs in the Vocational Building and then prioritize and rank our needs.
We are in the process of evaluating our personnel structure in our maintenance department with the goal of proposing an additional position. There will be more information on this after we are able to identify a job description and possible pay rate.
Board Policy Updates
The board approved changes to policies 2640, 2874, and 4870. These changes modify the wording regarding CBD labeling in 2640, and clarify the requirement to keep (and be prepared to use NARCAN) in the school building. NARCAN is an opioid antagonist designed to prevent drug overdoses.
Board Meeting Summary 12/19/19
Next Board Meeting: 1/16/20 at approximately 6:30
This year our expenses are $6805.80 higher than last year at this time but our revenues are also higher by $8082.42. Our current fund balance is $823,509.95.
The board reviewed a potential budget projection which included a 2% pay increase for all certified and non-certified staff positions. This pay increase, along with projected transportation purchases, funds placed in maintenance, and the athletic COOP payments will still allow us to add to our reserves in the 20-21 school year. The projected contribution to reserves is approximately $18,000.00.
We still have $58,685 in our lease purchase account which will be used for fire alarm installation and to pay the remaining costs of lockers for the locker rooms.
We are still looking for part-time and trip bus drivers. Staff members who choose to get certified get a certification bonus along with having all of the costs associated with testing reimbursed. We are waiting on our estimate to come back for repairs to our new van and both buses 6 and 17 need attention to their lighting systems. Hopefully, both of these buses can be repaired over break.
This year, three of our board members will be up for re-election. These spots are currently occupied by Sam O’riley, Marshal Oswald, and Doug Miller. Anyone interested in running for School Board should pick up a packet in the elementary office during office hours. The deadline for filing is January 21st 2020.
A quick overview of survey results was shared with the board. These results will be shared with the community through small group meetings this spring.
The superintendent evaluation and contract will be reviewed at the January 16th 2020 board meeting. Evaluation forms have been shared with the board members.
The board approved the following items in new business:
After careful consideration, the board decided to share coaching costs with Tarkio in the amount of a 45% share for Fairfax. This means that Fairfax will make up the difference in total coaching costs, after paying our own personnel, up to 45% of the total amount for COOP coaching positions. This creates a more equitable split for athletic costs in the COOP agreement. The COOP agreement has been renewed by the board for two more years and events are already being scheduled. The 45/55 split in coaching costs is the only significant change to the agreement. Events locations will still continue to be scheduled as they have in the past.
Have a wonderful holiday!
Board Meeting Update 11/19/19
Next Board Meeting 12/19/19 1:00 p.m.
Good morning! Please see the board meeting summary that follows.
In the 19-20 school year, our YTD expenditures are $60, 579 below what they were in 18-19. Also our revenue is significantly lower by $218,700. While this may seem alarming, it is due to the large insurance payout that came to us this time last year for roof repairs. As of 11/8/19 our fund balance is $918,469.00, which is an increase of $29,922.00 over last year’s November fund balance.
There is good news for our district regarding the Brickyard windmill development. I spoke with a representative from EDF that explained that the project might not be dead after all. Usually, there are three cost studies performed for each project in development. For the Brickyard project, the first and second studies had large discrepancies in the final financial estimates. EDF is engaging in a third study and if the findings on the third match more closely with the findings on the first, there is a good chance the project will proceed. There is also a chance that if the project does not proceed with windmills, that another source of renewable energy might be used. This project means a lot to our district in terms of funding and I will keep you posted.
We are in communication with the locker company regarding the quality of the lockers that were sent to us. Some of the welds on the locker doors are defective and we are seeking a solution to this problem.
We continue to work to keep our transportation fleet up and running. Bus five and six are awaiting electrical repairs and the Dodge van recently had one of the front struts replaced.
This report was tabled.
This item was tabled in order to allow time for the audit to be completed and sent to the district.
Wolves COOP Meeting:
The board decided to meet with Fairfax administration and Tarkio COOP representatives to finalize details of shared coaches pay. Currently, Tarkio supplies the majority of coaching positions from their staff and budget. In order for financial equity to exist within the COOP the two districts are working on an agreement to make the financial contributions of each district more fair. Because students in both districts benefit from the services of staff regardless of the district where they are actually employed, our board and district leadership want to find a solution that will preserve the COOP and make financial sense for our district.
Drug Testing Policy
The board approved a drug testing policy to be implemented beginning July 1, 2020. Implementation of this policy will provide random drug testing for all students in extracurricular activities and any students who are “opted in” by their parents.
The board approved a bid of $51,657 from Electronic Contracting Company for an upgrade to our fire alarm system. This money will come from the remainder of our lease purchase account.
Board Meeting Summary 9/19/19
Good morning! Please enjoy the following summary of our 9/19/19 Fairfax Board of Education Meeting.
Board Policy Updates: There were numerous mandatory board policy/regulation updates. Please take a look when you get the chance since we are all responsible for following board policy. A list of updated policies are below and while the website has not been updated yet, I can email you the policies on request. P0370, R1210, P1210, R4411, P1425, P1430, P2200, P2230, P2710, P2742, P3470, P4120, P4411, P4540, and P7210
Priority Giving: In order to maximize the impact of our incredibly generous community, the board is developing a list of items that will be listed as priorities for giving. These priority items will be communicated on the website and via other media in order to provide information on where gifts from the community can be best utilized. The board will finalize this short list during next month’s board meeting. Those who have it on their hearts to give to our district for other purposes will never be discouraged but we want to provide guidance to those who wish to give but don’t know where it would benefit us the most.
Snow Removal Bids: We are accepting snow removal bids for this year. Please spread the word. If Mrs. Clark has her way, we will have a lot of snow days.
Fire Alarm Bids: We are accepting fire alarm bids for our system upgrade. This will be a formal bidding process but we love to keep the work local so please spread the word about this.
Locker Update: The athletic lockers are scheduled for October 16th arrival. We can’t wait!
Gifts! We are the happy recipient of community gifts! The board approved the acceptance of the following gifts:
MOU Sheriff’s Department: This memorandum of understanding (MOU) was reviewed with the board. It describes the capacity in which our school resource officer will partner with us.
Prom Location: The secret prom location has been approved!
Bus to After School Programming: The board approved bus services for after school programming at the Baptist Church beginning on 10/3/19 and ending 11/21/19.
East Atchison Wolves COOP items: The board discussed and identified a short list of items for discussion with the Wolves COOP Board. Discussion included budgeting, a focus on student satisfaction, condition of facilities, and location of events.
Volunteer approval: Zack Lemar was approved as a volunteer by the board. Zack will be helping with our trap shooting team.
The next board meeting will be on October 16, 2019 at approximately 6:30. (Wednesday)
Board Meeting Summary 8/15/19
Good afternoon! The Fairfax R3 Board met at approximately 6:30 on 8/15/19. What follows here are the important points from that meeting.
We received a $1000 gift from the Morgan Trust and $500 from Susan Williams. The board accepted these gifts for technology and gravel respectively. If you know Mrs. Williams or anyone associated with the Morgan Trust, please thank them and let them know how much their gifts mean to us.
The bus routes, which are the same as 18-19, were approved. If you or anyone you know has questions about the routes, please refer them to the superintendent’s office.
Amending the 18-19 Budget
Each year we amend the budget we use for the district so that our budgeted expenditures and revenues match our actual expenditures and revenues. This measure was taken last night for the 18-19 budget.
Setting of the Fairfax Tax Rate:
Each year we must finalize our property tax rate. This year we opted to keep our tax rate the same even though doing this will result in a slight decrease in local property tax revenue. The tax rate will again be $4.7848. This is the tax levy amount approved by the community in the spring of 2017 when our temporary levy passed.
Approve amendments to 2019-2020 Budget
Amendments to our current budget accounting for the decrease in local tax revenue were approved. We have budgeted for a 95% collection rate putting our projected local revenues at $1,017,401.
Adopt local SPED Compliance Plan
Each year we are required to adopt a SPED compliance plan. This year, as in year’s past, we will be using the model plan from DESE.
The board approved an upgrade to the size of the lockers in the boys locker rooms. The current locker size will not be large enough for appropriate use. The board approved an additional expenditure for larger lockers the payment of which will come from our remaining lease purchase funds.
Interest Payment for Lease Purchase
The board approved the payment of interest to UMB for our Lease Purchase interest. This essentially works like a normal loan. Interest and principal are paid according to the repayment schedule. In the case of this Lease Purchase, we make these payments annually.
Matching grant for FACS
The board approved expenditures in excess of $1500 to fulfill the district’s share of the the FACS 50/50 grant. Congratulations Mrs. Million!
Hazard Mitigation Plan
The board adopted the Multijurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan for Atchison County. Each year representatives from ACMO will meet with district personnel and update our All Hazards plan.
The board approved the purchase of a 10 passenger van from Tri-state Ford in Maryville Mo! We do not have a delivery date yet, but it is coming our way.
Our next regular meeting will be September 19, 2019.
Board Summary 6/20/19
Board Summary 5/16/19
It’s time for our monthly Board Meeting Summary! I’d like to start with the best news of the week.
House Bill 220: House Bill 220 has passed and is on the way to the governor to be signed. This bill restructures the tax system so that property taxes generated by ALL windmill developments, regardless of ownership, are assessed and collected locally. For us, this could mean as much as an additional $600,000 per year when the development finally comes online. Construction has not officially begun but we’ll keep an eye out.
Health Insurance and Pay Raises: There is Some bad news concerning the cost of our health insurance. We will again be with MPR and I will begin the process of finding another provider next fall. Premiums for the cheapest plan and single insured employee increased $3065.76. The Board has agreed to pay the same percentages of insurance premiums for the 19-20 school year that the district paid for the 18-19 school year. Currently, for an individual, nine-month employee, the district pays 77% of the premium of the least expensive plan. This compensation, along with graduated percentages for longer contracts/working calendars, will be continued. The district will again pay 77% of the increased health insurance premium which amounts to an increase in district paid premium of $2360.64 per year. The bad news is that it won’t cover the entire increase in the premium. An additional $58.76 per month will still have to be paid by a nine month employee who has the cheapest plan only on him/herself.
More good news is that last night, the Board voted to increase the base pay in the salary schedule for certified staff by 2.5%. This is the largest increase to our base in several years and it’s an important first step towards more competitive wages for our teaching staff. This raise means that a second year teacher, with no additional graduate credit will receive a $1105.00 pay raise. When combined with the board-paid insurance (which is combined with pay to calculate teacher retirement), a second year teacher with no grad credit received a raise of about $3400.00.
The Board also approved a 4% increase to the non-certified staff rates. This raise offsets the increase in the employee insurance cost and keeps us on track with meeting the 2023 minimum wage requirements. Though, as a public school, we are not bound by the updated minimum wage law, if we want to continue to attract and keep great staff members we have to compete with other entities that will be offering the increased rates. Currently, average pay for our non-certified staff is $12.20 per hour. This raise will increase the average pay by $.49 per hour.
The two different raises were necessary in order to ensure that all staff-members are compensated in such a way that they hopefully do not experience negative financial impact from insurance costs even when they have received a raise. While these raises aren’t as high as we had initially hoped for and discussed, they are important. The increased cost of insurance forced us to re-evaluate the proposed salary schedule and be more conservative with overall raises. The Board wants to continue to raise pay, and raise it as much as they can, as long as it is fiscally responsible. We will revisit pay each year with the intent to increase our certified staff base pay and pay for non-certified staff. We know that good pay is a great way to attract great people and an even better way to express thanks for the work everyone does within our school. When it comes to pay, we are not as far along as we would like to be, but we are headed in the right direction.
Construction: We are making our final payment to our contractors this week. We have finished the construction which is paid for through our lease purchase and we still have $57,000 that must be spent on capital projects within three years. We will make final decisions regarding these funds in June at the June board meeting. Still on the list of projects from the 2018 levy campaign are the cafeteria remodel, window replacement in the elementary and HS, and tuck pointing in the elementary and HS.
Staff Update: Aleesha Ball has been approved as our new Ag teacher for the 2019-2020 school year. Mr. Scheiffer was approved to be the summer weights coach, and Ginny Smith was approved as JH Cheerleading Sponsor. Please congratulate them when you have a chance. All support staff were approved for rehire.
At this time, we haven’t had any qualified applicants for our business position. District administration is examining how the responsibilities associated with this position can be fulfilled if we are faced with going into the fall of 2019 without any candidates.
Lunch Prices: Lunch prices for the 2019-2020 school year will be $2.40 for Junior High and High School and $2.25 for Elementary. These prices are the same as 2018-2019 and fulfill requirements for pricing established by the Federal Lunch Program. Normally, we would have to increase our prices by $.05 each year, but since our prices fall within the required average, we are able to forgo that process this year.
Gym Floor Refinishing Bid: This bid has been awarded to Meyer Labs. The floor will be redone during the last week of July.
Financial Update: As of the 5/8/19 Ledger, the fund balance is $1,530,644.98 which equates to an 82% reserve. This includes $201,395 of insurance payments for the roof and the beginning balance for the 18-19 Fiscal Year of $830,418. Year to date expenditures as of 5/8/19 were $1,644,487.07 or 78% of our total budgeted expenditures. YTD Revenue as of 5/8/19 was $2,145,595.56. This amount of revenue is $179,703.56 over projected revenues. Current end of year projections put our final estimated expenditures at $2,676,702.76.
Next Board Meeting: June 20, 2019. 6:30 p.m. Room 3 of the elementary.
Board Summary 4/18/19
Resignations: We are sad to accept the resignations of Mr. Palmer and Mrs. Stanley. Please wish them well as they move on to other districts.
New Hires: We have a number of new hires this month between the meeting last night and the special meeting on 4/9/19. If you know them please welcome them to our team.
Personnel Restructuring: Our SPED numbers have declined and Mrs. Seymour is retiring, which are both good things. However, that left us in a position where we had some freedom to rearrange some personnel assignments so that we could more efficiently use those positions associated with SPED. Mrs. Lauren Clark will be assuming the responsibilities that Mrs. Seymour formerly performed and we are opening our AM preschool to more students. To help with the increase of kids, Mrs. Duering has accepted the opportunity to help in our AM preschool and still perform SPED tasks in the afternoon. This change puts people where they can best serve, saves the district money, and increases our revenue from our preschool program. Thank you to everyone who has agreed to these changes in spite of not being sure what they will bring.
Extra Duty Assignments: The Board approved the slate of extra duty assignments as presented. The list is included with this email.
Construction Update: April 19th is the day all construction should be finished. Altogether, the total construction cost was $1800 more than what we had originally budgeted. This includes change orders that needed to be made for repairs to the drain in the JH Boys Locker room, the installation of a light over our gym entrance, and the repair of a sewer drain in the ceiling of our faculty work room.
The roofers will once again be here this summer to remove and reinstall the roofs on our new gym and connecting areas. Once started, they move quickly and I anticipate this work will be done before the middle of June. We are lucky that our insurance claim from 17-18 is still covering these roof repairs.
Transportation Update: One bus is back in the shop for repairs after our Highway Patrol inspections on April 8th. It should be back on site soon and re-inspected on Monday the 22nd.
A special thanks goes out to Mrs. Wyatt and Mrs. Million for having the patience and good humor to deal with one of our vans breaking down in Omaha. They both made it back safely and Mrs. Million was graceful enough to make the long drive to Omaha to pick up Mrs. Wyatt and one of the prom parents.
We have received our money for our new bus from the DNR grant and the bus has been ordered! The local volunteer fire fighters will be in charge of demolishing bus 95 after the new bus comes in.
Approval of Graduates: All potential, 2019 Fairfax High School Graduates were approved pending completion of their remaining requirements. Graduation is May 19th.
STEM: A bulk Chromebook purchase was approved which will be funded by donated STEM money. It’s wonderful that community members show their support in so many ways and we are particularly thankful for all of the donations to our STEM program. This money is being used on technology, teacher training, and PLTW materials. This summer Mr. Schieffer will be participating in PD to integrate PLTW in the middle school classroom. We are grateful we have amazing staff that are willing to continue to learn new teaching methods and implement them for the benefit of our students. If we want students to be life-long learners, we have to be also.
Financial Report: At this time it looks like a conservative estimate tells us we will be able to finish the year with between $100,000 and $140,000 going into our reserve fund. This money includes the reimbursement for the bus we purchased in 17-18. As we get closer to the end of the year we become more aware of what our expenditures will actually be. We have four accounts that are currently on track to be, or are already, over-budget.
Our Athletics budget did not originally account for coaching payroll and those expenditures had not been part of that budget prior to this year. After those costs are removed our budget for athletics is within our predicted expenditure amount. Keeping these costs in the athletics budget allows us to very quickly assess what our personnel costs are for our program and is the best practice.
Our transportation and maintenance budgets are over due to multiple repairs on boilers, buses, vans, and under-budgeting for payroll. This was a tough winter for us mechanically and we spent $13000 on vehicle repairs and $26000 on materials and services for our buildings.
The third account that was over budget was tuition to other districts. We paid more to votec for tuition this year than in previous years and also had fees for a career center which was separate from votec. Together these fees came to roughly $16000.
The fourth area that appeared over budget was administrative technology, but after investigation we discovered that this was due to an error in coding.
Overall, our revenues are higher than anticipated and our total expenditures are still shaping up to be an amount that is on track to leave us in a position to finish the year with some money to save. In spite of some unanticipated costs we’ll still finish in strong, financial position.
Insurance and Salary Schedule: The Board was presented information regarding our MPR insurance rates for 2019-2020. Currently the district pays 77% of the least expensive, individual premium. This equates to $389.82 per month for those employees that opt-in to our plan. If the district chose to pay the same percentage cost from the new premium amount would be $586.54 per month. We must be careful as we proceed with personnel costs so that we don’t put our district in a position that causes us to deficit spend before we know we will have additional funds coming to us.
Over the next two years, we are predicting that we will be able to put additional money into our reserve fund. As inflation continues to affect us and general costs increase, we understand that in 2020-2021 our ability to add to the reserve will diminish and in 2021-2022 we could very likely be in a position where we begin to spend from the reserve money that we have saved during 2018-19 and 2019-20.
Please let me be very clear on one point, EVERYONE ON THE BOARD, MR. BARNES, AND I ALL WANT TO INCREASE SALARIES. We know that we have wonderful people working in our district who we want to keep and we want to continue to attract great people. I know that last year, even though we increased salaries and approved a step that some were still impacted by insurance rates for the 18-19 school year. We want to make sure that we do the right thing for our people.
At this time it is my goal to approach the Board in May with an increase to the salary schedule. How much that increase will be will depend on the long-term impact to our operating budget over the next 3-5 years. Keep in mind that there is a distinct possibility for a significant increase in our revenue from future windmill developments. I do not budget this money until we know it is a sure thing but I am confident that if we receive the predicted amount, that I will make it a priority to approach the board with more significant and competitive salaries.
At this time, we will work to increase salaries in May. Then we will wait to address the insurance issue until we hear from our other health insurance possibility (Wallstreet Group) to make any decision on insurance. Thank you for being patient. We haven’t forgotten this or your good work.
Items that were tabled:
Next Board Meeting: 5/16/19 at 6:30 p.m. Room 3 of the Elementary.
Board Summary 3/21/19
Good morning! Welcome to our monthly Board Meeting Summary. Spring is finally upon us!
On 3/21/19 our Board met for a regular and executive session. Below is the list of items discussed and points of discussion for each item. I also have an update for you regarding contracts, our salary schedule, and our insurance rates.
Resignations/Retirements: Mrs. Aimee Seymour has elected to retire at the end of the 2018-2019 school year. Please wish her well.
Snow Day Make-up: The Board agreed to change the calendar to allow us to attend school for a half day on 4/19/19 (Good Friday). This change allows us to meet both the required number of days and hours. It also keeps us from returning after Memorial Day for work. As it stands, the last week of school will be structured in this way: Full days on 5/20, 5/21, and 5/22. Half days on 5/23 and 5/24. The teacher work day that would have normally happened the day after students finish will be served on the afternoons of 5/23 and 5/24.
Salary Schedule: Changes is staffing and items that impact our budget (like a bus grant) may allow us to do more than increase a step. While earlier in the year, I presented a model salary schedule that was well received, the cost of that model, once all benefits were factored in, was cost prohibitive. Additionally, yesterday I received information that our insurance premiums will increase by as much as 58% for the 2019-2020 school year. This naturally changes how we approach our entire budget. Today I am beginning to calculate the impact of that cost and examine how our district can wrestle with those costs. It’s my goal to offset those costs as much as possible through employee pay and/or the benefits we offer.
Construction Update: Except for a few items on our “punch list” our construction is complete! The Board also approved the purchase of new lockers for the locker rooms. This purchase will be primarily funded by the activity funds tied to the Fairfax Basketball Tournament. Over the years, this money has been accrued and will be well-used in this manner.
Transportation Update: Though we have struggled this last month to get our vehicles into and out of various repair facilities, we are essentially fixed. That combined with the help from Mrs. Comstock, Mr. Palmer, and Mr. Schieffer, who shuttled buses to and from mechanics and were patient while we got things repaired, means we should be ready to finish our school year with minimal problems in our transportation department.
We have budgeted the purchase of a new van, but due to the increased amount of repairs we have had to make on our buses and vans, this will most likely be tabled until we can ensure we will be able to meet our fiscal targets this year. In other words, we won’t purchase a van until we know we will finish the year with as much money in the bank as we predicted.
The Board also approved the purchase of an IC, 71 passenger bus. We will receive full reimbursement from the VW Emissions Grant for this bus even though initial funds will come from reserve. Dare I say that next year we will have four functioning buses in our fleet? Let’s hope so and let’s hope it stays that way.
Mowing: The Board approved the Kaleb Oelze contract for mowing our school grounds for $180 per mow. They also approved the Aaron Simmons contract for mowing the football field for $130 per mow.
Board Election and Reorganization: On April 2nd, we will have a board election on the ballot in Fairfax, MO. Candidates are Mike Lewis (incumbent, President), Pat Miller (new candidate), and Josh Oswald (incumbent). Additionally, immediately prior to the 4/18/19 Board meeting, we will have our Board reorganization meeting. This is the meeting where new members are sworn in and officers are selected. This is an open meeting and you are welcome to attend.
Board Policy Updates: The Board approved a number of policy and regulation updates last night and these policies will be posted on the district website in the near future. Updated policies and regulations are as follows: P0320, P1210, P2640, P3425, R3165, R6190.
Budget Update: The Board approved the payment of the bills and I shared the following information with them regarding our district’s finances: Our current fund balance is $1,541,579.53 which equates to a 78% reserve. Our fund balance is always higher this time of year due to the receipt of local tax dollars and will gradually shrink until next January/February when we receive our next payment in local taxes.
This balance includes $201,395 of insurance payments for the roof. Money allocated for the roof must be spent only for that purpose since it comes from an insurance claim. Also, our beginning of the year fund balance included roughly $79,000 of funds that did not get spent on our roof repairs in the 17-18 fiscal year. This money will also be included with our current insurance clearing account balance in our final payment to replace the gym roof. This will cause our budget to show that we deficit spent $280,000 at the end of the fiscal year.
The beginning of the year fund balance for the 18-19 Fiscal Year was $830,418.
Year-to-date expenditures for March were $1,317,032.99 or 68.4% of our total budgeted expenditures.
Our year-to-date amount of revenue for the 18-19 fiscal year is $1,763,245.78. This is the sum total of ALL sources of revenue including Student Activity accounts.
There was no lease purchase activity and the balance in that account remains $245,742.00. Our lease purchase account is kept and managed by UMB bank. Since this account is managed by a separate entity, it is not included in our revenue and expenses except when we make payments for fees, principal, or interest. We have not recently requested any payments from UMB be made to our from this account and hopefully, we will finish our construction and have some money left over. This money can only be used for other repairs or improvements within the building.
Budgets to note:
We have doubled the budgeted amount for transportation repairs.
Salaries for coaches have been included in the athletics budget this year causing a significant increase in that budget and a decrease in our elementary and high school budgets.
The budget for operations and maintenance is close to spent due to extra snow removal and boiler repairs.
Our next Regular Board Meeting will immediately follow the Reorganization of the Board at 6:30 p.m. on 4/18/19.
Evacuation Update 1/16/19
The Fairfax R-III School District wants you to know that above all else, we value the safety and health of our children and work consistently to ensure they are safe within our care.
We want to take this opportunity to inform you of an incident that occurred today that required us to evacuate our school building. Fairfax R-III experienced an electrical fire which originated in our business classroom with one of our laptops. All students, K-12, were evacuated and the fire was put out by a staff-member using a hand-held fire extinguisher. Emergency personnel were notified, came on site, and offered assistance where needed. When the fire department had given the all clear, we allowed elementary students to return to class, but kept high school students in the Vocational Building so that neither groups of students would be exposed to the fumes from the smoke and fire extinguisher.
Because all students were safe, we kept students at school until our normal dismissal time.
We thank you for being such great supporters of our district and for allowing us the opportunity to help care for your students.
Board Meeting Summary 11/15/18
Good afternoon! What follows is my summary of the Board Meeting from 11/15/18. Our next meeting will be on 12/20/18 with a work session prior to the regular session. Times will be posted on the Draft Agenda, prior to the meeting, on the door to the Elementary School Entrance.
Our district’s current fund balance is $888,601.39. This is up from last year due to the leftover insurance payment from our roof work. When that work is done this spring, the district will pay out the remainder of that money. Expenses this month were $100,391.35, an increase over last year of $8000. This is primarily due to the purchase of a floor scrubber for the building, but there has also been a slight increase in payroll and more repairs on our heating system than last year.
There is currently a situation at the County and State level regarding the funding provided by windmill developments. To summarize the situation and give a simple explanation, wind farms currently pay property taxes as a private industry. The next development is considering selling to Ameren and if this is done, because Ameren is a public utility, they will not be taxed the same. As a private company and after tax abatement, the new wind farm would have brought us approximately $250,000 per year of new revenue. If it is purchased by Ameren it would provide us very little. Because Ameren is a public utility, state statute dictates that they are taxed at a different, lower rate than private industry. Allen Andrews and representatives from the County Commission are working to get this statute changed so that wind farms are held separate and taxed as a private industry regardless of ownership.
Our lease purchase funds have $411,589.00 remaining of the $450,000. This is after payments to the architect have been made. Our first payment to our contractor was approved by the Board and will be made this week.
The bricklayers are almost done with tuck pointing and the work around our gym windows. Braces for our beams will go in next week, and the electrician is nearly done in the locker rooms. Thank you for working with us while we continue to try to get work done.
We need certified bus drivers. We are looking at ways to streamline the practice transportation so that we don’t have multiple vehicles running multiple trips in different directions. If you get a chance please thank Melissa Comstock, Chris Easley, and Jeremy Palmer for driving our buses. Bus drivers are few and far between these days and we couldn’t have school without their help.
Also, if you get a chance, thank a winter coach. It is likely that they are transporting kids to and from practice in order to make our EA Wolves COOP work. We love the COOP and so we are thankful that they are doing the transportation.
We met with teachers the week of 11/12/18 to discuss the tracking and incentive system for elementary and secondary student wellness programs. We feel we have ironed out some of the kinks and that when the wellness committee meets again we will be able to finalize the plan for presentation to the staff in January. Roll-out of the program will be in February, so get ready to help students track their healthy choices.
Selection of an Auditor:
The district has decided to partner with Conrad and Higgins for school auditing services for the next three years. Conrad and Higgins come recommended by NW Missouri superintendents and book keepers and they were also the lowest bid.
EA Wolves COOP Meeting Report:
The COOP Board met October 30th. At this meeting we discussed the handling of finances related to the COOP including the payment of coaches and the sharing of the cost of single-site facilities. We also discussed the difficulty of after-practice transportation and the potential to cancel district transportation for students after practices are finished each day. Though there was general agreement that the issues discussed were valid, at this time the Board has made no indication that Fairfax R-3 will work to modify the current financial agreement and as of 11/19/18 we are still working with Tarkio to plan transportation before and after practice.
We work with Tarkio under two EA Wolves agreements. The first is the original COOP agreement that grew from our partnership in football, and the second is an administrative agreement which defines details for supervision, coaching, purchasing, etc. I have reached out to Mrs. Coleman, the superintendent in Tarkio, so that we could work together to combine these two documents into a single COOP agreement which can then serve as a guide for our decision making moving forward. Our current agreement with Tarkio for EA Wolves is valid for another school year.
Work Session in December:
It is the time of year to begin looking at next year’s budget, calendar, facility needs, and salary schedule. I have completed collecting information for a salary study and am in the process of summarizing data for presentation to the board during our December work session. We will also look at facility priorities and hopefully be able to present a first draft of next year’s calendar. Once we have completed the work session I will solicit input from the staff to discuss recommendations for next year’s salary schedule and calendar. We are still working from the recommendations given by the Facilities Committee in 2017-2018 to guide our discussion on facilities.
It’s my goal to have a calendar that is best for all stakeholders, a salary schedule that is as competitive as possible, and continue to upgrade/care for our facility in the best way possible.
Board Meeting Update 10/15/18
Evacuation Update 10/3/18
Special thanks to Jeff Jobs for making the necessary repairs to our kitchen oven to properly vent Carbon Monoxide out of our kitchen. Mr. Jobs made these repairs on 10/2/18 in order to have us ready for school on 10/3/18. Mr. Jobs is one of many community members who gives time to our school and we deeply appreciate his work.
At this time, all issues cited by our Empire Gas inspector for repair have been remedied. At no time did the inspector detect any gas leak within the building.
We are getting closer to creating a student wellness program! Our connected contact at 4H, Mrs. Sam O'Riley has filed a grant that we hope will help fund our program. Keep your fingers crossed!
Homecoming was a success! Not only did we dominate the football game (which should have ended at half-time) but the 5th quarter was fun for all. Thank you to all of the community members and staff who helped make that happen.
On 9/20/18 the Fairfax R-3 School Board met for Regular and Executive session meetings.
When the meeting began, Kay Rosenbaum presented a concern regarding the lack of lighting on the South side of the football field. She presented a petition citing safety concerns signed by multiple community members. KCPL has been contacted to install area lights to address this concern. Their personnel have inspected the site and the facility is scheduled for the installation of two area lights. These lights should properly illuminate the field and should cost the district $52.58 per month.
Our roofs on the Elementary, High School, and Cafeteria have been replaced with a cost of $575,632.00. Total replacement, including the gym, will be $855,157.00. The roof replacement is completely funded by insurance except for our $1000.00 deductible. The roofers also presented a check to the District in the amount of $2000.00 to cover damaged items from a leak that occurred when the elementary roof was being replaced.
The Board approved the construction contract with The Wilson Group for the 2018 Construction Project. Currently, the project involves repairs to the gym infrastructure, and upgrades to windows, bathrooms, and locker rooms. Additionally, repairs to the High School Science room and updates to the High School bathrooms will be performed. The projected completion date for this work is January 4, 2019.
The District is exploring the possibility of a grant for the purchase of a new bus. While it is in our Seven Year Budget Blueprint to purchase a bus in 2019, the grant deadline is Fall 2018. More information and a Board decision regarding the purchase of a bus will be discussed at the October Board Meeting.
During the principal’s report Mr. Barnes cited that our 2017-2018 test scores will be released October 29th.
As mentioned, the Board approved the first item of New Business, the construction contract.
The second item, Board Policy additions and changes, were discussed and approved. The new/updated policies are listed below. Please feel free to review them on our District Website:
The Board approved travel costs for our FCCLA Cluster trip in excess of $2000.00. This trip is paid for by student fund-raising but requires Board approval for costs in excess of $1000.00.
The Board approved the cost for rubber crumbles for our playground surface at $1540.00.
The Board accepted and approved the 2018 Annual Audit. We will amend the current budget after we received our actual, local taxes and again at the end of the year. This is necessary to ensure our money is assigned to areas where it can be properly utilized and that we budget based on actual revenue.
We can welcome Kriston Wheeler onto our staff again as our permanent Votec driver and kitchen help! She has worked as a sub driver and sub kitchen help while we have transitioned our custodian and maintenance positions out of those responsibilities. Mrs. Wheeler will drive the Votec route daily, perform food pickups from Hy-Vee twice per week, and assist in the Kitchen one hour each day.
Kerry Baker was approved to transition to a full time schedule. She will have an additional hour in the morning and afternoon. This additional time will be utilized to help us achieve a District goal of a well-maintained facility.
The Board also approved the purchase of a floor scrubber! This machine will be used to clean hallways, cafeteria, gyms, and classrooms. We know from testing them last year that they make a huge difference in the cleanliness of our building and Kerry can’t wait to get started using it.
Our next Regular Session Board Meeting will be October 15th at 6:30 p.m. in the school library.