August School Board
On Monday August 21, the same day as the solar eclipse, the Cameron School Board met in regular session. The very first order of business the Board discussed was the tax rate, which has to be done every August. This year the assessed valuation had a slight increase in personal property from $114,887,708 and to $115,260,502. There was a slight change in tax rate incidental going down six cents, which transferred to debt service to help pay it off a little faster. The tax levy was approved at $4.21, the same as last year.
Principal Brett Jones reported on the online registration, which went better than he had expected. Had 480 parents and students complete the online registration - about 87% of students completed the online registration. There was good feedback to make improvements for next year.
Jones also talked about the Cameron Youth Betterment project. The state will be coming in to hear about the community service projects the school does and the Interact Club on September 11. There will be students presented to the state about what was done last year. Jones said they weren’t sure what to expect from open house because it was done before school began, but there was a lot of traffic through the building.
Principal Tiffani Collins spoke about the Leader in Me training the staff went through. She said it was phenomenal to be reminded before we can help the students instill the seven habits in their lives, the staff had to implement them in their own lives.
Principal Laurie Mefford said the kids loved getting outside for the eclipse and it was a great experience for the kids, faculty and staff. There were 299 conversations between home and school in the communications program dojo, and with third grade parents not even signed on yet, it was a good statistic. CVMS is moving to standards based grading and information on how standards based grading works and how it will hopefully improve the information for students on how exactly their students are performing and to identify what skills they are missing.
Principal Angela Ormsby said their open house was very well attended with 85% of the parents attending. There were three parent meetings where parents could drop in any time, which were very well attended. The eclipse viewing went well, 36 parents joined them, she said the kids awed and ohhed and you wouldn’t even know it had been cloudy.
According to Jan Smith, special needs has had over thirty kids move into the district and twelve transfer out, the numbers are changing every day. The numbers are growing, but hope it evens out shortly.
Several of the staff spoke about the poverty training they went through during in-service days and what an eye opening experience it was. CVMS said it opened the eyes to some teachers that it may not be important that the student has a piece of paper and a pencil because they are lucky to be in school. Ormsby also said the poverty training was very powerful, not only on how to improve things in their building, but also as a team builder. Smith said her biggest take away from the poverty training, she was in charge of the Ministerial Alliance with the homeless shelter, transportation passes, food and clothing vouchers and no one came to her. They were standing in line at the banker, he was turning them away and even then they weren’t coming to her. It spoke to her about the fact that there were lots of resources, but people weren’t coming to her and she wondered how much that happens in the community.
Cameron Veterans Middle School presented the school board with their improvement plans for the year. At the beginning of the presentation they talked about using acuity scores and MAP data to drive the smart goals for the year. Acuity is taken across all grades in English and Math, with Science added for 8th graders. There were peaks in proficient in English in all grade levels. There was a big jump in scores for the 8th grade, which includes Algebra. Science had a little bit in advanced, but it seemed to be added into the proficient area. There were good trends all across.
During the year grades will be done on the four point scale but will still be reported out in percentages for curriculum. The goal for attendance will be to continue to increase the percentages to meet with students, parents and the school resource officer to see the trend continue to rise.
The Leader in Me training is something the entire staff has taken on and is really working with. During the summer they entered into seven contracts in an attempt to incorporate the seven habits in their own lives. At the end of the year, every grade in the building will have had instruction on the seven habits of healthy teens.
At the beginning of the year, Counselor Angela Daniels goes into classrooms and talks to students about bullying and how to handle conflicts with each other. Including information on how to do you handle it, how to report it, where to go. Daniels also hosts small groups depending on the needs of students. She also offers individual counseling as needed by students. There are forms available with Daniels and Assistant Principal Hadley, as well as online to report incidents and they have worked to steam line the process to handle issues quickly. Staff has weekly meetings to address student and staff concerns. Daniels also plans to begin to instruct 8th graders on the A+ program to make students and parents aware of the program and what the requirements are.
The final order of business in front of the board was the approval of the budget for the 2018 year. According to the budget report some of the changes to expenditures for the year are:
Personnel: Certified staff received one step and $500 dollars on the base and non-certified were given an average of 3.5% raise. In addition work was also done on the salary schedule to make the salary schedule more equitable. A salary schedule for non-certified was utilized with cooks, secretaries and para-professionals.
Balances: We are beginning the 2018 fiscal year with an estimated 32% reserve. Our student enrollment is essentially holding steady. The source of revenue based on student attendance that we need to foster is summer school attendance. Our funding continues to be precarious; the district must continue to seek ways to save the district money and to increase the revenue. Wise, responsible uses of resources is a necessity. As enrollment changes and funding streams change, priorities will be used to make the best use of the district resources to continue the tradition of excellence at Cameron R-I School District.
The budget was approved unanimously.
The next school board meeting will be Monday September 18 at 7 p.m.