SoCal board ponders upgrading facilities

Two first-grade students in Danielle Hecktor's class at the South Callaway Early Childhood Education Center hand out the outline for the class’ grant proposal for four new swings Wednesday night during the South Callaway Board of Education meeting.

Two first-grade students in Danielle Hecktor's class at the South Callaway Early Childhood Education Center hand out the outline for the class’ grant proposal for four new swings Wednesday night during the South Callaway Board of Education meeting. Photo by Brittany Ruess.

MOKANE, Mo. -- The South Callaway Board of Education heard from Craig Miller, president of Columbia-based Professional Contractors and Engineers, Inc., at Wednesday night’s board meeting about a variety of ways to work with contractors for potential facility upgrades.

He gave each of the seven board members and superintendant Kevin Hillman a copy of a short paperback book, “Rules You Should Know Before You Build Your Improvement Impact,” and guided them on the designing, bidding and building process. He pointed out that he was not offering solutions, but was acting as an adviser.

Hillman said the district has been assessing short- and long-term solutions to improve facilities in each of the buildings, giving South Callaway a three- to five-year window to possibly make upgrades.

He added that the district hasn’t solidified priority projects yet, but is closely looking at the needs for the elementary and middle school buildings because they are the oldest. Specifically, Hillman said some possible upgrade areas include:

• Completing the concrete project, especially at the high school

• Improving the drainage system and water lines

• Increasing school safety by adding doors, assessing the entrances and alarms and making the pick-up and drop-off system better

• Improving the lighting

• Installing better bleachers

“There’s not any one thing that’s more important than the other,” Hillman said.

Hillman said any projects will begin in April or May and will continue over summer vacation.

Later in the meeting, Hillman brought Missouri legislation to the board’s attention — House Bill 1189 and House Bill 1253.

House Bill 1189 would require that Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) recognize specific agriculture or vocational classes to fill “certain subject-specific graduation requirements.” Hillman said students who take vocational classes are more ready for the work force after graduation.

House Bill 1253, also known as the Broad-Based Tax Relief Act of 2014, would lessen the taxes on businesses. Although the South Callaway School Board didn’t take an official stance on 1253, the Missouri School Boards Association is opposed to the legislation.

Mary Van Orden, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, presented the Comprehensive School Improvement Plan to the board members Wednesday night. She described the CSIP review as a five-year “master plan” and “living blueprint” for South Callaway to meet its goals and support the school’s mission and vision.

Van Orden, along with administrators, parents, students, teachers, residents in the district and board members Kit Glover and Greg Kimminau, created a 22-member CSIP committee.

The committee outlined six overarching topics as areas of focus:

• Overall student achievement

• College and career readiness

• Attendance and graduation rates

• Facilities and safety

• School culture and climate

• High quality faculty and staff

Ten first graders from Danielle Hecktor’s class presented their grant proposal for four new swings at the early childhood building. The grant is through Lowe’s and the first graders worked for months to perfect the grant proposal.

The youngsters told the board that new swings would cut down wait times and boredom at recess.

“It’s amazing to me that little people like this can do great things,” Hecktor said.

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