The Cole R-1 (Russellville) School District will begin the 2018 fall semester Aug. 23, a week later than usual.
The Cole R-1 Board of Education unanimously approved the new school calendar at Thursday's meeting. Two additional half-days were added Oct. 19 and March 7 for staff members to work on grading and curriculum. Parent-teacher conferences will be moved back a week to Feb. 14, unless snow days alter the schedule.
In the meeting's regular session, Jefferson City company GBH Builders was awarded a contract for the district's upcoming construction projects with the lowest under-budget bid of $432,142 for primary and alternative plans.
The primary projects include installing a new K-8 cafeteria ceiling, metal roof, exterior wall panels, new interior metal studs, impact resistant sheet rock and LED light fixtures. ADA compliance modifications will be made in renovating a bathroom and converting a set of stairs into a ramp. The base bid will also include constructing a new loading dock and redoing the service drive outside the K-8 Building.
The board also accepted a $24,497 bid from CARE Sales & Service of Camdenton for a new refrigerator/cooler/freezer combination unit.
The board unanimously voted to allow Superintendent Perry Gorrell to enter discussion with Durham School Services for the district to potentially operate a bus for school trips. Under current policy, a district staff members need to be certified through Durham to drive a school bus.
Gorrell said the district's total health insurance cost will increase to more than $11,000. Premiums will increase from $491 to $500 per month.
Gorrell also spoke on the issue of campus safety following the Feb. 14 school shooting Parkland, Florida.
"These past few weeks have been filled with a lot of heightened concern about school safety," he said. "With each and every incident, schools evaluate their plans to make sure they are prepared in the case a situation occurs within their own buildings. The expectations that every new law places on each school in light of these situations never addresses the real issues. Mental health is a growing concern for our students. Today's students experience and are exposed to an alarming amount of situations that require support. We are fortunate that we currently have support from Pathways (school intervention program) to help individual students when they may be struggling."
In other district news, the Russellville Band Boosters raised enough money to purchase a new concert euphonium, one of many instruments the boosters hope to replace in the band's aging arsenal.
Board member Jerry Schulte noted he does not think students should have to pay $5 for high school parking registration. Gorrell agreed the school could do without charging a fee for parking permits and said the district would look into making a policy change.