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Blair Oaks board deals with key issues

Blair Oaks board deals with key issues

January 11th, 2017 by Phillip Sitter in News

By summertime, there will be a few changes at Blair Oaks R-2 school district, but for now the groundwork for those changes continues to be laid out — literally, in the case of the new turf at Falcon Athletic Complex.

As reported to the Blair Oaks school board Tuesday night by district staff member Corey Felten, the cold and icy winter weather of the past few weeks has slowed the work some, but the delivery date for the new turf is set for next Tuesday.

The board also OK'd a fundraising idea from  the Falcon booster club to cut up and auction off pieces of the current Falcon logo at the center of the field.

Given most of the turf will be recycled, Superintendent James Jones said most people won't be allowed "to go out there and cut out pieces with a knife."

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However, the board approved the booster club's idea — albeit the condition of the turf underneath the surface is unknown.

"It sounds good if (the pieces) cut out good," Jones said.

The search for a new middle school principal following the announced retirement of Julia Gampher at the end of the current school year is underway, too.

According to Jones, here is the tentative timeline for finding the next middle school principal:

  • Jan. 31: application deadline
  • Feb. 1: screening
  • Feb. 7-9: interviews
  • Feb. 14: anticipated new hire date
  • July 1: expected start date of new contract.

For more information and application materials, interested candidates may contact Janet Verslues, Secretary to Superintendent, Blair Oaks R-2 School District, 6124 Falcon Lane, Jefferson City, MO 65101, or call at 573-636-2020.

The last filing date for Blair Oaks school board candidates is 5 p.m. Tuesday. Jones said six candidates had filed so far, but one had rescinded, leaving candidates Paul Mudd, Nicki Russell, Doug Moeller and Scott Farley, as well as incumbent board Vice President Peggy Luebbert.

Board members Tim Van Ronzelen and Matt Fifer are not seeking re-election.

In terms of the district's budget, Jones said he feels "really good about where the budget sits." He reported a net savings from two budget amendments of $7,451.

He also laid out what it would take for the district to see the construction of a new high school any time in the near future.

Jones said the district's bonding capacity is currently limited to about $10.8 million, and it would take at least $15 million to build a new high school for approximately 600 students.

The district could build some things now with a $10.8 million bond increase, but Jones warned against building "half of everything" — a gym, library, cafeteria, auditorium with half its needed capacities — just to be able to afford the proper number, size and quality of classrooms.

Expanding the capacity of the larger facilities later with another bond issue "would cost three times the money to do it right the first time," he said.

The district's options then are to wait, or hope the Legislature raises the percentage a district can ask for from its tax base.

Assuming continued growth in the district, waiting would mean the district might have $15 million available around April 2020. Board member Greg Russell noted construction costs will rise in the interim, too.

A more immediate answer may come from the Legislature, if any bills are put forth that would let districts ask for more money through bond issues.

Jones said a 20 percent bonding capacity would be helpful in expediting high school construction in the district. He said legislative reform would not be "forcing anybody's hand" but would simply give the community a chance to vote on larger bond issues.