The Nov. 19 Mexico School Board of Education (BOE) meeting featured recognition of two retiring employees, information concerning improvement to a local elementary school, votes on several pressing matters, and one failed attempted mandate. BOE President Peter Perll began the meeting at 7 p.m. All board members were present.
The board publicly acknowledged and recognized two employees on their retirement. Betty Kleinsorge and Betty Parrott received their golden apples and a standing ovation as a small token of appreciation from the BOE and the other attendees.
In the Reports and Presentations portion of the meeting, Director of Davis H. Hart Career Center Chris Denham informed the Board of the FFA Trap Shooting Team's application for an NRA grant for supplies and equipment to support and improve their program. This is a non-matching grant meaning there is no commitment of school district money.
Superintendent Kevin Freeman spoke briefly about McMillan Elementary being identified by DESE as an Other Title I School in need of improvement (OTIS School). Freeman offered an improvement plan and explained the designation is given to school buildings who are next on the list after they identify Focus and Priority Schools, which compromise the bottom 15 percent.
In the Unfinished Business portion of the meeting, the BOE approved the 2012-2013 Audit Report with a unanimous vote.
Freeman returned to the floor to introduce several options in regards to future school calendars. While the options created discussion among the Board, no action was taken and the matter was added to next month's meeting agenda for further action.
In the New Business portion of the meeting, the dates for Board Candidate Filing were announced. Any person interested in running for a position on the School Board in the April 8, 2014 election should file at the superintendent's offices located at 2101 Lakeview Road, Mexico. Filing begins on Dec. 17, 2013 at 8 a.m. and will end Jan. 21, 2014 at 5 p.m. The names of qualified candidates shall be placed on the ballot in order of filing. There are three positions available with three-year terms. The seats are currently held by Dustin Pascoe, Beverly MacFarlane and Patrick Maguire.
The Board also voted on the renewal of their current insurance coverage with the Missouri United School Insurance Council (MUSIC) with the same umbrella coverage as last year with the addition of the cyber coverage. The vote to renew was 6-1-0 with Elwood Rice as the lone dissenting vote.
During the discussion and explanation of the inclusion of cursive writing instruction in the elementary schools, Rice offered a motion mandating the continued instruction and emphasis of cursive writing instruction. The motion was seconded by MacFarlane. The vote on the motion was 2-5-0 with Rice and MacFarlane voting in favor of the motion. "As long as I have been a member of this board, we have never mandated that anything specific be taught," said Maguire. "We aren't about to start now."