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La Harpe School Board Conducts Reduction In Force (RIF) Hearing

The La Harpe school board held a hearing regarding the question of reduction in force from 6:30 to 7:00 p.m., Tuesday night, March 16, 2010 in the district library.

All board members were in attendance as well as the superintendent, principal and board secretary. 27 visitors including teachers, parents and community members were also present.

President Cindy Wear opened the hearing and welcomed all in attendance. Supt. Jo Campbell gave information about the hearing's purpose of discussing the question of reduction in force due to the unprecedented state financial crisis and opened the floor to those who wished to be heard.

Joyce Crim presented the board with a letter from the La Harpe Education Association expressing appreciation of the board's ongoing support of the teaching personnel and concern for the impact reductions may have on students.

The LEA also respectfully suggested items for the board to consider in planning for the coming years and providing children with a quality education.

Kristin Palmer thanked the board for the opportunity to teach in La Harpe District and articulated her view of the reduction process and the positive possibilities of call-backs.

Kathi Rogers presented a letter from the paraprofessionals which outlined the many ways they and the classroom teachers work together as a team to facilitate successful learning environments, and thanked the board for their support and for the opportunity to work in the La Harpe School District.

Angela Spiker and Carrie Finch spoke to the board promoting the at-risk, early childhood and special ed. preschool programs, the potential for full classes with a waiting list again next year, and the value of early intervention as it relates to later educational success. Joyce Crim added her support of the preschool program in light of increasing curriculum demands for Kindergarten and the vital role preschool plays for working parents.

Deb Pflasterer and Jamie Powelson mentioned specific ways their children have benefited from the preschool program and while they expressed understanding of the financial problems education is facing, both spoke with conviction about the importance of continuing the preschool program.

Janet McKoon addressed the board on the significance of early identification in the one-to-one speech, occupational, and physical therapy aspects of Pre-K as being foundational in order for students to reach their potential as adults.

Supt. Campbell emphasized that the RIF action is a preliminary, not final, action until the board knows what the state will do with education funding. Pres. Wear thanked all for their valuable input and adjourned the hearing.

Board Meeting

The La Harpe school board met Tuesday, March 16, 2010 in the district library. Board members in attendance were Pres. Cindy Wear, V.P. Dan Horton, Mark Irish, Pam Campbell, Rex Huston, Deanna Stambaugh, and Darren Spangler. Also present were Supt. Jo Campbell, Prin. Lila McKeown, and Jeanne Clayton. 16 teachers and parents were present.

The board adopted the resolutions of non-reemployment for 3 certified teachers, reduction-in-time for 1 support staff, non-reemployment for 1 support staff, and reduction-in-force for 9 full and part-time support staff with the anticipation of reinstating as funding allows.

Supt. Campbell gave an updated summary based on the governor's proposed budget figures of approx. $250,000 in reduced education funding expected from the state for FY2011 and addressed the $300,000 in late FY2010 state payments not yet received from the state, which are still expected at some future date.

Supt. Campbell mentioned continuing future facility plans in order to be prepared as school construction grant funds become available and gave a comparison of energy bills from last year to the current year with the 1928 building closed.

Supt. Campbell also reviewed the IWHS curriculum meeting, gave the FFA Banquet date, and announced David Pistorius will be at the May 18 board meeting.

In addition to approving previous board minutes, the financial report and payment of bills, the school board accepted with regrets the letters of retirement from Edna Collins and Dixie Bollin for the end of the current school year, and the letter of Joyce Crim's intent to retire at the end of the 2010-11 school year.

The school board accepted the preliminary FY2011 school calendar, and in line with revised transportation legislation, rescinded the bus communication device bid which had been accepted Feb. 16.

The board approved the use of 17 additional sick days donated by employees for Doug Jones for the school year 2010, and approved the deletion of closed session recordings made at least 18 months prior to the current meeting as per district policy 2:220.

Principal McKeown was pleased to report $6,016 raised during the annual Jump Rope for Heart activity, recounted news of the close of the volleyball season and beginning of the track season, conveyed results from the Pre-K and Kindergarten spring screening, and the completion of ISAT testing, severe weather drills, spring pictures, and the district technology plan.

McKeown also described the recent successful benefit dance for Mr. Jones and the PTO-sponsored Trivia Challenge.

Please note the following correction of the previous board news release:

The letter submitted to the board by Carolyn Moore in February was of her intention to retire at the end of the school year, not to resign. We regret any inconvenience this error may have caused.

Regularly scheduled LCSD #347 board meetings are held the third Tuesday of each month in the school library at 7:00 p.m.

We invite you to view agendas, news releases and approved minutes on the school board section of the La Harpe Eagles website at