SIKESTON -- Only one topic -- insurance -- caused a slight rumble during the Sikeston Board of Education's monthly meeting. And it wasn't the issue of additional earthquake coverage but that of Worker's Compensation that created the stir.
R-6 School District Superintendent Stephen Borgsmiller advised the board two bids were returned on requests for Worker's Compensation Insurance Coverage. The district received a bid of $109,456 from its current insurer and from Missouri Employers Mutual Company a bid of $105,157.03 for coverage beginning Jan. 1.
Describing both companies as very good, Borgsmiller recommended the board approve the lower of the two bids.
Boardmember Randy Bohannon suggested because the companies were of equal quality it would be better to award the bid locally. He pointed out the company employs families with children who attend local schools and support local school needs.
Because it was not noted in the bid packets local preference would be given, boardmember Dan Jennings responded it was unfair to impose such a condition after bids were submitted. He suggested, if local preference was to be given, the board should adopt a policy, similar to the one used by the City of Sikeston.
Even if a similar policy existed, Jennings and boardmember Steve Millington stated the bids were far enough apart it would not give the local bidder favorable status.
In a roll call vote, Bohannon and Kenneth Anderson opposed the decision to award the bid to MEMC. Casting yes votes and approving the Jefferson City company's bid were Jennings, Millington, Bill Priday and Robert Depro. Board President Greg Colwick abstained.
While the district currently carries $10 million in earthquake insurance, it also carries an additional $15 million in coverage on school property that expires Dec. 31.
Several insurers had picked up specifications on the district's needs but Borgsmiller noted, only one returned a bid. "The prices are out of consideration," said the superintendent, quoting a one-year cost of $58,800 for $10 million in addition coverage. He suggested the board revisit the issue this time next year and board members agreed.
A round of applause was awarded several visitors to the board's meeting.
Cindy Mayfield, a preschool teacher at the Kindergarten Center, is the first teacher in the district to receive her National Board Certification. With the announcement, Mayfield received a certificate along with a check for $2,500. The stipend will continue for the next 10 years, the same number of years for which Mayfield is certified.
As members of the Sikeston High School cheerleading squad filled the audience, Libby Tongate, head cheerleader, accepted a certificate noting the group placed second in the MCCA Championship in Columbia in November. Also honored was Justin Griffin, a SHS student who qualified for the All-State Choir.
By unanimous vote, the school board agreed to a cooperative funding venture with the City of Sikeston and an anonymous donor to construct a walking track with exercise stations along the north side of the Sikeston Middle School. According to Borgsmiller, the track was suggested by the Accelerated School Program and will provide an opportunity for additional physical education activity by students and recreational opportunities for residents in the northwest part of Sikeston.
The city will install the track with maintenance costs divided by the city and the school district.
Following a presentation by Kathy Boldrey, the board unanimously approved the district's Comprehensive School Improvement Plan Goals. Boldrey explained the district will continue with its goals to improve reading and math skills by 1 percent a year for the next five years at all grade levels and promote attendance rates of 96 percent or better.
Additional goals adopted include providing professional development opportunities, promoting programs in all school buildings that encourage students to be civic-minded, self directed and capable of leading, increasing vocational placement rates of the district's graduates and focusing on library improvements.
Only the final goal would pose a problem, Boldrey said. She explained this goal includes providing adequate seating and storage in each library as described by MSIP standards. The MSIP standards are so high, according to Boldrey, it would require expansion of the libraries, which at this time is not feasible.
In other action, the school board:
* Accepted the resignations effective the end of the 2001-02 school year of Dorothy Dean Brown, Barbara Stallings and Doug Thornton;
* Authorized district personnel to begin the search for a principal for the fifth grade Center to replace Ron Greenlee, who is retiring. The staff would like to have the hiring completed early next year to allow the individual to become familiar with the Center's operation and faculty along with working with other principals in the district.
* Heard a report on budget revisions and on various district programs;
* Was advised the district's Christmas vacation began at noon Dec. 9 with classes resuming Jan. 3;
* Received an update by Terry Schaefer on the district's technology services, noting improvements in software and hardware used throughout the district;
* Ratified the payment of bills and approved the minutes; and
* Adjourned into executive session to discuss student matters.