Cape school board holds first meeting of semester

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Cape Girardeau school board addressed a nearly empty audience Monday night for their first meeting of the fall 2007 semester.

Franklin Elementary School principal Rhonda Dunham shared some news with the board regarding a grant that the school had recently been awarded from the History Channel. According to Dunham, $10,000 was awarded to be used in a history preservation plan centering on the Lorimier Cemetery.

Third-grade students will be assisted by Southeast Missouri State University college students in the project, which is aimed at teaching students at a young age why cemeteries and their histories are important.

Payment in bills was a topic questioned by board member Paul Nenninger. Nenninger questioned finance director Brenda McCowan about payment practices as they relate to travel and conference expenses.

He said that his main concern was if a board member were to falsify reimbursement by collecting another member's rightful reimbursement that there are currently not sufficient checks and balances to prevent this type of fraud.

McCowan assured Nenninger that no one would receive another person's payment since receipts are collected and reviewed prior to any reimbursement checks being paid out.

The teacher-driven professional development was reviewed and questioned by Charles Bertrand. Bertrand suggested that nine week assessments would be brought to the board in an effort to maintain progress throughout the year instead of solely through the annual reports.

After some debate, board president Steven Trautwein assured Bertrand that these sorts of benchmarks in progress were being closely monitored at the administrative levels of each school. Bertrand withdrew his initial request.

Participation fees were discussed and all board members agreed that students should not be charged next school year. More information is being gathered for the next meeting so that possibly spring participation fees will not be charged and fall fees, those that have already been used toward new football uniforms, may be refunded to the individuals in the future.

Dr. David Scala requested that members of the board volunteer to head up a committee to oversee the process of naming new facilities and possibly renaming old facilities in the school district. After several suggestions, it was decided that as the need arises the committee with collectively work toward any naming issues.

A brief overview of the Comprehensive School Improvement Program revealed that everything in the plan is on track. Scala said that the nest possible steps toward the CSIP goals were to implement math coaches for students and to provide even more training focusing on teachers.

Before dispersing into closed session regarding hiring firing and other staff changes, Trautwein said that he would like to revisit the list of items put into place in the past to help a feeble budget prosper. Now that the budget is prospering, the board agreed with Trautwein that re-establishing lost items, such as the participation fee changes, is something that they plan to revisit at the next meeting.

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