Newtown-Harris approves insurance plans with no rate increase

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The Newtown-Harris R-3 Board of Education approved Ozark Schools Benefits Association insurance plans on February 14. The district will continue with the eight-plan option.

Superintendent Dr. Matt Copeland reports that OSBA did not increase its rates for next year, however, a competitor saw an eight percent increase in costs.

The Missouri United School Insurance Council insurance is set for the next calendar year. The insurance covers the district’s property and resources and provides workers’ comp. Costs increased about 12 percent over last year. The district utilizes umbrella coverage for an additional $200,000 in coverage.

The board approved Sam Miller to coach the elementary basketball teams.

Breanna Millar was approved as the elementary cheerleading sponsor. She and two student volunteers, Carly Smith and Andrea Pendergraft, aim to work with elementary cheerleaders. Eight students have shown interest in cheerleading, and most will cheer and play basketball.

Due to six snow days and time missed in the fall due to a water main break, the district will hold classes on February 19 to make up the necessary time required by the state.

Copeland reported that two Newtown-Harris school buses have experienced issues lately. Princeton School Mechanic Lonny Lovett has been working to resolve the problems, with efforts delayed by supply chain issues.

The superintendent mentioned that Newtown-Harris is exploring creative transportation solutions. The goal is to address all issues before a bus inspection on February 29.

Bus drivers Dave Hartman and David Brown shared their experiences with the board, which requested more regular maintenance and frequent updates.

District partnerships were discussed, encouraging the superintendent to collaborate with others while maximizing the benefits from cooperatives and partnerships.

Copeland highlighted the advantages of being a small, rural school district, including the ability to partner with other districts in various areas. The district seeks feedback from its school partners to improve these partnerships.

Class of 1956 alumna Glendoris Crownover and her husband, Jack, donated $1,000 to the district for playground equipment after learning about the snow removal crew’s efforts during a recent storm.

Anyone interested in making a donation or in-kind gift can contact Copeland at 660-794-2245.

Thanks to Green City Superintendent Tennille Banner, Sullivan County superintendents are laying the groundwork for the Sullivan County Education Foundation, aiming to support local school districts.

Agriculture Teacher Stephanie Oaks and FFA members will participate in FFA Week activities, including a community appreciation breakfast and a leadership day trip to Kansas City on February 23.

The district is developing a school calendar based on stakeholder feedback, with results to be presented next month.

A 21st Century Grant survey indicated some interest in a summer enrichment program, with staff interest exceeding family interest. The district will explore summer school options.

A Round 2 application for a Clean School Bus Grant for an electric bus was submitted in January.

The district awaited additional vendor quotes for the School Safety Grant.

A Coryell roofing inspector will assess weather-related damages from last summer.

E-Rate funds will assist with internet, fiber, and connectivity costs, with GRM Networks typically serving as a technological partner.

Newtown-Harris will transition to security features provided by Classwize, phasing out the purchase of Blocksi website-blocking software.

A board walk-through was conducted on February 16, noting items for future discussion.

The district is exploring cost-saving measures, with in-depth discussions planned for the future.

Staff evaluations will be prioritized in the coming months as the district prepares for the next school year.

Teachers focused on mid-year assessments during a recent professional development day, learning how data informs teaching and learning.

An open enrollment bill passed the State House of Representatives, with State Representative Danny Busick voting no. Area superintendents meet with Busick regularly to discuss education-related bills.

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