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State funding issue may be felt by local schools

by Kim Fickett
Landmark reporter

The difficulties with state funding from the Missouri legislature are almost certainly going to be felt by school districts across the state. The only problem is each district is unaware of how deep the effects will be felt on their district.

Superintendent Dr. Mark Harpst of Platte County R-3 School District told board members at Thursday's meeting that a positive outcome in the funding of the formula seems unlikely.

Harpst stated that one avenue the legislature is pursuing is the possible cutting of MAP test funding by $7.7 million of the $12 million set aside for testing. The current recommendation by the legislature is to eliminate all tests with the exception of math and communication arts.

Harpst reminded the board that it's only a recommendation and that nothing has been set in stone.

"It's a tough time in Missouri right now as far as state funding," stated Harpst. "I see this recommendation as a step backwards."

Harpst also stated that the legislative session, which ends May 10, is also the deadline for the budget. "They are nowhere near meeting that deadline, so the legislature may be looking at an extended session," said Harpst.

According to Harpst, the funding that was cut for the special education program last month is temporarily back in the budget.

In other business, board members approved the proposed $150 tuition increase at Northland Career Center. For a consortium member the tuition will increase to $2,400 and for a non-member/adult class the cost for tuition will increase to $2,650, an increase of six percent.

According to NCC director John Hall, the increase in tuition is reflected by state funding.

"The increase will cover up the losses from the state and include the average increases we see each year of general expenditures," said Hall.

Board members also approved rebids for the Northland Career Center for roofing, residence flooring and mechanical. Sellers and Marquis were awarded the roofing bid for $277,734, Desco was awarded the residence flooring bid for $9,941 and Edwards McDowell was awarded the mechanical bid for $157,307. Currently the total cost of the renovation of the Northland Career Center is over $1.175 million, which is $110,563 under budget.

Paxton Elementary will be seeing the expansion of its playground area due to the addition of another class in the building next year. The PTA stated it will donate $7,300 to the project, while board members approved a $7,500 donation for the playground equipment.

The Missouri Department of Education acknowledged Barry 7th and 8th grades in the top ten "most improved" in MAP testing. The acknowledgment comes from the most combined percentage of students scoring at the proficient and advanced levels in the MAP testing. Barry 7th grade was recognized in communication arts, and Barry 8th grade was recognized in math and social studies.

In the building report updates, the engineer reported that everything was on schedule. At Siegrist Elementary, they're currently hanging duct work and the roof is being worked on. At Paxton Elementary the top level of the building is scheduled to be roofed next week, with the lower level roof completed. Contractors are completing masonry work at the high school and are working on completing kitchen walls.