It is that time of year again and all of your readers should have received their Platte County R-3 2021 Annual Report. I read it this year with great pleasure to know that this will be the last one with Dr. Mike Reik at the helm. Dr Jay Harris is taking over.
Lets take a look back at some of Dr. Reik’s greatest achievements. Debt for the district in 2007-08 with a new middle school on the way capable of handling 750 students was about $84 million, at that time the district had 2721 students. Now with just 4205 students (up just 27 students in the past three years) debt is over $147 million. As I pointed out many times, debt for almost all of Reik’s tenure has been at the highest levels of any district this size in the state.
Consider this, Grain Valley has grown more than PCR-3. Grain Valley had 400 fewer students than R-3 in 1991 and this year it has 200 more than R-3. That’s 600 more students in the same period of time and Grain Valley’s debt is currently just $57 million.
Dr. Reik states that “we continue to be one of the fastest growing districts in Missouri and our most recent projections suggest that will continue.” This year’s projections alone according to Dr Harris were off by 4.5%. That is more than the last four years growth combined. Pretty much every projection done more than a year in advance has missed drastically over the last 10 years. Conveniently, the worst misses have been before bond elections and all have been high. Coincidence?
Dr. Reik states in his message to the community that the “students continue to set the bar in the state of Missouri” exceeding the state average in state testing and the ACT. What he fails to tell you is that the district only tested 66% of its graduates last year to get that 22.2 ACT score. Logically the fewer students you test the higher the score. 66% is the lowest amount shown with DESE for R-3. Missouri shows statewide 59.4% took the ACT for a score of 20.9. Now before you get all excited about that 1.3 difference remember this includes about 3000 students from just two districts in KC and St Louis that only have 1 in 5 students testing at proficient or above on the state test and there are lots more.
So if R-3 “Set the Bar” how did Park Hill do? Well, they tested 88.1% of their students for an ACT score of 22.6. How did Park Hill do on testing last year for above basic compared to “the bar” set by PCR-3? Algebra 1: PH 71.5 PC 57.7, English 2: PH 71 PC 63.3, Biology 1: PH 58 PC 42.2 and Government: PH 62 PC 43.2. Who is setting the bar?
Now you should understand why the very manipulative and self-promoting Dr. Reik used state averages in his message, because in reality PCR-3 which he runs has not set the bar in anything but sports since he took over.
The fact is since Dr. Reik and Mike Brown took over district academics the district has quit testing in English 1 and other subjects so a comparison could not be made to other districts. They pretty much are only now testing in the state- mandated subjects. The Annual Report lists 35 Student Successes and Highlights of which only four are remotely related to areas where kids might actually get a job someday, most are sports or extracurricular activities.
Think about this. The ACT score was just 22.2 for the district but the Annual Report shows 786 students in activities at the HS had a GPA of 3.57 (A-) or higher. There are just 1321 HS students. At least 60% of students are making A’s at the Platte County High School but their ACT and state scores don’t show these as being legit grades. If they were, state and ACT test scores would be much higher. This is about the same GPA as a local private school but their ACT scores average near 25 with 94% of students taking the exam.
Over the past 10 years of Reik’s leadership R-3 has spent $7 million plus on building upgrades, only to now tear them down, several hundred thousand on the failed “Individualized learning program” and a remodel of Paxton all under the guise of a “master plan.” Now with the new schools going up to cover future growth– which appears to have stopped–Reik has to push the narrative even harder no matter how untrue it is that the district is still growing like it was from 1991 to 2010 when it is not. It is not COVID, other area schools have grown the past two years, unlike R-3.
This is the legacy of Dr. Reik. Self- promote, make up awards, paint everything as rosy, use participation awards including unearned high grades to keep parents happy and spend, spend, spend.
Dr. Harris, before about 2012 this was a good district academically. Tests were given once, not over and over again until students passed, real academic awards were won not just ones you purchased, high grades were not handed out like candy, good academics were a mainstay of the district and expectations were high, there was real transparency for taxpayers, test scores good and bad were presented to parents, high morals were maintained by district administration, school board members and a good example was set for the students.
As you take over, good luck getting the district back on track. Or I guess Make Platte County R-3 Great Again.
If any school board candidates want to know where to get the information in this letter or other district facts I have given the editor my contact info.
Rural Platte County