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R-3 says five-year plan may require tax increase

by Kim Fickett
Landmark reporter

A presentation on Vision 2007—the Platte County R-3 School District's master plan for the next five years—was a highlight of Thursday's school board meeting.

The Vision 2007 Strategic Plan analyzes three areas including: student achievement/curriculum/technology, student programs/student services/district operations, and facilities/finance/community relations/long-range planning.

According to Ron Harmon, assistant superintendent who made the presentation to the board, school board members were very receptive and supportive of the Vision 2007 presentation.

"Vision 2007 is a strategic plan and still an evolving process," said Harmon. "We received overwhelming support from the board regarding our objectives. But the strategies stated underneath each objective are still being developed and undergoing fine tuning."

School officials have said implementing the five-year plan may require a future increase in the district's tax levy.

Student Achievement objectives state 1) Students will be held accountable for performance on standardized tests and/or classroom work. 2) The district will strive to achieve a drop out rate of two percent or less throughout the planning cycle. 3) The district will reduce the number of students scoring at the Step 1 or Progressing levels in all subject areas on the MAP test. 4) The district will continue to offer competitive salary and benefits to attract and retain quality teachers.

Curriculum objectives include 1) Examine curriculum, instructional techniques, and class sizes to insure foundational concepts are in place to support and enhance individual learning within the basic skills and traditional content as cited in the Show Me Standards. 2) Explore the expansion of fine arts and elective/enrichment offering in grades K-12.

Technology objectives state 1) Increase personnel to support technology in the areas of training and maintenance. 2) Increase access to technology through curriculum, Internet access and hardware.

Student Services/Programs/District Operations objectives are 1) The district will improve opportunities for all students with emphasis on At-Risk and Exceptional students. 2) The district will upgrade the safety and security of students/staff. 3) The district will improve the efficiency of district operations.

Facilities/Finance/Community Relations objectives state 1) Renovation/Expansion of existing facilities. 2) New facilities to meet future enrollment needs. 3) Provide financial resources to support a "model" school district. 4) Continue to improve school/community relations by establishing cohesive strategies that will facilitate school/community partnerships and collaborative efforts that will improve the quality of life for the school and community.

Long term objectives include 1) Evaluate the need for a new high school. 2) Continue land acquisition.

Harmon stated, "Vision 2007 is contingent on our growth over the next five years, if it is going to represent what we are expecting and the finances of the entire process. The whole plan depends on the finances."

The board of education also approved the addition of a backstop to the softball/baseball field project. Board members voted to accept the recommended bid of $5,200 from Guier Fence Company Incorporated.

Board members also heard a recommendation to purchase four new buses. Gregg McPherson, assistant superintendent, recommended trading in the district's two oldest models and replace them with three 2003 model 78 transit buses and one bus equipped a wheel chair lift and tie downs.

"This will allow us to increase our fleet size from 21 to 23 buses and add an additional route for next year," said McPherson.

The board approved the purchase of the four Thomas buses from Midwest Bus Sales for a cost of $239,886, after trade-in.

The buses will be financed in a five-year lease purchase agreement.

Julie Bogart of the Platte City Schools Parent Teacher Association presented the board with a $500 check in recognition of "Salute to School" month.

The board awarded a $1,000 Belcher Scholarship to senior Devon Paul for an essay contest sponsored by the Missouri School Boards Association.

Resignations were accepted from Jolene Palmer, paraprofessional, and Stephen Reiff, bus driver/substitute teacher.