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School board gives nod
to Head Start in Platte City

by Kim Fickett
Landmark reporter

The Platte County Head Start program will call Platte City home next year.

A unanimous vote by the Platte County R-3 School Board approved a proposal requesting the implementation of the Head Start program at Rising Star Elementary.

The program, which is currently located at a Catholic Church in Weston, serves 25 children, hopes to at least double the number of children served by relocating to Platte City.

With the approval from the board, next year's Head Start program will add a second session and will now include a morning and an afternoon session.

The board's nod on the proposal places the district in a one year agreement with the Head Start program. Dr. Mark Harpst, superintendent of Platte County R-3, stated that if space becomes an issue within the district, that both parties agreed Head Start would need to find a new location.

In other business, Harpst gave the board the January enrollment update which outlined a 22 student increase since January.

"The numbers reflect that growth continues in Platte County R-3," Harpst told board members.

Harpst also gave a legislative update regarding schooling funding from the state.

"There's a lot of buzzing but not a lot being finalized," stated Harpst about the current situation in the legislature. "There's a possibility of cuts before the school year's over.

"There just isn't a big enough pool of money there for everyone to share. It doesn't look very positive right now."

The board was also given an update regarding the revenue of the budget. Currently, Harpst stated there are $1.2 million taxes still out there in delinquent and protested taxes.

"Usually we're at a 95 to 96 percent collection rate right now," said Harpst. "There's no need to push the panic button yet, we'll realize that money eventually, it just may take some time."

While the revenue for the district may be a little behind where it normally stands, Harpst reported that the expenditures for the budget are in check and under what was projected at this current time.

After some concerns warranted by principal evaluations, and faculty and staff of the district, the board chose to extend the food service contract with OPAA for another year.

Concerns raised in the evaluations involved food handling issues and portion sizes.

"They've had unfortunate issues with staff turnover which put them in a bind," said Gregg McPherson, assistant superintendent of Platte County R-3.

After discussion and recommendation from McPherson to extend the contract, the board voted unanimously to renew the contract with OPAA.

A ball field project update informed board members they hoped to begin grating on Monday, as well as start with the footings for the baseball fields. The old dugouts and existing sidewalks have also been torn out to prepare for the new dugouts and seating to be installed.

The next board meeting has been rescheduled for March 14 at Central Office due to scheduling conflicts. Teacher evaluations are slated to be the main topic on the agenda.