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Edison Extra, R-3 deal
on summer school is off

by Shana Haines
Landmark reporter

A much-publicized proposal that would have had a nationally-acclaimed private summer school company providing services to Platte County R-3 at no charge will not happen after all.

That announcement came at a meeting Tuesday night of the R-3 board of education.

Superintendent Dr. Mark Harpst told the board that the Edison Extra summer school project will not go forward. Harpst said Edison Extra had decided to not continue with the project that would offer summer school classes for R-3 students at no cost to the district.

Reason for the decision, Harpst said, is that Edison Extra would actually lose money on R-3's program. Harpst said a $40,000 loss would be experienced by Edison Extra.

School officials indicated R-3 will provide its own summer school program as it has in the past.

Last month, Harpst had said Edison indicated it would provide services to R-3 even though the company knew it would experience the $40,000 deficit.

"They have indicated they would experience a deficit of about $40,000 but they appear willing to do it in exchange for the opportunity to market their success with a district like ours," Harpst said last month.

In other business, Harpst announced during the meeting that state funding to the district would receive minimal cuts.

Harpst said originally funding on the state level was going to be cut $259 million to Missouri schools, but now had been reduced to $61 million in cuts.

The funding cut will mean $13,000 would be taken out of R-3's wallet. The funding cut, Harpst said, would not greatly impact the district.

"The cuts are minimal to our district. They are certainly not devastating compared to other districts," Harpst said. "I don't know what will happen next year."

Although funding will be cut to the district, that has not slowed down R-3's vision of growth.

Harpst said he has received several proposals from architects and construction managers for the proposed middle school bond issue project.

The school district is expected to take a bond issue to voters in April 2004 for the purpose of constructing a new middle school.

During January's meeting, the board agreed to interview architects and construction managers for the project. The board stressed there were a few things they were unhappy about on previous projects constructed by their team of architects and construction managers.

At 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 27 board members will meet to interview candidates.

"There is a lot of interest. We have a strong future in building, and a lot of people want to be involved in that," Harpst said.

If constructed, the new middle school would be located on the 70-acres recently purchased south of the Northland Career Center.