2020-2021 Board Meetings
Dec. 17, 2020, Board Meeting recap
The School Board on Dec. 17 heard a presentation about planning for a $74 million no-tax-rate increase bond issue for April 2021. Superintendent Dr. Mike Slagle and Dr. Bryan Pettengill, Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services, reviewed the planning timeline and outlined priority projects. The funds would be used for: additional capacity at the high school level with the construction of a freshman center, facility updates at all schools, the construction of a performing arts center, and space for more career-oriented opportunities for students. Review the presentation.
The Board also heard reports about first semester learning, including grades and student achievement. In addition, the Board heard about plans to begin second semester following the same schedule and learning mode as first semester.
In action items, the Board approved changes to the 2020-2021 school calendar. The start of second semester moves to Jan. 11, 2021, and three Fridays during second semester will be designated as virtual instruction days for all elementary school students. The Board voted to select Kerstin Randolph as Ray-Pec's nominee for the John T. Belcher Memorial Scholarship. The Board also approved a resolution about the Families First Coronavirus Response Act which provides for paid sick and family leave for COVID-19 related absences. The Board extended the leave through Jan. 31, 2021. The Board also approved an internship agreement with Avila University.
Board honors football team and coach
Board President Ruth Johnson is pictured with Team Captain Conrad Hawley, the quarterback. Hawley was selected First Team All State and was named the Class 6 Offensive Player of the Year. In addition, Conrad received the Thomas A. Simone award, which is presented annually to the top football player in the Kansas City metro area.
Board President Ruth Johnson is pictured with Team Captain Gunnar Griffin, a defensive back. Griffin was selected First Team All-State.
Nov. 17, 2020, special meeting
During a special meeting, the Board on Nov. 17 discussed the learning mode to be used for the three-week period between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The Board of Education voted to continue with the current approach, but change December 4, 11, and 18 to limited virtual learning and teacher collaboration for the elementary schools.
The decision came after a presentation by Superintendent Dr. Mike Slagle and comments by patrons in attendance at the meeting at Ray-Pec High School. Presentation to Board
Beginning the week after Thanksgiving, students in grades K-5 will attend classes in-person Monday through Thursday. Students in grades 6-12 will continue with the A/B schedule. Early Childhood students will attend 5 days each week.
The Board also approved a change to the school calendar. The semester will end on Dec. 18 for students. Dec. 21 and 22 will be teacher work days.
Nov. 12, 2020, work session recap
The Board on Nov. 12, 2020, heard a review of the Long Range Facility Plan.
Board honors Peyton Koper for 4th place finish at state tennis tournament
RPHS Sophomore Peyton Koper was recognized at the Oct. 22 School Board meeting for her 4th place finish at the state singles tennis tournament.
Also pictured: Board Member Kim York, left; Superintendent Dr. Mike Slagle, right; and Jason Waltz, Instructional Technology Specialist, seated.
Oct. 22 Board Meeting recap
School District receives clean audit
The District received a clean audit opinion on its financial statements, compliance with laws and regulations, and internal control over financial reporting for the year ended June 30, 2020. Brad Steele, CPA from Westbrook & Co., P.C., presented the audit results on Oct. 22 to the Board of Education.
Board President Ruth Johnson was pleased with the audit report. "The audit shows that our staff is following best practices in financial policies and procedures."
Superintendent Dr. Mike Slagle agreed. "The 2019-2020 school year ended in a way that no one had anticipated," he said. "This included changes and challenges in the area of school finance. The clean audit reflects on the hard work of Chief Financial Officer Cyndee Byous and her staff to make adjustments while ensuring the District continues to be the best stewards of taxpayer funds." Read the audit report
Oct. 8, 2020 - Board Work Session recap
The School Board on Oct. 8 met in a work session to discuss three topics.
1. Discussion with Jamie Grayson
The Board heard about the People of All Colors Succeed organization from Jamie Grayson, Foundation and Chief Executive Officer. Grayson talked about the organization's work to educate and create awareness about and help reverse trends of bullying. He said that POAC is an inclusive organization that works with schools, businesses, and religious organizations to have courageous conversations to create change. POAC emphasizes acceptance for all, no matter the age, race, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or other factor. Grayson said that POAC offers a three-week student-led anti-bullying program.
2. Long Range Facilities Plan
Superintendent Dr. Mike Slagle and Dr. Bryan Pettengill, Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services, shared the results of the October 2020 community survey. Excellence K12, a Kansas City-based market research firm, conducted a phone survey of 300 patrons.
Read the Survey Presentation.
3. Schools Update
Dr. Mike Slagle reported on the status of schools during the pandemic.
Board honors Tyson King for 4th place finish at state wrestling tournament
The School Board on Sept. 24, 2020, recognized Senior Tyson King for his 4th place finish at the 2020 State Wrestling Tournament. Tyson competed in the 285-pound weight class for Class 4. Tyson was originally scheduled to be recognized at the March 2020 Board meeting, which ultimately was changed to a virtual meeting with minimal agenda items. Schools were closed for the remainder of the year. He is pictured with School Board Vice President Paul Coffman.
You can watch the Sept. 24, 2020, School Board meeting here:
Board meeting recap - Aug. 27, 2020
No increase in the tax rate. That's what taxpayers will get after the Ray-Pec School Board approved the 2020 tax levy rate at $5.1823 during its Aug. 27 meeting.
The approval followed a public hearing. During the hearing, Cynthia Byous, Ray-Pec Chief Financial Officer, explained that this rate is adequate to support the District's 2020-2021 budget as well as long range plans for future projects.
Fiscal responsibility has allowed the District to achieve at high levels, while spending less per pupil and levying a lower tax rate than most area school districts.
With a tax levy rate that has increased only once in the past 16 years, Ray-Pec continues to make gains in student achievement and graduation rates, and also has an ACT composite score above the state average. The total property tax levy of $5.1823 includes an operating levy of $4.1502 and a debt service levy of $1.0321.
Board meeting recap - July 23, 2020
The School Board on July 23, 2020, heard an update on the District’s re-entry plan for the start of school. The Board also approved a resolution to refinance certain outstanding bonds, and approved bids for fuel and a Ford Transit. The Board scheduled the annual tax levy hearing for 6:45 p.m. Aug. 27.
School re-entry update
District leaders provided the latest updates to the school re-entry plan as Ray-Pec prepares to return to school on Aug. 24. Superintendent Dr. Mike Slagle said that a team of teachers, parents and school leaders have been assisting in developing the plan. The District is receiving guidance from the Cass County Health Department, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Center for Disease Control, Harvard School of Public Health, Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and the Missouri Center for Public Health Excellence.
The re-entry plan was first emailed to parents on July 10. Several emails and newsletters have followed.
- To provide an in-person learning experience for as many students/parents who want it for as long as we can, while providing a reasonable risk reduction strategy for all.
- To provide a rigorous and relevant virtual instruction experience for those students/parents who are desirous of that experience.
The plan offered parents a choice of in-person learning or a virtual learning experience.
Dr. Al Voelker, Assistant Superintendent for Academic Services, reported that of the total expected enrollment of 6,220, a total of 5,503 students have completed registration, with 78 percent selecting in-person school, and 22 percent selecting the Virtual Instruction Program of Ray-Pec (VIPR). He shared a table showing the breakdown by school. Total enrollment in VIPR was 1,205 students.
Dr. Voelker described the proposed alternative schedule for in-person classes for grades 6-12. This schedule will provide for smaller classes, which will allow for greater physical distancing. Students at the middle schools and high school will be divided into two groups: Group A and Group B.
- Group A will have in-person school on Monday and Wednesday, with virtual instruction on Tuesday and Thursday.
- Group B will have in-person school on Tuesday and Thursday, with virtual instruction on Monday and Wednesday.
- All students will have virtual school on Fridays.
Dr. Bryan Pettengill, Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services, reminded the Board that other alternatives may need to be implemented. There may be periodic classroom or school closures due to positive cases of COVID-19. If further distancing is required, students in grades 6-12 may transition to an entirely virtual schedule, and students in grades K-5 may be spread out further by using space at the middle schools. It is also possible that all students would have to move to a virtual model.
Dr. Lisa Hatfield, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, told the board about staff surveys related to the return to school. One survey, with 500 responses, showed that 15 percent had no concerns about returning to school/work; 77 percent have some concerns but are planning to return; 8 percent have some concerns and would rather not return; and 0.5 percent have significant concerns and do not plan to return to work.
Dr. Hatfield reviewed some of the staff concerns, explaining how the District is addressing those issues. For example, in response to concerns about the availability of substitutes, the District is seeking to hire one permanent substitute per school for the first semester to provide extra support. Regarding concerns about physical distancing in some elementary school classrooms, Dr. Hatfield said that spaces like cafeterias, libraries, music rooms, art rooms, and other larger classrooms will be used as necessary.
Another survey asked staff about safety and curricular needs for this school year. The respondents asked for cleaning supplies, wipes, hand sanitizer, gloves, face masks and shields, Plexiglas barriers, individual school supplies for students and other items. The District plans to prepare a basic kit of safety and cleaning supplies for each classroom.
Michele Stidham, Director of Communication, told the Board how the District is communicating about "regular" back to school topics, such as registration, vaccinations, and bus routes, as well as topics specific to 2020. With the registration deadline now passed, the District will focus on communicating about the alternative schedule for grades 6-12, technology, safety measures, and activity updates. Stidham also said that the District was committed to sharing information with staff and families if a staff member or student tests positive for COVID-19. That communication would include any schedule changes or closures.
Review the School Re-entry Update presentation here.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, Teacher Brett Beneke praised the work taking place to plan for the 2020-2021 school year. He also requested that the Board consider delaying the start of school to allow for more time to plan and prepare.
In other business, the Board:
- Reviewed Board committee assignments for 2020-2021.
- Approved a bond refinancing resolution.
- Approved a bid from World Fuel Services Fuel Services, Inc., for a three-year agreement to provide fuel to the district.
- Approved a bid in the amount of $32,983 from Blue Springs Ford to purchase a Ford Transit.
You can watch the July 23, 2020, School Board meeting here. Please note that due to technical difficulties, it is difficult to hear the speaker at the podium.