Weekly Update 2-12-16

Wright City R-II School District

Great Day Wildcats!

As I type this, snow blankets the ground outside my window. I hope it brings joy to you, but no slips or tumbles! My kids are still young enough that I get to see their excitement when the world turns white and fluffy. It reminds me of my youth...much like the cartoon below. Well...the next best thing to being young is having young ones around in my humble opinion.

Enjoy your day!

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  1. What is an entomologist's special area of interest?
  2. Is buckwheat gluten-free?
  3. How old was Elvis Presley at the time of his death?
  4. What is the name of the new Harry Potter adventure?

Legsilative Update

In the Board Packet, I put down the bills that had hearings this week that could have impact on education. Feel free to look those over. Two were on the start date of school. Two were on spending increase caps in education. Things will heat up in April, but we are seeing a few things get air time.

A few things that keep getting attention is the 'start date' bills. There were 5 submitted. This week, 1 has been withdrawn, and another has been told it will not obtain a hearing. To see more about those, please look at the board packet on our website.

The appropriation came out of a House sub committee this week with $77 million in additional funds for the Foundation Formula. While it is short of the Governor's request for $85 million, it is a good sign.

HB1432 has yet to be heard. Filed by the Representative out of Arnold, this is a very short bill that could have negative implications. It is in response to the MU Professor Melissa Click, who after the incident on the quad, was put on administrative leave while an investigation was occurring. Basically, the bill states that no public employee can be on leave longer than 30 days. By that 30th day, a hearing must be held and determined if a misconduct had occurred or not, and thus firing. Why that is troubling is that in some cases (thankfully not here in my 8 years), the investigation is out of our hands. DFS, or law, or so on. And, in some of those cases, we would be privy to only the accusation during the investigation. Yet, we would have to hold a hearing and find on misconduct or not and terminate or not without any facts. That isn't wise, and potentially troublesome for all involved.

There is also a bullying bill that was filed but has yet to be heard. It has the potential to change much and in a variety of directions, I'm told. We shall see where that goes.

Keep tuned in. Mid-May will be here before we know it and they will be done.

New Administrator Program

As you know, we have a Training New Teacher program that has gained national attention more than once. We named it such to have the fun acronym of TNT. This year, we started a new administrator version. We couldn't think of an equally dominant acronym...so NAP it is :-).

One of the things we had our new administrators do this year was to shadow a student for a day. They were not to look at what the teacher was doing, but what the experience is like for a student as they navigated a day in our halls. When were they engaged? When were they inspired? When were they bored? When were they challenged? When did they have busy work? Were they excited about what they experienced, or concerned?

All 3 were very glad they did this activity. They were at times so proud of what they saw compared to what they recalled of their own educational setting. One followed a little guy who has been a frequent flyer to the office. She saw that he handled structured activities well, but when he had more choice or freedom to self-regulate, it was very hard for him. One saw that the student was so engaged except for one hour...when there was a substitute present. The sub did nothing wrong, but it is just a big drop off of what the experience is with the regular teacher who knows where you are, have been, will need to go as well as built up relationships with students. One mentioned the various levels of expectations from setting to setting and how that flavored the student's participation. It was eye opening and a reflective piece. Overall, they were excited for our students and the educational experience they receive.

They also read Yong Zhao's book, Catching Up or Leading the Way. The reflection we had is how much more meaningful assessments are today than when they were students themselves. We talked about what it would look like in the future to make them even more meaningful. We also talked at length about creativity, which is Zhao's big push, and what he claims is the U.S.'s biggest educational asset.

The book was written in 2009, so some of the technology things mentioned have already happened. But, it does have some great ideas to consider. If you are interested, I have a few copies. Feel free to stop by and 'check out' one.

Wright City Foundation

Below are the notes from the Wright City Foundation meeting on February 3rd. If you are a recipient, please get with your building principals ASAP to do a PO and purchase the items. If you did not win (we had nearly $10,000 in applications), please feel free to reapply in the future!

Review of Foundation Grant Applications. After discussion, the Board

decided to fund the following grants: Digital microscope, slides, and

camera for K and First Grade - $780; 12 LEGO Simple Machines

Classroom Packs for K and First Grade - $812; LEGO brick sets, battery,

boxes for K and First Grade - $600; DBQ Project for 8th Grade Social

Studies - $675; and Die Cut Letter & Number Sets for Early Childhood -

$700. $3,567 will be awarded in grants.

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Kudos #1

The Wright City High School Concert Band was one of 9 schools to perform at the recent MMEA conference. I'm guessing 700 to 1,000 people watched our young Wildcats perform. Kudos to Bill and Emily, as their kids knocked it out of the park! 5 songs. So strong. So good. They represented us so well.

Kudos #2

The FBLA recently qualified 16 students for state! Kudos to Robin Taylor and her kids on a great day and good luck to them at state!

Kudos #3

East Elementary, led by Amy Pritchard, hosts an hour and a half science Saturday each Saturday of February. This past Saturday was on magnets. They had a great crowd and the kids loved it. So many staff members helped out with this. Kudos to the East Staff for making meaningful experiences and connections with families and their students. Awesome!
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Kudos #4

Thank you to all the administrators and teachers who attended the MAP Medal Night last night! I loved seeing the joy and hugs as we honored our students.

I'm also thinking that we need to do something other than give out medals. Any suggestions on how we can better honor our student's achievements next year at this ceremony?

Interesting Facts

Below are some numbers that economists continue to watch. This could impact funding in the future.

By 2020, the United States will have more people 65+ than school age.

Between 1950 and 2000, the 65 and over population grew by 85%.

Between 200 and 2030, this same bracket is expected to grow an additional 87%.

In 1950 in Missouri, those over 85 represented 0.5% of the population (21,000).

In 2000, that same bracket represented 2% (99,000).

By 2030, it is predicted that it will represent 2.5% of the population (176,000 people).

The good news is we are living longer on average! We also are seeing fewer teen pregnancies. The teen birthrate has had a 10% decline since 2012 and a 57% decline since 1991. We are also having less kids.

The bad news is that the pyramid of age breakdown (with the largest populations with younger people, and each age bracket that is older getting smaller and smaller as you go) appears to be a thing of the past. Instead of a pyramid, it is more of a rectangle. That means less workers per retired person. It also means more health costs needed. The elderly and disabled account for 27% of the Medicaid eligible population, but account for 66% of the program expenses. That means new growth in state revenue needs to go toward these costs at an increasing rate.

We are also seeing growth of kids on Medicaid. From March of 2013 to October 2015, it grew by 53,941 kids. The good news is that is those in need of service getting the service they need. The tough part for legislators is that they need to put funds into the system at a high rate!

That is why you saw the Governor's State of the State address mention an increase in the hundreds of millions for health care, but $85 million for education. It will be interesting to watch this over the years as two big needs advance.

Missouri General Revenue and how has it changed over time

The following will show the fiscal year, the general revenue growth percentage, and the total general revenue. Take a look at the last number for 2008 and 2014!

2002 = -2.9% = $6.21 Billion

2003 = -4.58% = $5.92 Billion

2004 = 7.08% = $6.34 Billion

2005 = 5.76% = $6.71 Billion

2006 = 9.25% = $7.33 Billion

2007 = 5.24% = $7.71 Billion

2008 = 3.73% = $8.00 Billion

2009 = -6.91% = $7.45 Billion

2010 = -9.08% = $6.77 Billion

2011 = 4.94% = $7.10 Billion

2012 = 3.25% = $7.34 Billion

2013 = 10.1% = $8.08 Billion

2014 = -1.9% = $8.00 Billion

2015 = 8.8% = $8.70 Billion

The Governor is assuming 2.8% growth for this year. The first half was at 2.67%. He is assuming 4.1% for next fiscal year.

SB 509

This is a bill that passed in a previous session. It states that when revenue grows by $150 million of more, then tax cuts will go into affect the next year.

The problem with that logic is that if you look at 2008 to 2014, the actual growth is 0! But, 3 of those years would have been greater than the $150 million. However, it doesn't look at the making up of an economic downturn due the a recession that lasted nearly a decade. Instead, it is a straight year to year number.

Each year the growth exceeds $150 million, it causes a tenth of a percent in maximum tax rate, 5 percentage point income deduction for business income and additional personal deduction for those below $20,000. If we surpass the $150 million this year, which it appears we will, that will cause a tax cut of $145,679,000 next year.

Summary of Missouri State Revenue

The state is in relatively good budget shape, although total revenues have not grown a lot since FY 2008. Much of the growth is related to capital gains.

Medicaid growth will compete with K-12 funding in the near future.

The aging of our state population will also put pressure on future Medicaid expenditures.

The next two years, due to SB 509, will have significant tax cuts, which may stunt future revenues.

A little math humor

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Board of Education Meeting

Here is the agenda for Thursday, February 18th, 2016 at 6 p.m.

  • Call to order and roll call of members
  • Pledge of Allegiance
  • Approval and Adoption of the Agenda
  • MSBA Board Meeting Review
  • MSBA Meeting Report by Mrs. Groeper
  • Public Comments
  • Middle School Presentation (Choir)
  • PAWS Reports
  • Behavior Task Force Study Group (90 day group to look at current practices and possible recommendations)
  • Award the Asphalt Bid (for the HS parking lot)
  • Baseball Proposal (to offer a Freshman or C level team due to high numbers of Seniors and Freshman. One year request)
  • Legislative Update
  • OBOE Award (These are awards MSBA gives out in 6 areas. Last year we were one of two winners of the Human and Organizational Capital award winners, along with Springfield)
  • American Oasis Bill (pulled from regular bills so one member can abstain from voting due to a relation)
  • Bills
  • Employment
  • Transfer Funds from Fund 1 to Fund 2 to cover certified salaries
  • Cannon Contract for the Water Project (at the HS...the bid was already awarded, but all contracts need to be approved by the board of education)
  • Overnight Choir Trip


No School for kids on Friday and Monday. PD Day on Friday. Offices shut down on Monday, President's Day!

Saturday, Feb 13

  • Robotics Team Qualifier Event (Balwin, Mo)
  • Saturday Science Club at East Elementary (10 a.m.)

Tuesday, Feb 16

  • JV Boys and Girls Basketball home (but at MS) vs. Van-Far
  • Varsity Girls and Boys home (but at HS) vs. Van Far

Wednesday, Feb 17

  • JV Varsity Girls Basketball home vs. Trinity

Thursday, Feb 18

  • JV/V Boys Basketball home vs. Valley Park
  • Board of Education meeting

Friday, Feb 19

  • FFA/Red Cross Blood Drive!
  • JV/V Boys and Girls Basketball vs. Wellsville-Middletown

Last day of school, as of today, is Monday, May 16th.

From the desk of Konee Box

Please remember that all demographic changes (name, address, phone number) are required to be made in the SISFin portal.

Also, the district will only make name changes after all documentation is received in the central office showing proof of name change for PSRS/PEERS, social security, drivers license and certification/ professional license.

Trivia Answers

  1. What is an entomologist's special area of interest? Insects
  2. Is buckwheat gluten-free? Yes
  3. How old was Elvis Presley at the time of his death? 42 (younger than I...wow!)
  4. What is the name of the new Harry Potter adventure? Harry Potter and the Cursed Child