Bulldog Bytes

Newsletter for Employees of the Mexico59 January 11, 2017

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Continue reading Bulldog Bytes in the weeks to come for the dates for the 3 technology nights sponsored by FBLA.

Board of Education meeting recap by Superintendent Kevin Freeman

Hey, did anyone notice this week that 4:30 PM came and went and it was not dark?! There is a lot of winter to go yet, but it is nice to notice tangible evidence of the daylight hours getting longer. The shortest day of the year, Dec 20th, was only 9:24:45 long. Today will be 9:39:43. I will take that 15 minutes!~

Board Meeting Summary

Last Thursday, January 5th, the board of education met to approve construction bids and to discuss the upcoming budget. It has taken a very long time to get here, but after months of planning and a successful bond issue last April, with the approval of bids we are set to break ground next week (a ceremonial groundbreaking is tentatively set for 3:30 PM Tuesday at the MS). Already a construction trailer has been moved onto the MS campus and temporary fencing will be going up shortly at McMillan, Middle School and Eugene Field.

A financial summary of the project:

$15,680,000 Bond issue total (funds available for construction and associated costs)

$13,559,241 Base construction hard costs (costs of the physical buildings, process & materials)

$ 324,430 Alternates accepted (AG classrooms, Haw cafe’, PK driveway)

$ 1,425,895 Construction soft costs (all the design work, inspections, fees, permits, etc, etc…)

$ 370,434 Left in budget

The project includes the following work: MS Gym/Storm Shelter, EF Classrooms/Storm Shelter, EF HVAC/Windows, McM PK Classrooms/Storm Shelter, HS Kitchen, Haw Kitchen/Cafe’, More secure entrance vestibules at EF, Haw, McM, Additional drive & parking for McM PK addition, Additional restrooms & reworked entrance/offices at Hart Career Center and Tuckpointing/Stone repair at MHS.

During the budget discussion part of the meeting the board reviewed and discussed the possible cuts to the budget. A natural part of that discussion was the four-day week calendar option. There are many strong opinions surrounding the possibility of a four-day week for students. While a final decision was not reached, the board is definitely leaning away from the four-day option right now. There are many reasons for this thinking.

The board recognizes there is staff and community support for four-day, but they also are concerned that it has not been successful in all districts (in Missouri, the Lexington school district went back to a five day week citing community concerns). Mexico would be by far the largest district to attempt a four day week and the “most city” (trying to express that we have a lot of our school age population living in town - - we are not “urban” but we are not nearly as “rural” as others on a four day week). Many of the normal and natural concerns are present as well, including child care and hunger for students who get buddy-backs and otherwise live in food-insecure situations.

There is also a concern of “perception” with regard to just how important is education to us if we cut a day of instruction. The school system is critical to future community and economic development and there is concern a four day week would be considered a negative by businesses considering relocating to Mexico.

Additionally, while not discussed very much, the large budget item of grade centers was briefly brought up for consideration. Even if there was overwhelming support for grade centers, with the construction this summer, especially at Eugene Field, moving to grade centers would be next to impossible. There is too much moving of furniture and fixtures to accommodate such a change in a summer when we are doing lots of construction work. And if for some reason construction runs long, under our current configuration, we can start school with existing facilities. In a grade center configuration, we would not be able to do that.

And this summer’s construction is another knock against moving to a four day week right now too. To finish school before Memorial Day in May on a four day week, school needs to start the first or second full week of August. This fall I’d like to start the third week (August 23rd in fact) to give us more time to wrap up construction.


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Retirement reminder

For those getting ready to retire in 2017, in order to be paid for your sick leave (maximum 100 days); anyone wishing to retire must have their notice into Bethany Collins by one of the following days, per Board policies GCPC and GDPC:

Certified Staff: March 1, 2017

Support Staff: March 18, 2017 (for those retiring on the last day of school)

NOTE: Those retiring on any other day then the last day of school will need to give 60 days notice in order to receive payment for sick leave.

ALSO NOTE: This is only for retiring employees; resigning employees are not eligible for the sick leave payout benefit.

Is kindness a luxury? from Seth Godin's Blog

Luxury goods are only consumed when we've got enough. You shouldn't go shopping for a Birkin bag with your last dollar.

It's easy to believe that kindness is like that. We need more reserves, perhaps, before we can expend some of what we've got in this generous way.

You've had a hard day, it's raining out, the world is changing, your boss is mean to you, the checking account is overdrawn, you're on deadline...

But... Does every need have to be filled, every emotion in place before we're capable of being kind?

Do we have to have enough money, enough confidence about the future and enough of everything else we crave before we can find the space to offer someone else a hand?

It turns out that the opposite is true. That kindness is a foundation for the rest. That investing time and resources in extending ourselves shifts the rest of our needs in precisely the right direction, not only putting us closer to satisfying those other needs, but enjoying the journey as well.

Kindness rewards the giver as well.

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Bulldog Bytes

Bulldog Bytes will be available in your in box each Wednesday (with some exceptions around Thanksgiving, Christmas, & Summer break). Send items to be published to jdiffenderfer@mexico.k12.mo.us. These items can be wedding photos, birth announcements/photos, fund raisers for sports and civic clubs, and other district wide communication needs.