The Rocket Review
Monthly Newsletter Update - February 2021
1st: No School: Staff Development Day
8th: FFA Sponsored Blood Drive at Burlington Junction American Legion, 2:00-7:00 PM
10th: Nodaway County Spelling Bee at Northeast Nodaway, 4:00 PM
10th: West Nodaway Board of Education Meeting
15th: Make Up Day - Presidents' Day
16th: Basketball + Basketball Cheer Senior Night
17th: ASVAB Testing for Juniors
20th: West Nodaway 5th and 6th Grade Booster Club Basketball Tournament
21st: West Nodaway 3rd and 4th Grade Booster Club Basketball Tournament
24th: Parent-Teacher Conferences
The West Nodaway Board of Education has placed a Levy on the April Ballot. The ballot question will read as follows:
Shall the Board of Education of the West Nodaway County R-I School District, Missouri, be authorized to increase the operating tax levy by $1.0000 per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation for the purpose of meeting the additional operating needs of the school district?
(If this proposition is approved, the adjusted operating levy of the District is estimated to increase by $1.000 from $3.5750, currently, to $4.5750 per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation for the 2021 Tax Year and can be applied to the assessed valuation each year thereafter.)
The natural question to ask here is why we need to raise more money for the district. The place I would start to answer that questions would be that in the school finance and bond business, the industry generally assumes a 2% growth will take place in districts per year as far as growth goes. If you study the history of the West Nodaway district you will find that until the present collection year we were experiencing negative growth. This means we were not experiencing growth at all in local revenue collection, we were going backwards. This only changed this year because we were able to collect tax revenues on the 13 windmills that have been placed in our district.
Secondly, the buildings and equipment are beginning to show age and are in need of repairs. A good assessment of district property and equipment would tell us that we have many issues that need addressed.
Third, we need to maintain and keep quality staff members. As you may or may not be aware this year we have 14 less district employees than we did two years ago. If present trends continue we may have to cut additional staff and we would certainly be at a bare minimum. Another item that will continue to put pressure on us as a district is that all adjoining Missouri districts now have major windmill farms in them and are enjoying major increases in tax revenue. For example, North Nodaway collected approximately an additional eight hundred thousand dollars in tax revenue this year alone. This will continue for the foreseeable future.
This puts us at a disadvantage in meeting the salary needs of teachers and staff. It puts us at a disadvantage in maintaining quality staff and providing for the needs of students.
Fourth, this year has been a difficult one in regard to school financing from the state due to the Covid-19 virus. School funding has been severely restricted and of this date has not returned to acceptable levels.
Another question that arises after the why question is, how much will this cost tax payers? Most of our district is agricultural land. Please see the table below in regard to a $1.00 levy and agricultural land. I am happy to provide residential figures as well.
Local Levy Comparisons
Additionally, West Nodaway is the 2nd largest district in Nodaway County yet we have the lowest levy in the county. The numbers below are school district adjusted levies for the fiscal year 2019-2020.
The average total levy for school districts in Northwest Missouri in fiscal year 2019-2020 (North of I-70 and West of US -65) was $4.7411. Putting West Nodaway $0.51 cents behind the average.
Bond amounts are not included in the ballot language. Additionally, I would tell you in regard to the Bond the district has. The Board was able to refinance this in December of 2019 and save over $400,000.00 dollars before it will be retired.
As always my door is open and I am more than happy to provide additional information or clarification in regard to school finances or the need for a levy increase.
Dr. Mitch Barnes
- If your child is unable to attend school, please notify the appropriate school office by 9:00 AM. When your child is seen by a physician, please ask for a doctor's note so we can verify attendance. Thank you! (Elementary: 725-4126, High School: 725-3317)
It certainly seems as though January offered up a healthy dose of snow to us. Some appreciating it more than others, I'm sure! Many of the students have shared their Snow Day stories and these stories instantly took me back to my own childhood memories of Snow Days spent sledding all day with neighborhood kids. Repeatedly sledding down a hill that took much longer to climb than it did to race down. The joys and rush of the ride keeping our minds so busy that we only surrendered to going inside when we could no longer feel our fingers and toes. The numb, tingling sensation could be so painful as we warmed up by the stove....those wonderful childhood memories may sound somewhat familiar to some of your own memories. While each one has their own memories of Snow Days, they will last a lifetime! In that regard, I find our Snow Days as time well spent as our students make happy memories that they may one day share with their children or maybe even write about themselves. Their memories will last them a lifetime and any happy memory that we can collect from this year is one that is welcomed with open arms.
Up to this point in the school year, we have been fairly fortunate in keeping our attendance at a high level, which in turn keeps our student learning at high levels. Thank you for your continued partnership to ensure our students and staff remain healthy and safe while our staff works to engage our students in meaningful learning opportunities
In February, we normally celebrate Valentine's Day with open door class parties and the exchange of valentines. As we have all experienced, this year has been very different as we work to stay healthy. We are attempting to open the building up a little more as we watch the numbers of positive cases decline. I have reached out to neighboring districts and some districts have cancelled parties all together, but I feel very strongly that we need to allow students to have classroom celebrations and exchange of valentines. With are large class sizes this year we won't really have extra room for parents and siblings to attend events that are held in the classroom, there is simply just not extra room. However we will be attempting some events that can be held in the gym in coming months.
With that being said, we will continue to limit treats for our parties to prepackaged snacks that come from a grocery or bakery and be dropped off with Valerie. She will make sure that all treats get to the designated classrooms. I realize that this health department recommendation has not been followed in the past. This practice protects the school, as well as the parent if a child should be ill due to ingredients used in the treat. While this is not a popular topic, I wanted to be upfront about why it is important to follow this as our building protocol moving forward. Our students will be thrilled to have their parties regardless of where the treats come from, so please, let's focus on them!
In addition to our students looking forward to Valentine's Parties in February, I know our community will be looking forward to the Annual Elementary Basketball Tournament! I have heard so many wonderful stories about this tournament and look forward to this opportunity to host our community, as well as the surrounding communities to this positive experience for our students. The chatter about the building has us all so excited to be participating in this event! I look forward to seeing many of you at the tournament!
Our 100th Day of School will be February 17th, unless we have a snow day or inclement weather. Each classroom will participate in some way to celebrate. Please be watching your child's newsletter from their classroom teacher with more information.
Additionally, please watch for more information on Spring Concerts on campus. Mr. Brogan is working diligently with our students to have them prepared for an on campus Spring Concert. Another great tradition to look forward to!
I appreciate your patience as we have encountered unmeasurable challenges this year and hurdled our way through each and every one that presented itself. There has been no possible way to predict the manner in which to handle every situation perfectly, but we will continue to do our very best to provide our students at West Nodaway Elementary with the absolute best education possible. Thank you for your continued support and patience as we focus on growth of our students, as well as ourselves!
High School Information:
Juniors: All Juniors will be taking the ASVAB on February 17th at 8:00 a.m. More information will be emailed to students and parents.
Seniors: Please remember to check your email for scholarship opportunities and see me if you have questions or need assistance.