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District reports increase in some funding, attendance

The Farmington School Board of Education amended the calendar to include make-up snow days for the current school year.

Days will be made up on April 1 and 5, May 14, 17, 18, 19 and 20. Summer school will begin June 1. Any additional snow days will be added to the end of the regular school year. The last day of school as of now is May 20.

Don Eaton, finance director, gave a report on the student count and enrollment. Enrollment is taken once a year in September, Eaton said. However, membership numbers are taken twice a year in September and January.

Building attendance secretaries have completed their January membership counts. The total number of membership for January represents an increase of 73.7 students compared to the January 2009 count. After reviewing the last six years data for January membership count, 2010 is the highest point and 2007 is the lowest point. The January 2010 count is 148.74 students greater than the average of the preceding five years and 185.59 students greater than the January 2005 count.

According to Eaton, if students are half day students they are considered full-time in the district, and students that the district pays tuition on are still considered full-time in the district. 

Also during Tuesday’s meeting Principal Angie Winch recognized Washington-Franklin Elementary School. She began by noting the 12 student council members. There are three from each fourth grade class. They have been active with Mrs. Whitener as their sponsor this year. Winch said the school had one of the best toy drives and canned food drives in history. The students started a monthly newsletter to send to parents, a school store ran by students, rang the bell for United Way and are currently planning an end of year school carnival.

The Heartland Hero this month is Janna Bell, who helps out with reading counts, types published copies of writings and works in Santa’s shop. She also helps with field day and fun day at Washington-Franklin.

Featured Teacher for February is Lisa Miller. She has been a teacher for 13 years at Washington-Franklin. It was said she is fun and energetic and always has a positive morale. She knows what kids need are and makes sure she reaches them. She is well organized and follows up with students after the leave Washington-Franklin. It was added that she is an asset to the school and students.

Jeff Williams, assistant superintendent, spoke about federal programs. He said Title 1 had enough of an increase for the current school year allowing the program to be self-supporting for the second year in a row. Because of the increased funding less money had to be transferred from various other federal programs to support Title I.

The Title 2 funds have historically been used to pay the cost of two elementary teachers as a part of the class size reduction program. For the second year in a row without having to supplement Title 1, the Title 2 program was able to cover the cost of a third elementary teacher for the 2009 to 2010 school year.

Title 4 funds remained basically the same for 2009 to 2010, and the district received Title 3 funds for the first time in several years.

Williams also gave a report on free and reduced lunches in the district. When comparing this year to the last two the district realized a 5.6 percent increase from 2009 and an 8 percent increase from 2008. The district as a whole has a free and reduced count of 50 percent, which is the highest in recent memory.

He said the numbers are a sign of the difficult economic times that our community is currently facing. The district is working to ensure all eligible families are made aware of this program is a small way the district is able to assist families trying to make ends meet. The numbers associated with any school district’s free and reduced lunch program are used to drive funding in a variety of ways including federal programs.

Dr. Ashley Krause, director of special services, gave a report on the Caring Communities -School Based Service Worker report. The funding from the Caring Communities program comes from a variety of sources. Department of Social Services pays for 35 percent of one SBSW (School Based Student Worker) staff member, Missouri Health Grant 100 percent of health clerk duties and 25 percent of one SBSW staff member.

The SBSW also participates as board members for the St. Francois County Community Partnership. Involvement with the County Partnership has enabled the district to tap into the state and county resources that are offered to assist students in families in areas such as drug and alcohol intervention, suicide prevention, and other areas of profession development.

The district offers one social worker and two school-based service workers. Marsha Petty serves pre-Kindergarten through fourth grade, Chris Burch serves fifth through eighth grades, and Debbie Fajkowski serves ninth through twelfth grades. Jennifer Harrington serves as the health clerk from pre-Kindergarten through twelfth grades.

The next school board meeting will be March 16 at 6 p.m. at the Farmington School Board of Education building on Ste. Genevieve Avenue.

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