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Board addresses IT needs

The Farmington School Board of Education approved a three-year technology plan, critical licensing and maintenance purchases for IT, approved the names for an audit committee and the planning and advisory committee and heard reports for dual credit and more when the group met Tuesday.

The board voted to approve a three-year technology plan and critical licensing and maintenance purchases for IT. Chad Pipkin, technology director, gave a presentation about long range capital technology program policy. The board approved a long-range capital program policy in February. However, the policy did not call for action until the 2012-13 school year. Pipkin said it seems appropriate to begin addressing the long-range technology needs for the district.

In order to meet student operation needs the district needs to continually upgrade the technology infrastructure, software and equipment. They need to develop and enhance quality educational and instructional programs to improve performance and enable students to meet their personal, academic and career goals, Pipkin explained.

He said it will require funding to be allocated to implement the goals and objectives for the 2012-13 school year. He said the goal for the critical IT purchases are to continue active maintenance support agreements on critical components.

Much of the previous bond issue purchases for technology were bundled with multi-year maintenance and support agreements. These agreements are now to a point of expiration and need to be renewed to ensure software patches, security updates and operational maintenance are properly addressed.  

The board also approved two district advisory committee lists. One list was suggested members for an audit advisory team and the other was suggested members for a district planning and advisory team. Superintendent Dr. Natalie Thomas said the audit advisory group was established to provide an additional venue for communication within the community. She said establishing the group that will meet two times a year or as needed demonstrates the commitment to transparency and community engagement.

Thomas said the planning and advisory team was created as the district is moving through challenges included limited financial resources, increasing requirements for instructional rigor and increasing social needs. She believes the district will benefit from the advice and counsel from an ongoing group who is familiar with the challenges and needs of the district.

Before they voted on the committees, Board President David Buerck asked for discussion if needed. Vice President Jane Bates asked if that was the final list in the packet and who submitted the list.

Dr. Thomas said she submitted the list of names for both committees but had yet to contact them but would be doing so when the board approved the names. She said the people on lists at one point expressed interest in wanting to be involved in the committees.

During the discussion portion, Andrea Richardson, Dual Credit coordinator, said they are at capacity this year and more and more students are taking classes. She said without a dual credit biology teacher they are at a standstill because students can’t complete their Associate of Arts or 42 hour general education block.

Farmington has two students graduating with an Associate of Arts and one graduating with their 42 hour general education block this year.

Mike Rawson, Food Service director, gave a report about increasing the current meal prices in the cafeteria beginning with the 2012-13 school year. He said an increase of 10 cents had been discussed and would include full paid students, staff and adults. He suggested no increase for teacher/adult breakfast and no increase for ala carte items.

The board also approved the consent agenda, the minutes from the Feb. 21 meeting, March bills, summer part-time lawn care, dual credit report, MO health occupations Epoch Report, disposal of technology surplus, revisions of policy GCBDA and GDBDA, January free/reduced eligible pupil count and the staffing plan to include new teaching positions.

The CTA thanked the Chamber of Commerce for the meet the candidates forum last week. It was also reported the CTA will be having a retirement banquet on April 23 at 6 p.m. at the Farmington High School.

Heartland Hero was giving by Sheryl Robinson to Cindy Presnell for her efforts with 4 Paws at Work.

Presnell said she teamed up a Jefferson Elementary student and his dog named Noah. Noah has helped the student work with safety, vocabulary and classes. Teachers have worked with both the student and his dog and are teaching them functions and are learning how to support others with special needs.

Featured Teacher was given to Candy Husk by Sheryl Robinson. Robinson said through the tragedy when a student in their building died in a car accident last semester that Husk stepped up. Husk has three children of her own and is involved in the booster club and does public relations at Jefferson Elementary.

Robinson said Husk is an asset to the district.

The Farmington Board of Education will hold their next meeting on April 17 at 5 p.m.

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