New faculty, substitutes hired by Purdy Board of Education

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Making final preparations for the new school year, the Purdy Board of Education gave final approval to hiring two new teachers and approved the preliminary substitute list for year.

The board approved hiring Erin Livingston to teach seventh- and eighth-grade social studies. Livingston is a graduate of Republic High School and a recent graduate of Missouri State University. This is her first teaching job.

Tracy Buntin was hired to teach fifth grade, contingent upon her successful completion of eight weeks of student teaching. Buntin is a student at Missouri State University who has passed her teaching tests.

Superintendent Steven Chancellor said under Missouri State University rules, the district cannot pay Buntin until she completes her student teaching duties. Veteran teacher Becky McNaught has been assigned to Buntin's classroom for the duration of her probation.

The board approved 14 teachers as substitutes. Five teachers new to the list are Lacey Nelson, Victoria Walker, Lacey Koehn, Kara Seay and Steven Chapman.

Board members also approved the extra duty list. Chancellor said the cost for out-of-classroom assignments rose by approximately $3,000 for the year. Vacancies remain for the middle school track and high school girls golf duties, in case someone with additional experience surfaces to take over those duties from Eli Ernst.

Changes include counselor Jamie Temple named as a homeless coordinator under Title I, a new position. Molly Strickland is the new high school cheerleading sponsor. Payden Emmett and Amanda Neely are the new FFA sponsors. Ashley Brown is the new high school FBLA co-sponsor with Kay Wright. Kelsey Trammell is the new high school girls volleyball assistant coach. Donna Fazzini is the new middle school Student Council sponsor. Amanda Rinehart is the new high school FCCLA sponsor.

After the first week of classes, attendance had risen from 637 on the first day, not counting preschool, to 700. Chancellor said 10 more students are coming. According to a tally on the day of the school board meeting, the elementary school count had risen to 259, up 12 from the original count. Principal Matt Gower said the high school count jumped by 19 by the end of the first week.

Gower had a busy first day as a principal in a new school district with some unexpected surprises. Chancellor explained Gower had to deal with some parents who were a little more vocal over a suspension from a year and a half ago, about which he had no information. Another issue surfaced with a student walking out of class. Other issues, like students who forgot their schedules, ran more routinely.

"There's nothing like getting your head ripped off by people you've never met," Chancellor said. "Mr. Gower handled it well. Most issues had been put to bed by the end of the day. He has been in most classes already."

To facilitate flow into the elementary school, Boys said she has stationed faculty in strategic stations, from counselor Gary Jurgensen at the buses to several in the cafeteria, covering all pathways.

To address financial issues for the year, the board approved a tax levy of $3.5286 per $100 of assessed property, no change from the 2014 taxing cycle. At the same time, board members declared their intention to retire $50,000 worth on bonds on which payments would continue until March 1, 2022. The bonds will be paid off five years early, on March 1, 2016, saving the district 2.7 percent interest over seven years.

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