Purdy school officials find needs to upgrade resources

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Board to buy time clock, sell a house

Several strategic contracts approved by the Purdy Board of Education moved to improve the district's technology and facility resources.

Superintendent Steven Chancellor said the student information system purchased from the STI company has become bloated with a massive volume of information. Conversion of the district's financial package opened an opportunity to address the student data.

Chancellor called the current program terrible, likely to have multiple entries for the same person with only the slightest variation between them. The STI program was not designed to manage the volume of information included, does not separate time frames, retrieves data on siblings during requests and still produces records from graduates from past decades, which are still frequently requested.

The machine has managed to thwart attempts to correct problems. Chancellor said the only two real options seem to be switching to another system or clearing the database and reentering the information. While working at the Belton school district, Chancellor said every student reenrolled every year to guarantee the accuracy of the information.

He suggested reenrolling the entire student body in a week's time, perhaps in late July and early August or possibly in conjunction with the Purdy Festival, when a large percentage of residents come to the school for activities. Reentering each person would take approximately one hour. Chancellor hoped interns could double as data entry technicians for the duration. He did not want to segregate the process by grade level, but rather, focus on households and the same mailing address.

"Bad data has caused so many problems," Chancellor said. "This will require a big commitment at our end. Everything we've got now is in one program. We would buy an archive system and PDF everything. We need to follow the record retention law [for keeping old records]. We need to get our meal accounts straight and give people a username to view their account at home."

Board members authorized Chancellor to develop mechanics of how to move to another system at the board's April meeting.

The board agreed to proceed with a $6,347 grant application made by Gerry Wass, the retiring foreign language teacher, on behalf of the Spanish Club's recycling program. Wass asked Solid Waste Management District N for funds to build a concrete loading dock on the rear side of the recycling building. Chancellor said the dock would enable the recycling operation to run without a trailer constantly parked in the back.

The grant agency asked the district to sign a memorandum of understanding committing the school to repay the grant if the dock was ever removed. The agreement did not commit the district to maintain a recycling operation in perpetuity. Hearing the agreement required no funds by the school district, board members agreed to sign the letter.

At Chancellor's request, the board agreed to buy a time clock. According to board secretary Anna Marie Erwin, the Affordable Care Act requires tracking all work done by 60 users, including 35 non-certified staffers.

"We're going to find substitutes eligible for insurance," Chancellor said. "We need to keep that as finite as possible. We'll start to see people mark down their time as 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and they don't leave till 4 p.m. We will be held liable for their time."

"That will cause our overtime to go up," said Ken Terry, board member. "If they're on the clock, we've got to pay them."

"Employees will be liable for termination for not following policy," added Ed Mareth, board member.

Cost for the time clock was $7,095, with an annual cost of roughly $1,200.

Board members approved the sale of one of three houses purchased by the district west of the elementary school entrance. Mareth Enterprises bought the house in the closed bid sale for $15,000. Neither of the other bidders came close, Chancellor said, with the nearest offering $8,500.The purchase involved moving the house and leaving the property to the school district.

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