Purdy school district adjusts staffing for coming year

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

New lease purchase approved for new construction

The Purdy school board has adjusted staffing for the coming year and received an update on construction of its new storm shelter and performing arts center.

Resignations approved included high school science teacher Lisa Reid, and two from extra duty assignments: science teacher Clint Dillow from the recycling program, and Tabitha Farris as the Student Council advisor.

One new teacher hired was Jennifer Frazier, for middle school science. Frazier has been teaching at the Berean Christian Academy.

Four teachers were approved for tenure, joining the 29 already granted that status. They were Kendale Ellis, the special education director; Tabitha Farris, high school math; Donna Fazzinni, English as a second language; and Debbie Shelton, elementary teacher.

The remaining 23 certified staff were rehired. Mindi Gates was also rehired in the capacity of associate superintendent as a certified staff member.

Superintendent Steven Chancellor reported construction on the storm shelter progressed rapidly during March, concluding work on the perimeter on March 26. Crews pushed to seal the roof before the latest round of rain began.

“[Contractor] R.E. Smith has been easy to work with,” Chancellor said. “They’re great communicators, very accommodating. They’ve bent over backwards to cooperate with the city. They appeared to work well with Paragon [Architecture]. I’ve been very impressed.”

Board members passed a resolution to adjust funds for the project. The first resolution approved using capital improvements money from Fund 4 to pay off the existing lease from 2014 on the renovations on the high school gym entrance, cafeteria and relocating the bathrooms. That cancelled the existing debt, clearing the way for the second resolution for new lease agreement on the storm shelter/performing arts center project.

“Technically we have to pay off the lease by paying it into escrow, which is due in 2019,” Chancellor said. “We needed to free up our property as collateral for a new financing program. Now, we have everything in one nice, tight lease package.”

Chancellor credited the investment banker Todd Goffoy with Piper Jaffray for the direction, in working closely with bond counsel Gilmore and Bell in Kansas City. The district was also working with the investment banking firm of Stifel Nicolaus for the new lease purchase. All three helped on passing the bond issue for the project.

“They’re good partners that can offer good advice and good strategies,” Chancellor said.

In other business, board members adopted the school calendar for the coming year. Chancellor said the calendar is largely shaped by the schedule developed by the Monett school district for the Scott Regional Technology Center. Classes will begin on Tuesday, Aug. 14 and, without adjustments for snow days, conclude on May 17, 2019. Chancellor said there were about four differences between Monett’s and Purdy’s calendars.

Three of the four professional development days scheduled after classes begin will be held on Mondays, while the first will be on Friday, Aug. 31. Four make-up days for inclement weather will fall on one of those in-service days, and four days scheduled for breaks in February, March and April. Five days were penciled in the third week of May to fill out the calendar, just in case.

The board voted to formally deduct unpaid meal balances from June paychecks for staff for whatever was outstanding at the end of the school year. Chancellor said several had requested having the practice turned into a policy, making it more of a service than the district coming after staff to collect.

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