The Smithton R-VI Board of Education took steps at Monday night’s meeting to plan for the district’s future by approving the district’s Comprehensive School Improvement Plan (CSIP) as well as approving the language for a ballot measure for the April election to continue the district’s operating levy.
“Since coming here in July, I have been incredibly impressed with the community’s commitment to improve the educational opportunities for the students here at Smithton, as well as supporting the administration and staff,” Superintendent Dr. Matt Teeter said prior to the meeting. “What our CSIP plan does is it provides the district with the vision that they feel is most needed for our future.”
Teeter was hired by the district last year and said one of the first things he wanted to implement was a strategic plan for the district.
“To my knowledge it has been a least a decade since the district adopted a new CSIP Plan,” Teeter said. “We took the ideas of more than 35 students, staff members, community members, business leaders and alumni to create the plan.
“Essentially we created four focus areas to guide and direct us,” Teeter added. “We feel very positive about the direction we are heading.”
The plan centers on what the district feels are four keys areas: relevant learning opportunities, recruitment and retention of high quality staff, community pride/ involvement, and building and grounds/safety.
It is the strategic plan goals that led the district to place a ballot issue — Proposition KIDS (Keep Improving District Schools) — on the April ballot.
The ballot issue is a no tax increase for the district.
“The Board of Education has been excellent stewards of the district’s finances in the past and because of that we will soon pay off our last bond debt,” Teeter said. “Essentially, the proposal is a continuation of the last bond and would not increase the taxes to the patrons of the district.”
The measure, if approved, would allow the district to receive $0.2671 per $100 assessed valuation, which, according to district figures, would generate around $108,000 for the district.
“If the voters approve this we now have the CSIP Plan in place to direct us in how we would use the funds generated from the measure,” Teeter said. “Initially our goal is to use around $80,000 of the money to increase salaries for our staff.
“Most of the remaining money would be used to purchase phones for each of the classrooms,” Teeter added. “Right now our teachers have no place other than the offices if they need to contact parents and our offices are busy places and don’t always provide a quiet location for conversations between parents and teachers to take place.”
Teeter also said the phone system would be an added security feature for the district to employ if a need occurred.
The proposed phone systems would cost the district approximately $20,000.
The remaining money generated from the levy would be used to help provide a low-cost preschool program for all residents of the school district.
“We know that as a district we must sustain ourselves locally and not rely solely on grants to pay for our programs,” Teeter said. “It is the community that can and should hold us accountable to the goals we have established.
“With their approval and support in April, we will have taken a positive step forward in accomplishing those goals,” Teeter added.
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484