School board elections

For an introduction to the Licking R-VIII school board candidates please see the print edition of The Licking News, page B6.

By Christy Porter
Managing Editor

The Licking R-VIII school board will have board member elections included in the General Election voting to be held on April 7. The Licking News has introductions to and stated goals for the one incumbent and the five other candidates on B6. The newly elected board members will start the new term on April 13. There are three vacancies this year, Brad Smith and Mike Hammond have not filed and will vacate their positions after 15 years and 14 years respectively. Incumbent Alan Quick, with three years of service, hopes to retain his position.
The seven board member positions are all three-year terms. To ensure that an experienced team of members remains on the board at all times, three are elected one year, two the following year and the remaining two in the third year. The responsibility and the decisions made by the school board affect the well being of the students, their parents, school personnel and the community in the short term as well as the long term. The board has two main considerations to fulfill their job requirement: 1) Ensuring that the superintendent is following policy, and 2) Maintaining a balanced budget. All other issues go through the “chain of command,” which would be teacher, counselor, principal, etc. All new board members go through 18-hours of training with the Missouri School Board Association and every board member must complete the state requirement of child abuse training every year they serve. The board evaluates the superintendent, and the administration evaluations done by the superintendent are shared with the board. Each year the board redirects itself, electing a president, vice-president and secretary of the board. There is no compensation other than the satisfaction of contributing to the well being of all concerned.
Their ongoing responsibilities include an annual budget of $7.6 million, 842 students, 131 employees and the facilities. Licking R-VIII students are consistently high performing in the district and the district is accredited by the state. In the past 10 years, Licking R-VIII has ranked in the 90 – 100 percentile in performance, state testing, attendance, graduation rate and numerous other factors. They are also among the bottom in operating finances; this currently being $2.75 tax per $100 assessed valuation. Current challenges include multiple issues, including the HVAC system, teachers, coaches and maintenance staff retirements, the aging of the facilities, the lack of permanent space for the entire student body, further enhancement of safety concerns and overall maintenance of the facilities, none of these easily resolved due to budget constraints.
The school board holds monthly meetings on the second Monday of each month. The agenda is posted 72 hours prior to the board meeting and minutes are made available with the exception of closed session confidential information, which is omitted. Attendance at the board meetings has increased in the recent past and all interested citizens are encouraged and invited to attend the meetings. Show your support for the Licking R-VIII school district, the teachers, staff, board members and, most importantly, the students by being involved.



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