Early childhood education should be at the top of the Rolla school district’s priority list, the school board agreed at a recent work session.
And Superintendent of Schools Dr. Aaron Zalis noted the district could, if voters approve, issue $4 million in bonds without raising taxes.
On Saturday morning, Oct. 13, the school board met for breakfast at the home of board President Jeanne Cavender. This meeting was called a board planning session that focused on early childhood education.
The directors convened at 8 a.m. and adjourned at noon.
Minutes for the meeting were released in the agenda packet at the Nov. 15 school board meeting held at the D. Kent King Administration Center at Rolla Technical Center.
Those minutes included this information:
• “Dr. Zalis informed the board that (bond counsel) Greg Bricker has indicated that the district could have a $4,000,000 no-tax increase bond issue in 2014,” the minutes note.
• If voters would be willing to pay a little higher levy, additional money could be raised. “A 10-cent bond issue could generate $11,000,000 and a 25-cent issue could generate $20 million,” the minutes noted.
• An early childhood program would target 3- to 5-year-olds.
• Where would an early chilhood center be? “Suggestions included changing elementary schools to grade-level facilities, moving the ninth grade to the high school, building on to current facilities and building a separate facility,” according to the meeting minutes.
• The school board would like to collaborate with S&T, East Central College, Parents as Teachers and Head Start on this project. “Also, current early childhood care providers would be encouraged to participate and possibly attend training sessions,” the minutes noted.
• The public will have some input. “Dr. Zalis will contact Patron Insight to do a survey to gauge the community’s attitude towards the district,” the minutes report.
Other business was also discussed:
• “Capital project funds will be used to improve the high school cafeteria,” state the minutes.
• “Community track improvements need to be made. These improvements include seating, asphalt, lighting and concession stand,” was recorded in the minutes.
• The board noted the Turf by 12 Committee is still raising money to replace grass on the football field with artificial turf.
• “The district is well-run and organized,” state the minutes. “We should be promoting outselves more community- and state-wide.”
• Improvements are being made on the school’s webpage.