Posted Date: 01/15/2021
Credit: Standard Democrat
The Sikeston R-6 School District unveiled a new look to its website this week, and parents, students and staff can also expect an app in the coming days.
In presenting the annual communications report during Tuesday’s regular monthly Board of Education meeting, Sarah Thompson, communications coordinator for the R-6 District, said the new website design is more attractive and more user-friendly.
“If you go to sikestonr6.org, you can see the new website design,” Thompson said. “It’s so much easier to find things and much more visually pleasing and more streamlined. I’m very excited about that, and I think that will help increase website traffic a lot.”
The main page/district page of the website has been redesigned and the other pages in the district will also be updated soon, she said.
Thompson said the district will also have an app, which will be launched in a couple more days.
“I think the app will be great,” Thompson said. “It has everything a parent, student, a community member could need all in one place.”
Board Vice President Matt Tanner asked if the app would also include the district’s Student Information System, or SIS.
“Yes,” Thompson said. “It will have SIS, menus, links to our social media and athletics and pretty much everything you can think of is on there.”
As communications coordinator, Thompson discussed her goals for the year, which include: providing ease and functionality to stakeholders to find all forms of communications; increasing both one-way and two-way communications with stakeholders; and increase the visibility of Sikeston R-6 branded items and access to purchase items.
Thompson said she plans to achieve these goals through the redesign and reorganization of the district and school websites and implementation of the districtwide app as well as hosting four Facebook live events and nine “Coffees with the Superintendent” through the school year; and selling branded items, implementing a “cashless campus” and branding a districtwide logo with possible copyright.
In his monthly report to the board, Superintendent Dr. Tony Robinson noted the new food service provider started serving meals to students and staff when school resumed after the holiday break.
“We’re going into our second week with our new food service, Fresh Ideas, and I would say, so far, things have been pretty positive,” Robinson said. “We’ve had some logistics we’ve had to work through, but Fresh Ideas is open to feedback. They want to hear from parents. They want to hear from kids. I think the level of food quality our kids and staff are getting is night and day. It’s a huge difference. We’re very happy with them. … We know we’re still in the honeymoon, but we think it’s going to be a good marriage.”
Ellen Wadley, architect with Fleming Architects, was also on hand to provide a brief update on the district’s bond construction projects. She provided proposed construction bid days for the buildings. She also noted C building is a month behind Lee Hunter by the timeline design. The proposed bid day for Lee Hunter is March 4 and for C Building is April 8.
In other business, the Board approved COVID emergency paid sick leave extension for employees
Connie Dement, R-6 director of human resources, said the COVID emergency paid sick leave ended on Dec. 31, and with the board’s approval, the COVID emergency paid sick leave for employees would extend through March.
A hearing was also held for the proposed Board Policy ECA which deals with building and grounds security. Dement said the Board already has Policy ECA in place, but the proposal would allow for the appointment of school protection officers. There was no board comment or public comment on the proposed policy, and no action by the Board was taken at the meeting.
Also on Tuesday, the Board accepted the audit for fiscal year 2020, which was presented by a Mike Radake with Van de Ven LLC. As of June 30, 2020, the district’s total assets were $13.15 million.
“We’re giving you an unmodified opinion… which is the highest opinion we can give you, and in these challenging times, that’s something you should be proud of,” Radake said. “It’s a tough year this year.”
There were no audit findings related to the financial statements for the year ending June 30, 2020.
However, there was one minor finding, which the certified public accountants labeled as a “significant deficiency” in “single program certification.”
A significant deficiency is a deficiency in internal control that is less severe than a material weakness, yet important enough to merit attention by those charged with governance.
In Sikeston’s case, according to the audit, “the district has properly designed internal controls which require the certifications to be reviewed and approved upon completion. The controls failed in operation because the certifications had not been designed and this shortcoming was not discovered by the person providing oversight and brought to the attention of the district employee that should be signing the certifications.” As a result, “the district did not comply with the federal program requirement that employees that work solely on a single federal program will be supported by periodic certifications. The certification verifies the accuracy of the program salary and benefit expenses.”
The district has already taken action to correct the issue. Federal program administration was assigned to a district employee, who will be responsible for completing the single program certification with assistance from two other administrators as needed. The certifications will be completed within 30 days of applicable period and then verified by the finance director and reported to the superintendent.
An update was made to the 2021-2022 school calendar. Robinson said the calendar committee asked to make an adjustment to the calendar after hearing from some parents. On the days where the district has a holiday on Monday, in-service on Tuesday and then early-release Wednesdays, it’s difficult for some parents to arrange for child care, he said. The committee recommended to move the in-service to the Friday before when there’s a Monday off for school.
Cheryl Essner, R-6 director of finance, provided the monthly finance report. Essner noted said so far the district has received $8 million in tax money of the $9.1 million it budgeted. There’s about $1 million in current taxes and also some for delinquent taxes the district expects to get, she said.
Also on Tuesday, the Board accepted the retirements of Tammy Grossner and Brenda Medlin and the resignations of Morgan Coday and Gloria Wilderness.
As of Dec. 1 districtwide in-seat enrollment was at 3,348, which is about 100 less than the same time last year.