By Sheryl Stanley
The Harrisonville R-9 School Board took the necessary steps at its July 28 meeting to reopen schools later this month in a manner as normal as possible during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic by approving a formal written return to school plan to govern the fall semester, Aug. 24-Dec. 23.
The vote was 6-0 in favor of the plan with member Nancy Shelton absent from the meeting.
In presenting the plan to the board, Superintendent Paul Mensching urged the members to regard it as a “living document,” something that could be adjusted and refined to fit whatever circumstances may arise.
“We are living through an unprecedented period in our history, and our first priority is the safety of our students and staff. We continue to hope for the best while we plan for the worst.”
The keystone of the plan allows parents to choose whether their children will attend classes in person or use virtual learning platforms during the fall semester. Parents were asked to make their choices known to district officials by August 5.
It also sets forth a comparison of in person classroom instruction versus virtual learning and contrasts the expectations for virtual learning during the coming semester with those from last spring.
Also during the meeting, the board approved the sale of a $10 million general obligation bond issue to L.J. Hart & Company, St. Louis, the district’s municipal bond underwriter.
Voters approved the sale of $22 million in general obligation bonds during the June 2 election.
According to Brad Wegman, vice president of L.J. Hart & Company, the bonds, which are available in $5,000 denominations, carry an AA+ rating from S&P Global and are scheduled to mature March 1, 2037 through March 1, 2040. Wegman said local banks, Commerce Bank and Country Club Bank have committed to acquire some of the bonds.
During the meeting, the board took the opportunity to honor its secretary Susan Brooker, who was named the Olive T. Ritchie Educational Office Professional of the Year by the National Association of Educational Office Professionals.
In other business, the board:
•Approved a contract and service agreements with Summit Technology Academy, Lee’s Summit, allowing local students to enroll in the academy as space permits and to access online programs;
•Approved a contract with Kansas City Behavioral Health Holdco, Kansas City,
• Approved a contract with Kelsay Speech Therapy, Urich;
• Approved a contract with Physical Therapy Plus, Boulder, Colorado, for specialized services;
• Approved a contract with the Harrisonville Police Department for two school resource officers.
•Approved the selection of Duane Martin, EdCounsel LLC, Columbia, as the district’s attorney.
• Approved the 2020-21 student handbook, employee manual and board manual as presented.