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by Patty Cheffey
Stating they believe it to be beneficial to the children of the Palmyra R-I School District, the Board of Education voiced their support for a Dolly Parton Imagination Library program in the district.
Kathy Nicholson, Parents as Teachers coordinator, visited with the board about the program during their meeting last week, at which the board also heard a legislative update, adopted the 2022-23 school year calendar, approved staff contracts and hired persons to fill vacant positions.
The Imagination Library Program will provide one book per month every year for children, from ages birth to five years in the school district.
Books are mailed directly to homes, Nicholson said
“Denise Damron, United Way of Mark Twain Area wrote for a grant from the Community Foundation to provide seed money for communities in the United Way area that was not served by the Dolly Parton Imagination Library,” said Nicholson “Palmyra was given the opportunity to become a partner and provide this opportunity
“I have spent some time talking with community groups to see if there would be support. And there is,” she said.
Should funding fall short, Superintendent Kirt Malone said the board is in full support of the program.
“The school board is excited to cover any costs beyond the donations received by local groups and individuals to support the Imagination Library so all Palmyra R-1 children will have the opportunity to be a part of the program,” he said.
“The community is encouraged to support this unique opportunity to support our youngest citizens,” Nicholson added, noting the cost is $2.10 per book per month for a child, and the total cost to sponsor a child enrolled in the program is $125 for a 60 volume set of books, beginning with the children’s classic, The Little Engine that Could.
“I am in the process now of formalizing the partnership between the Dolly Parton Foundation and the Palmyra School District,” Nicholson said. “Community outreach will begin soon for sponsorships of children, along with registering children to start receiving their special book.”
She added those wanting more information, should contact her at 573-769-2191 or at email@example.com
In other business, Malone reported on education legislation from the Missouri General Assembly
He noted there is a continued push in the Missouri legislature to expand charter schools, send tax dollars to private school students, and create an open enrollment system in Missouri.
“Some of the education bills would take local taxpayer money from the public school foundation formula and give our tax dollars to fund private schools throughout the state and to fund private virtual school companies from outside Missouri,” he said. “The result of many of these bills would be less money going to Palmyra students from the state and an additional greater burden on local communities to pay for education.”
Missouri citizen already have among the highest local education burden in the entire United States, he added, noting state laws that send money to private and out of state virtual school companies would only increase that burden.
“The ultimate goal of many legislators who support this type of legislation is to privatize education. They do not care about impact this legislation would have on our students, our schools or our communities,” Malone said. “There are legislators from Northeast Missouri who continue to vote for tax credit voucher bills, charter expansion bills and virtual school bills knowing they are sending our tax dollars away creating a heavier tax burden for Missourians to support our local schools.”
The board approved the 2022-23 school year calendar, which has a starting date of Aug. 22 and last day of May 25.
Several contracts were extended by one year those of Jared Pontius, high school principal; Brian Wosman, activities director/transportation director/middle school dean of students; Kinsey Cissna, special programs director; Bridgett Augspurg, elementary principal; and Steven Kerr, middle school principal.
The board also hired Marty Smyser as the high school assistant principal/A+ coordinator/homeless coordinator/foster care liaison, and Addy Gottman as district curriculum coordinator.
They also hired Aron Knoche and Evan Hultz as high school Student Council sponsors.
Malone also reported on the 79th annual Tony Lenzini Basketball Tournament, noting attendance was improved this year. Palmyra girls played for first place and the Palmyra boys played for third place.
The board adopted MSBA ACA policy update.