By Shannon Rapose
Kern Valley Sun
The South Fork Union School District Board Meeting opened with the pledge of the allegiance and was called to order at 6:05 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 14.
Four board members, President Dale Creighton, Clerk Sherry Nichols, Board Member Daures Stephens and Board Member Eric Hafenfeld, were present for the meeting, while Board Member Karrie Bunting was absent.
After approving the evening’s agenda, a couple of the board members vocalized their excitement as they reviewed the Communication and Correspondence section that revealed the attendance for grades Kindergarten through eighth grade had gone up from the previous year.
The MOT report was given by Bob Shive, in which he stated that they were “pretty well caught up.”
Jacob Rudnick from the Afterschool Program reported that there are currently 55 students attending the Afterschool Program and that the ASES Grant they received technically covers up to 40 students. However, there is no penalty for going over the limit if the ratio of 20 students to one supervising adult is met, which is currently the case. The Afterschool Program has also fully implemented the Frontier Transportation Grant that they received to help transport students home since the first day of school for three students and more to start in the near future. They are currently doing art projects, helping with homework and have the swimming program going with a Kern Valley High School student as lifeguard. The Afterschool Program’s Yearly Attendance and Continuous Quality Improvement Reports are being finalized and will be filed in October.
Nichols gave the South Fork School and Community Foundation Report, stating that KVAP had a good season, and with the help of a First 5 grant they received for the program, have more than $7,000 still at their disposal. The Foundation will also no longer be overseeing the day-to-day operations of KVAP, but the program will still be under the “umbrella” of the Foundation’s non-profit status. Nichols also reported that 28 more bricks for the “That’s My Brick!” Fundraiser have been ordered which benefits the “Field of Dreams” project to build playing fields and a track for students of South Fork School and community members to use. Nichols also reported that the Foundation had about $22,000 in funds and that they are planning their annual shoot out coming up, as well. Villani added that the Foundation is also exploring options for fundraisers that involve the Junior Pheasant Hunt and another 5K Run.
The School Site Council Report was given by Superintendent Kim Villani, in which she stated that two members attended a Safe Schools Seminar training at the county office, which will help to update the South Fork School safety plan.
Summer Campbell gave the Staff Report, stating that arrangements for Camp KEEP have been made and their scheduled timeframe is ideal for tide pools and other fun things at the camp. Campbell also reported that the fifth and sixth grade students have raised just over $5,000 of the $15,000 that they need to attend Camp KEEP, and have fundraisers planned as well as donation requests to send out that will help the students reach their goal. Campbell was also happy to report that the Student Council meetings are full of enthusiastic students and the new elective Leadership class is also having a positive impact on the students.
Superintendent Villani reported that they had a good Williams inspection and are just waiting on the final report from that. She also stated that Back to School Night was a success as well. She also went on to say that Pearson, a company who provides schools with educational services, was able to come to the school to do professional development for the Kindergarten through fifth grade teachers in English Language Arts and she said the trainer was very impressed with the staff at South Fork School.
Stephanie Holman added on to the Staff Report that students had a great time visiting with two CHP Officers and a Firefighter that came out last week during Community Helper Week. She also stated that the staff decided to do the Veteran’s Day Celebration at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 8.
Rudnick also added that there is a special field trip planned for a select few middle schoolers to visit a condor refuge near Maricopa on Sept. 23 to continue on their studies of condors that were started in May.
The meeting moved on to the Personnel and Business and Finance portions of the agenda, with all actions approved without question.
Nichols also wanted to mention to the board that the preschool savings account “looks healthy” at the moment, but also stated that they will need to keep an eye on the preschool budget because the grant that they received from First 5 was cut back, as were all First 5 grants in order to not shut down grants completely, and may leave them short in funding for the next three years. However, they are still fundraising and collecting tuition, but she wanted to warn that additional funds may be needed.
Villani directed the board to go over the budget for the last three years in the Unaudited Actuals document and was excited to report that the school was projected to be at $90,000 in deficit spending last year, but actually came in at $15,000. She also wanted to point out that there was a $70,000 budget increase just in benefits from 2015-2016 to the 2016-2017 school year.
The board meeting was adjourned at 6:45 p.m. The next South Fork Union School District Board Meeting is scheduled for Oct. 12 at 6 p.m. in the middle school cafeteria at the Kelso Creek campus.