W.S. school board discuss raises, lunch, scorecard

The Willow Springs School Board of Education discussed raises for staff, lunch prices for the upcoming year, and how well the students performed during the last school year. The board met on June 10 for their regular meeting.
The board announced the lunch price will raise by a dime per student for the 2024-2025 school year, from $2.40 for lunch per student to $2.50 for lunch per student. The breakfast price for students and the breakfast and lunch prices for adults will remain at their current prices. The current price for breakfast is $1.20 for students and $2 for adults. The lunch price for adults is $3.75.
Chris Waggoner presented the balanced updated scorecard. The scorecard displays the overall performance of a school. The results did not include MAP test results as they have not yet been released. The ACT Composite Score was down compared to the last 5 years, at 18.1. The highest test result was in 2020 with 19.8. The iReady Improvement score in reading was up a percentage point over the previous year to 56%. This score was highest in 2019 at 67% but dropped to 46% in 2020 and has been slowly recovering since. The iReady Improvement score for math was similar to the reading score, sitting at 52% in 2019 and dropping to 29% in 2020. This score has recovered and was at 52% for this year. This year, the school had 8 students reach their English language proficiency. This is the highest score in the last 5 years and the school had the lowest number of students receiving English language proficiency services at 52 students. The high school is reporting zero dropouts for the 23-24 school year. The final number covered was the free/reduced lunch percentage at 59.2%. This number is closer to the pre-COVID numbers of 65.5% in 2019 and 61.1% in 2020.
The school board discussed paying off the debt services with UMB for the middle school HVAC project. That debt of $1,575,000 has not been paid and the first payment was in April of this year. The school currently has the funds in their accounts to pay the debt in full. The district was presented with two options: 1. Pay off the debt. This would lower the unrestricted fund balance in the short term, but the district would be debt-free. 2. Keep the funds that would be used to pay the debt and make payments on the debt. The funds would earn an approximately yearly interest of $40,000 in revenue. A decision on this topic was not made during the meeting. 
The school board did approve a 1% pay increase for all certified and classified employees. They also approved raising the district health insurance contribution by $13 to cover the 2% raise in insurance cost and added an additional salary step for teachers with 21 years and a master's degree. The board also approved a number of policy updates concerning artificial intelligence use, board member ethics and qualifications, board meetings, and support staff leaves. 
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