I’m grateful for each staff member making profound contributions toward student success. Please accept my sincere gratitude for the countless things you do to make our District successful. Thank you for helping make Fort Osage a special place to educate students. You are truly making a difference each day!
On February 25 Governor Parsons announced that the COVID-19 vaccine will become available to school staff in Missouri beginning March 15. As previously communicated to staff, Fort Osage has already partnered with Truman Medical Central to administer the vaccine onsite once it becomes available for those who have elected to receive it. Minutes after the Governor’s announcement, we contacted Truman Medical Center to schedule a date for the vaccine to be administered at Fort Osage. They have already responded and are working quickly to create a vaccination event schedule, which they plan to share the week of March 1. We will continue to inform staff as new information becomes available.
Team Fort Osage met for the third time this year on February 19. It was a productive meeting with good feedback provided by the committee. There was discussion about the budget, health insurance, school calendar, second semester learning and the April 6 bond and levy issues (information provided below on each). The next Team Fort Osage meeting is scheduled for April 9.
Current Fiscal Year Budget (Ending June 30, 2021)
Fort Osage's biggest revenue source is state funding. Despite the fact that state revenues are running far ahead of this time last year, the state has withheld funding from schools. The District has had some additional expenditures due to COVID-19 (PPE, staffing, hot spots, etc.), however, there are some line items that have had fewer expenditures (travel, professional development, etc.). All told, with the addition of CARES money, Fort Osage is currently running a balanced budget.
Next Fiscal Year Budget (Beginning July 1, 2021)
There are three major factors that will impact Fort Osage’s operating revenue for next year. These factors include state funding, the Jackson County assessment and the levy transfer found on the upcoming ballot. We are monitoring the state budget and the allocation to public schools as the state legislators are statutorily required to pass the budget by May 8. Separately, Jackson County is in the process of assessing properties which will impact Fort's local funding. Last, the no tax increase levy transfer (Question 2) on the April 6 ballot would provide additional operating money with its passage. All three of these factors play a significant role in Fort Osage’s budget next year and will not be determined until later this spring.
As always, we will continue to monitor things closely. The budget will be presented to the Board for their approval at the June meeting.
On January 1, 2021, Fort Osage joined the SipGKC consortium with Blue Springs, Grain Valley and Smithville School Districts.
The last day of school is currently Tuesday, June 1. The next three days missed due to inclement weather would be added to the end of the calendar (I hope we don’t have any more snow days). Summer school will end on June 30, 2021, regardless of any additional days missed by reducing the number of summer school days offered. Currently the first day of summer school is scheduled to begin on June 2.
We briefly discussed the calendar and plan to submit it to the Board for approval this spring.
Second Semester Learning
I’m proud of the hard work the staff has demonstrated by implementing safety protocols for the entire school year. We are encouraged by the decrease in active cases and the increase in sub fill rates at Fort Osage. The transition of hybrid students back additional days has gone well at Fire Prairie and Osage Trail. The next grade levels to transition back will be the 9th-12th grade students on March 8.
Bond and Levy
The District has two questions on the April 6 ballot. Question 1 is a no tax increase bond issue and Question 2 is a no tax increase levy transfer. The committee was encouraged to share information with parents and patrons when possible. Additional information can be found on our District website. If anyone has any questions, please reach out to me at email@example.com.
With a few locations in Independence, a $20.00 gift card to Go Car Wash will be given away to one lucky winner utilizing the RNG. For those of you interested, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Car Wash” in the subject line. Entries will be accepted until 8:00 am on Monday, March 1.
Giveaway prizes are not purchased with District funds. Only Fort Osage employees are eligible to enter the drawing.
Regardless of the position you hold in the District you play a crucial role in the success of students. In the midst of a pandemic Fort Osage employees have continued to overcome adversity to ensure the students' needs are being met. Thank you for your dedicated effort to the Fort Osage School District. You are truly making a difference every day!
The past two weeks I have had the opportunity to meet with staff across the District regarding the April 6 election. As discussed there are two issues (No Tax Increase Bond Issue and No Tax Increase Levy Transfer). In order to keep staff well informed there will be ongoing communications throughout second semester until the election. We will provide factual information that can be shared with parents and community members. If you have any questions please let me know.
The legislative session will run from January 6 to May 30. The session is already proving to be eventful with over 150 bills introduced that would impact education. I am keeping a close eye on several bills including SB 55 which would be extremely detrimental to public education. The bill looks to use funding to expand charter schools, create education scholarship accounts for students to attend private schools, allow students to apply directly to MOCAP vendors by circumventing their local school district and allow home school students to participate in MSHSAA activities without meeting the same participation requirement as students who attend public schools.
To help celebrate the Chiefs' appearance in the Super Bowl a $25.00 gift card to Rally House will be given away to one lucky winner utilizing the RNG. For those of you interested, please send an email to email@example.com with "Chiefs" in the subject line. Entries will be accepted until 8:00 am on Monday, February 1.
Give Away prizes are not purchased with District funds. Only Fort Osage employees are eligible to enter the drawing.
Team Fort Osage met for the second time this year on December 4. It was a productive meeting with exceptional feedback provided by the committee. There was discussion about budget, health insurance, school calendar, staff COVID leave days, second semester learning and capital projects (information provided below on each). The next Team Fort Osage meeting is scheduled for February 19.
The state has withheld funding from schools despite the fact that state revenues are running ahead of this time last year. The District has had some additional expenditures due to COVID-19 (PPE, staffing, hot spots, etc.) however, there are some line items that have had fewer expenditures (travel, professional development, etc.). All told, with the addition of CARES money, Fort Osage is currently running a balanced budget. As always, we will continue to monitor things closely.
You may recall that the District is changing insurance starting January 1, 2021. Fort Osage will be part of the SipGKC consortium with Blue Springs, Grain Valley, and Smithville School Districts. The health insurance provider will remain with Cigna.
2022-2023 school calendar
The committee provided feedback regarding the placement of professional development days as well as spring break. The calendar will look similar to past years. After finalizing the calendar, it will be presented to the Board in March.
Staff COVID leave days
We are proud to be one of the few Districts in the metro providing this benefit for our deserving staff. The leave will be extended to June 30, 2021 and be increased from 20 to 25 days total.
Second Semester Learning
As previously communicated, we are planning to begin the second semester in the same learning format we are ending the first semester.
Once we return to school second semester, we will monitor our active cases, quarantine rate, and sub fill rate to make a decision, when it's possible to begin transitioning our hybrid students back additional days. The transition will be no sooner than mid-January beginning with our 5th and 6th grade students.
The next grade levels to transition back will be the 7th and 8th grade students followed by the high school students. There will be a minimum of two weeks between transition periods. When 5th-12th grade students return from hybrid learning they will attend four days per week. In order to provide additional support for students we will maintain virtual learning on Fridays. We will give as much advance notice as possible regarding upcoming transitions.
In order to address projects outlined on the District's master plan, at their January meeting, the board will consider placing building projects on the April 2021 ballot.
As part of this process, the District met with a community engagement committee and performed surveys to patrons and staff in order to receive feedback on the proposed projects. The projects being considered are improvements to all school kitchens, a new gym at the high school, a new transportation/maintenance/central office building, Blue Hills Elementary and central campus parking lot improvements, FOHS band room improvements and Fire Prairie traffic improvements. After the January board meeting more information will be provided to staff.