The end of the school year is rapidly approaching. I've always prided myself on ending the school year strong. Thank you for your continued work on helping our students and our school be successful. Have a great end to the year and let’s finish strong!
Aleesa Hill, Fort Osage junior, scored a perfect 36 on her ACT in April! This is an amazing accomplishment and we are extremely proud of her. On average, less than one-tenth of 1% of all test takers earns the top score. Upon graduation Aleesa is considering attending college at Missouri S&T, Stanford or MIT to study engineering. Congratulations to her and all the educators who helped her along the way with this achievement.
Team Fort Osage is a committee of Fort Osage staff comprised of 16 members (8 certificated and 8 classified) that provides feedback to me regarding salary, insurance, the calendar and other employee-related District matters. I have met with the committee two times this year and we are scheduled to meet again on May 20.
Team Fort Osage was developed in response to HB 1413 which prohibits the District from negotiating with organizations in regard to salary and benefits unless the organization is approved through the election process governed by the Department of Labor. If you would like additional information regarding HB 1413 or the origins of Team Fort Osage click here to view the information that was previously posted in November.
The following information was discussed with Team Fort Osage regarding the budget.
-The 2017 levy passage allowed Fort Osage to have a balanced budget the past two years. Previously it had been ten years since Fort Osage operated on a balanced budget.
-Maintaining a balanced budget is a priority of the Board of Education.
-Due to Fort's low assessed valuation, the District relies heavily on the state for funding.
-State revenues are lower than projected so we continue to closely monitor state funding.
The following information was discussed with Team Fort Osage regarding health insurance.
-Providing quality health insurance continues to be a priority for the District.
-The District is currently in its second year with Humana. The current plan runs until December 31, 2019.
-The District will begin receiving bids this summer for the January 1, 2020 renewal. Humana as well as other health insurance providers who elect to submit a bid will have the opportunity to do so.
-The District's claims have increased over the past year and are currently at a 92% claims loss ratio.
-Data from Humana indicates that our current renewal with them would be capped at a 16% increase with a 4% buy down due to the Go365 participation. Continued participation in Go365 could help to buy down the premiums more.
-According to our insurance broker, CBIZ, our current insurance plans are among the best in the metro. Fort Osage contributes more money to HSA accounts than most other Districts at $142.68 and $81.58 for our two high deductible plans. Some area Districts contribute $0 to employee HSA accounts.
-The continued increase in health insurance premiums makes it challenging for the District to fund insurance increases as well as provide enhancements to staff salaries.
The following information was discussed with Team Fort Osage regarding salaries for the 2019-2020 school year.
-I will recommend to the Board in June that certificated staff on the salary schedule will receive steps and movement.
-I will recommend to the Board in June that classified staff on the salary schedule receive steps. Further, per the classified salary study performed last year, those employees who are still below market will receive an extra step.
-It costs the District approximately $900,000 in additional funds to provide steps and movement for all employees.
-As much as the budget will allow in order to maintain a balanced budget, the District is looking at a small increase to the salary schedules.
Congratulations to the CTC robotics team who recently traveled to Houston for the World Championships. After three days of competition among the 67 teams from around the globe in their division, Fort Osage finished in the top 16. Having previously finished strong in the other competitions this year Fort Osage had a season to proud of. The team and the coaches should be commended.
For those of you interested, 4 Royals tickets will be given away to the Sunday, June 9th Royals game vs. the White Sox. There will be two winners drawn with each person winning two tickets each. To enter please send an email to email@example.com with "Royals" in the subject line. Entries will be accepted until 8:00 am on Monday, April 29.
Give Away prizes are not purchased with District funds. Only Fort Osage employees are eligible to enter the drawing.
It never ceases to amaze me how dedicated the staff is at Fort Osage. Thank you for being such a valuable member of the team and making this a special school district. You are directly impacting the lives of our students and making a life-long impression on them. Enjoy spring break and I look forward to seeing you upon your return.
Providing quality health insurance for employees continues to be important to Fort Osage. With the cost of health insurance continuing to rise it is important to be familiar with the factors that impact costs. It is important to be engaged in the Go365 program so we have the opportunity to buy down our insurance premiums.
Below is a link to a video that provides a summary of the factors that impact Fort Osage’s health insurance premiums.
Congratulations to the CEA teachers of the year who were selected from their building. A reception will be held in their honor on Thursday, April 11 from 3:00-5:00 pm at central office.
Blue Hills-Melissa Hall
Elm Grove- Lori Huber
Indian Trails- Michelle Brooker
Fire Prairie-Paul Dial-Scruggs
Osage Trail-Stephanie Nichols
High School-Kim Meneses
Since we have had 11 snow days, the last day of school will be Thursday, May 30. The change in the last day of school caused summer school dates to change as well. With input from the summer school staff, the district decided to reduce the number of attendance days for summer school from 23 to 21 rather than extending into July. As a result, the times at the High School and Osage Trail have been extended to meet the state requirement that students attend at least 120 clock hours to award credit.
The Board of Education will be asked to approve the summer school dates and times at the April board meeting.
I am pleased to report that the agreement between the Fort Osage School District, Mid- Continent Public Library and Community Services League to provide library services and a food pantry to area families at the old Early Childhood Center on 24 highway is progressing. A remodel of the interior of the building (at no cost to the district) will begin in the next few weeks. The goal is to open the building for services this summer.