Kirkwood High School student newspaper

The Kirkwood Call

Kirkwood High School student newspaper

The Kirkwood Call

Kirkwood High School student newspaper

The Kirkwood Call

BOE discusses community engagement, taxes, and boundary adjustment waivers

The Kirkwood School District Board of Education met at Robinson Elementary to discuss taxes, priority goals concerning community engagement, and waivers included with the boundary adjustments on Monday, Sept. 18.

Each September, the board must approve tax rates for the fiscal year. Property taxes were recorded to be lower in the next year than they had been in the past 33 years. District funds are however predicted to increase along with assessments increasing. The district said its goal is to remain as financially stable for as long as possible. However, new legislation caused community questions. A Kirkwood community member expressed concern that senior citizens are at a disadvantage due to high property tax increases. 

“Just because the other [school districts] are low doesn’t mean that we should be,”she said. The woman continually questioned the board for a response as they remained silent due to board policy. She replied “do your homework.”

District Officials presented the priority goals next which were focused on creating a sense of belonging and dignity across the Kirkwood school community. Priority Goals 3.1 and 3.3 focused on developing a wellness program within the school for both students and staff. Goal 3.2 details crisis training that individuals in each school building have undergone and promotes a committee to evaluate the School Resource Officer (SRO) program which is projected to roll out by early October. Goal 3.4 develops new ways of discipline in schools and addressing concerns with dissatisfaction in administrative communication. 

The next priority goals presented were focused on enhancing communication in the community and establishing processes to improve this communication. Priority Goal 4.1 detailed several steps for Kirkwood schools to improve connections between community members, such as utilizing social media platforms like Instagram and expanding Let’s Talk to track responses and customer satisfaction scores. Goal 4.2 takes a different approach to the idea of enhancing the communication by focusing on a new style guide for the schools as well as a new website format that will be launching in July, 2024. Goal 4.3 communicates more of the financial information included in Prop R and describes celebration options for the completed construction as well as use of the new facilities. 

After these goals were presented, the board members asked questions related to the proposed plans. Board President, Nikole Shurn, had specific concerns regarding the cohort of students identifying as Black and the percentage of students who were not making the required bar of testing standards. Her concerns were not directly addressed by the board, however she stated that she wanted these students to be tracked making “aggressive growth” wherever they placed on the scoring bar. 

Various guidelines for waivers were presented by Dr. Matt Baily to account for boundary adjustments for the 2024-2025 school year. These waivers state that additional siblings may continue or enroll at a particular school, as long as they have a sibling also attending or enrolled. As well as any current or enrolled elementary student may choose to filter into their original feeder middle school despite boundary changes. However, the school district will not provide transportation for these families. The board expressed that anyone who is impacted by boundary changes, once a finalized map has been approved, may fill out a waiver form to further discuss these changes.

Finally, the Board discussed current enrollment in the K-5 and middle schools. Data from the schools showed that Keysor elementary has three classes exceeding the 25-student enrollment plan, with one of each being in 3rd through 5th grade. The document of data also showed that both elementary and secondary schools had overall lost student enrollment. Based on the enrollment data, it claimed that schools like North Glendale and Westchester were overstaffed.

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Ava McGovern, photo editor
She/Her Hobbies and Interests: photography, music, movies Favorite movie: Donnie Darko Favorite Quote: “Find things beautiful as much as you can, most people find too little beautiful” - Van Gogh
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