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Dixon school budget tops $3 million
DIXON, Mo. (Nov. 20, 2008) — Increased expenses caused a budget amendment Thursday night for the Dixon R-I School Board, and board members said they’re concerned for the future finances of the district.

Board members approved amending the 2007 budget from the $2,990,442 figure approved in July to a new level of $3,084,237 due to a number of unplanned expenses including a middle school teacher who is out on extended medical leave.

The new budget figure may be higher than needed, Superintendent Dawna Burrow acknowledged.

“As you know when I budget I try to budget a little bit high for everything,” Burrow said.

While Fort Leonard Wood area schools and cities have been able to enjoy increased revenues in most years, that trend might not continue.

“Do I understand that you expect the revenue will be less next year?” asked board member Craig Sellers.

“I am actually holding my breath just a little bit,” Burrow said. “From the people I’m talking to of what our taxes will actually be coming in at, I’m afraid we’re going to be dealing with not only a lot of delinquencies but also failure to pay.”

While Dixon school leaders are concerned for the financial future of their district, that isn’t affecting current programs.

Dixon Elementary Principal Joyce Shepherd reported that a Southwest Dairy Council representative gave a free presentation to students that included milking a cow with a transparent milking machine so students could learn where their milk comes from.

“He talked about the difference between a Holstein and a Jersey cow, that one gives more cream,” Shepherd said.

Other upcoming events at Dixon Elementary School include a Christmas program at 7 p.m. on Dec. 9 and a singing presentation on KJPW/KFBD radio on the morning of Dec. 16.

Responding to questions from board members about students who may be in need, Shepherd said the Kenner Church of God has been providing food backpacks filled with items children can easily prepare on their own.

“They have been so positive about this; we have a lot of giving in our program,” Shepherd said.

Assistant Dixon Elementary School Principal Lisa Parker reported that she recently attended a Parents as Teachers training course that taught her more about the early childhood program that seeks to help parents before their children enter school.

“The good news is we are doing a lot of things right: the better thing is we learned a lot of things we can tweak a little to improve the program,” Parker said.

Dixon High School Principal Jerry Braschler reported that the fall sports programs went well, especially the varsity basketball team with a 12-6 record and the JV team with a 12-1 record.

“I think those are good numbers to build upon.” Braschler said.

Other sports scores showed significant improvement as well, he said, but he said he was especially happy to report good attendance at a veterans program.

“I think they did a good job, and showed the important of being a veteran; the freedom and privileges we have in this country, many of them we owe to a veteran,” Braschler said.

Board president Troy Porter, a longtime board member who was re-elected three years ago while deployed to Iraq as a Missouri National Guard master sergeant, said he was able to attend the program as well.

“I would like to say the Veterans Day presentation was really good; they also had them in the other two schools and they were very good too,” Porter said.

Speaking after the meeting, Porter said his deployment to Iraq — his first since Vietnam — helped him relate to the military families that are increasingly moving into the Dixon district.

“It gives you a better insight into what the students and their families are going through with deployed soldiers,” Porter said. “When you experience it yourself you understand what they are going through. It gives you a little bit more insight as well as compassion for their needs.”

In other business:

• Burrow reported that two board members, Troy Porter and Craig Rivera, are up for re-election to their three-year terms this April. Filing for the April 7 election begins at 8 a.m. on Dec. 16, and runs until 5 p.m. on Jan. 20, except that the school offices are closed when school is not in session, which is mainly one week for Christmas.

• Burrow said she’s pleased by the results of the district’s “positive behavior support” program,

“We are trying to get away from having to spend so much time punishing and spent more time rewarding. Hopefully that will get us away from some of the behaviors we are having trouble with,” Burrow said. “Hopefully we are well on the way to making some great changes.

• Braschler said defibrillators have been installed in his school; Burrow said they’ve now been installed in all the Dixon school buildings.

“Several teachers have been trained in how to use that piece of equipment; hopefully we never will have to,” Braschler said.

• Board members heard and gave unanimous support to a request by Student Council President Will Johnston to hold a semi-formal dance on Dec. 19.

“My understanding is they just kind of faded out because of lack of interest, and now we have a group that is interested in going back and starting that again,” Burrow said.

Student council advisor Christi Russell noted that beginning a semi-formal dance was part of Johnston’s campaign platform when he ran for office.

“When they ran for president he had to get up in the front of the student body and tell what he wanted to do,” Russell said.

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