Voters in the Raymore-Peculiar School District will see a 75-cent levy increase on the April 3 ballot for academic enhancements, but the tax bite isn’t as big as it looks.
The district’s debt-service levy is scheduled to fall by 30 cents, so the net tax increase would be 45 cents on each $100 of assessed property value, the district said. The increased cost for the owner of a $190,000 home — the average in the Ray-Pec district — is estimated at $13.54 per month.
A simple majority will be needed to pass the measure.
If that happens, Ray-Pec would gain roughly $4 million a year to carry out key objectives in its new strategic plan. That plan focuses on improving student success and maintaining a strong faculty. The district recently addressed facility needs with new construction that was completed last fall after voters passed a bond issue in 2016.
In a fact sheet posted by the district, officials explained their timing for the request:
“Ray-Pec has performed at a fairly high level for several years with the current resources available. However, expectations for student opportunities and supports continue to increase along with greater competition for high quality staff. This is also the first time in many years that the debt service levy can be lowered to help offset an increase in the operating tax levy.”
Among the initiatives to be funded by the increase:
▪ More real-world, hands-on learning and soft-skill development for students.
▪ Expansion of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) opportunities.
▪ Expansion of mental-health supports for both students and staff.
▪ Additional help for students who aren’t doing as well as their peers.
▪ A competitive salary and benefit plan, plus support for staff training and advanced degrees.
▪ Curbs on class sizes and caseloads.
▪ Additional money for facility maintenance and upkeep.
The last time Ray-Pec voters approved a tax-rate increase was 2003, the district said. A question-and-answer sheet can be found at www.raypec.k12.mo.us/1239/FAQ.
January honorees at Ray-Pec High
John Baker, Mohson Chouhdry, Hannah Hornbeck and Shelby Martinez are the Students of the Month for January at Raymore-Peculiar High School,
Baker and Hornbeck were recognized by the Belton-Raymore Rotary Club, while Martinez and Chouhdry were chosen by the Ray-Pec Sunrise Optimist Club.
Belton High to present ‘Harvey’
Elwood P. Dowd and his invisible rabbit sidekick will appear on a local stage Feb. 1-4 as Belton High School presents “Harvey.”
The cast includes Daniel Miller as Elwood, Sarah Coupland as Veta Louise Simmons, Mallory Vanmeter as Myrtle Mae Simmons, Nathan Garner as Mrs. Ethel Chauvenet, Arabella Vankirk as Miss Johnson (maid), Samantha Hennessey as nurse Ruth Kelly, Kameron Watts as Dr. Lyman Sanderson, Joseph Reed as Duane Wilson, Tye Voss as Dr. William R. Chumley, Savannah Webster as Betty Chumley, Miles Kelley as Judge Omar Gaffney, and Chad Kawakami as cab driver E.J Lofgren.
Performances are 7 p.m. on Feb. 1-3 and 1 p.m. on Feb. 4 at the Belton Middle School/Freshman Center Forum Theatre. Tickets, which are $3 for students and $6 for adults, are available at bhspiratetheatre.weebly.com or at the door.
These Olympians know their science
The Science Olympiad team at Harrisonville Middle School returned home with several individual medals from a Jan. 13 competition in Higginsville, Mo.
Charlie Sturgeon and the duo of Sturgeon and Kale Weber won first-place medals in Ecology and Solar System, respectively.
Second-place medals went to Elizabeth Allen and Menda Schroeder in Crime Busters; Cort DeVenney, Caroline Ocheskey and Allen in Experimental Design; Ocheskey and Jaelynne Bundt in Meteorology; and Schroeder and Kale Weber in Road Scholar.
Placing third were Bundt and Allen in Write It Do It; Ocheskey and Max Werner in Disease Detectives; and Sturgeon and DeVenney in Microbe Mission.
The students competed as part of their participation in the gifted program.
Nominees sought for Ray-Pec awards
The Raymore-Peculiar School District is accepting nominations for the 2018 Teacher of the Year and Support Staff Employee of the Year. The deadline is Feb. 23.
A Teacher of the Year candidate must be a full-time teacher, librarian or counselor who has taught at least three years in the Ray-Pec district and plans to return next fall.
For the support-staff award, the nominee may be full-time or part-time employee who has worked at least one year for the district. Examples of support staff employees are office workers, accompanists, lunch monitors, crossing guards, media assistants, paraprofessionals, child-care workers and custodians.
Letters of nomination should be sent to: Ray-Pec Teacher of the Year/Support Staff Employee of the Year Program, Administrative Services Center, P.O. Box 789, Peculiar, MO 64078 or emailed to communication director Michele Stidham at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spanish teacher earns national certification
Harrisonville Middle School Spanish teacher Maria Derner has completed the requirements for National Board Certification, the teaching profession’s highest mark of achievement.
Derner is in her first year at Harrisonville Middle School. Before this year, she taught Spanish for five years in the Blue Valley School District. She also has experience in Belton and Colombia.
In Colombia, Derner earned an undergraduate degree in biochemistry, as well as a specialist degree in environmental education. She has a master’s degree from Webster University in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).
Ray-Pec places fourth at state thespian festival
Raymore-Peculiar theater students brought home several awards from the Missouri State Thespian Festival, which took place Jan. 11-13 in St. Louis.
The Ray-Pec contingent placed fourth overall among 30 schools in the Tech Challenge.
Riley Linn placed first in lighting and Nick Hime placed third in sound, while Peter Dyreng was awarded one of three Tech Scholarships granted by the Missouri Thespians.