MV school board boosts safety with new electronic measure

Tressie Casey

Elementary school will be better able to locate kids if emergency arises
A new and potentially safer security upgrade will soon be taking shape in Mt. Vernon Elementary School.
During the Aug. 22, Mt. Vernon Board of Education meeting, the district agreed to a partnership with Kidaccount. Kidaccount is an electronic program that will be used at the elementary school to assist the staff with visitor management, dismissals and will also be a useful tool for emergency situations.
Dismissals will be the most noticeable change. The pickup line will go down to one lane and parents will be issued a card which will be scanned. After scanning, staff members will be notified as to who is authorized to pick up each child as well as a list of names that are not allowed to pick up a child. If an unauthorized person tries to pick up a child, the staff member would be able to alert the on-duty student resource officer or the police department. There will also be a screen in the child waiting area that would put the child’s name in order according to car line.
Kidaccount can also do background checks on visitors and check the sex offenders list. Other schools have reported that in the event of an emergency situation, each child was able to be accounted for faster. New Madrid County R-I school reported that they were able to account for every student in all buildings within five minutes during an emergency situation. Kidaccount is being funded by Old Missouri Bank and Mid-Missouri Bank for Mt. Vernon Elementary School.
Also during the meeting, seventh grade math teacher Sheila Hansen reported on a trip to Washington, D.C. that the eighth grade class had the opportunity experience. During the trip, the students were able to visit many memorable sites such as: the holocaust museum; the U.S. Capitol building; George Washington’s home; the Tomb of the Unknown soldiers, as well as witnessing the changing of the guards; the Vietnam soldier memorial; and the WWII monument. Hansen brought along four students to the meeting that went on the trip. All students and their parents said that the trip was a whole new learning experience and they were thankful for the opportunity.
High school band director Brad Heckman presented a trip to Orlando, Fla., which was approved by the board.
 The band will perform at multiple events at the Walt Disney World Resort. The band will be fundraising and is planning on using the proceeds from the Marching Mountaineer Festival and the Band Booster Club to help with cost of the trip.
The board also held their annual tax levy meeting during the regular school board meeting. Mt. Vernon currently holds the lowest tax rate in the area at $3.32. Amendment 2 which passed in 1998 required an operating levy of $2.75. The following year the school adopted the levy and it has remained the same since. There are 518 school districts in Missouri and only 55 districts in Missouri still operate on a $2.75 levy which is the lowest levy allowed by the state. The remaining $3.32 overall levy is constituted by a $0.57 debt service levy which is in place to help the district pay off debt accrued due to capital projects. The board has authority to raise the levy without a vote but has chosen to allow the voters to decide on an increase.
Superintendent Scott Cook also reported several facility issues to the board. Some of the issues are severe roof leaks at the high school, elementary school and south campus. Following the engineer’s report, the school was advised to move the high school weight room to another location. There were several large cracks in the floor and the room itself was deteriorating from the extra weight from equipment. Over the summer, the weight room was relocated to the east hallway near the gym. The school was able to keep most of the equipment in the space with the exception of three machines.
The next Mt. Vernon Board of Education meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 19, in the south campus board room.


Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


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