CENTER — Ralls County R-II Board of Education members gave approval for a new therapy dog at Ralls County Elementary School and discussed a five-year long range plan for district facilities during their regular meeting Thursday, Oct. 10.
Ralls County Elementary School Vice Principal Joni Crossgrove has been busy researching a therapy dog for students and faculty since summer, and she brought her proposal before the board on Thursday. Board members unanimously approved the measure and decided to fund the roughly $3,000 cost to train and purchase the dog.
Crossgrove will submit an application to Canine Assistance Rehabilitation Education and Services, who will specially train a Labrador, Golden Retriever or German Shepherd during the next 18-24 months. Fundraisers will help defray costs for food and other expenses once the dog arrives. Crossgrove said a staff member has expressed interest in handling the dog.
Board members approved a five-year long-range facilities and grounds plan during their September meeting. Members of the long-range facilities committee discussed various aspects of the plan, which addressed a variety of maintenance and security projects for Mark Twain Junior High School, Mark Twain Senior High School, along with the district's facilities including the track area, the football field and softball and baseball fields.
Board members and committee members discussed details of the plan with Architect Jacques Reynolds. Reynolds will review potential changes for the plan, and the committee members will conduct a meeting before meeting with board members to further discuss progress and potential funding options.
In other business:
Dr. Tara Lewis, district superintendent, said the district received a 75%-25% matching grant totaling $254,796, with $191,097 from COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services) and $63,699 from the Ralls County R-II School District. The money will be used over the next two years for security upgrades like installing window film to strengthen windows, setting up a visitor tracking system, putting in keycard locks for exterior doors and setting up a mass communication system to send alerts to students' and staff members' cell phones, class smart boards and marquees throughout the halls.
School administrators shared updates throughout the district, including the homecoming parade, a Drop Everything and Read Camp for Ralls County Elementary School students, upgrades to the greenhouse and repairs to school buses.
Construction for the district bus barn facility is set to begin in two weeks.
Board of Education members adjourned into a closed executive session to discuss personnel issues. The next meeting will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14.