Warrior QuickNews Archive: December 2019

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Thank you, thank you, thank you! Kindness Counts!

meal boxes

Smithville Middle School students donated 36 Holiday meal boxes.

santa on a train

SSD Holiday Help resulted in donations from all over Smithville. 51 Smithville families and 80 students benefited from this effort.

lunchbag with apple

Since January 2018, SSD has received $9,808.19 in donations to pay down outstanding lunch balances.

Board Candidate Filing Dates

In compliance with state law, the Board recently set the filing dates for the April 7, 2020 Board of Education election for December 17, 2019 to January 21, 2020 during regular business hours (8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.) on days when school is in session. 

As per Board policy (File: BBB), each candidate filing on the first day shall draw a number at random at the time of filing. The names of candidates filing on the first day of filing will be listed in ascending order of the numbers drawn and ahead of the names of candidates filing on a later date.

The positions currently held by Russell Fries, Denney Fales, and Greg Chastain will be considered by the voters at the April 7, 2020 election.

As of today, Russell Fries and Scott Haggerty have filed for the April 7, 2020 Board of Education election.

Stakeholder Survey - Closes January 3, 2020

As part of the District's Comprehensive Strategic Improvement Plan, the Smithville School District is reaching out to gather stakeholder feedback as it relates to our strategic focus areas and goals.

Your voice is important, and we want to know what you think. A link to the survey is available below; please take a few minutes to complete the survey and share your thoughts. This survey is intended for families of students currently attending Smithville Schools.

The survey will close at the end of the workday on Friday, January 3, 2020.

Survey Link

These are the highlights from the December 18th meeting of the Smithville School District Board of Education (BOE).


The Board approved the following consent agenda items:

  1. Approve Bills for Payment 

  2. December Supplemental Pay

  3. Workmen’s Compensation Renewal

  4. Federal Impact Aid Grant Application / 7002

  5. Cornerstones of Care Agreement - Gillis

  6. Approve Third Reading of 2019B Policy Revisions




The Board received a thank you note from Kay George for the arrangement sent in memory of her Dad.

Board Priorities

  1. The second Stoplight Report from the Rounding Activity was provided.

  2. DLR reported to the Board regarding the long range facility plans.

Comments from the Assistant Superintendent from Support Services

Mr. Wayne Krueger

Mr. Krueger provided the Board of Education (BOE) with an update on the development of the 2020-2021 school calendar. Currently, a sub-committee of the AFC (Administrative/Faculty Council) is working on a draft to bring to the BOE in the early spring. Items the committee is considering as they develop the draft: 1) Missouri law RSMo 171.031 which requires at least 1044 hours of student attendance and RSMo 171.031.2 which directs that a district may not start their opening date earlier than fourteen calendar days prior to the first Monday in September, 2) Trying to end the school year before Memorial Day which was the top priority of surveyed parents and staff, 3) Trying to balance each academic quarter and semester, 4) To keep the Wednesday before Thanksgiving as a non-attendance day, 5) To keep the one week spring break in the spring, and 6) Have as close as two-weeks at Christmas as possible.   

A brief presentation was provided regarding the analytics of the Self-Insurance Pool of Greater Kansas City (SIPGKC) in which Smithville, Blue Springs, Hickman Mills, and Grain Valley are members to provide medical and dental benefits for their employees. Based on FY19, there were 4,508 members with an average age of 38.9 (Smithville R-II accounts for 289 members). Overall, the pool experienced about 38 million in claim history, 76% were medical claims with cancer, musculoskeletal, and circulatory being the three highest conditions. Pharmacy (Rx) were about 24% of the costs with anti-inflammatory disease modifiers being the top spend. In the current plan year, Smithville has experienced claims exceeding revenue 3 out of the first 5 months, a trend that will need to be monitored.

In the news, there have been several stories regarding “Secret Santa” gifts to pay down children’s lunch balances. Smithville is no exception. Since January 2018, we have received $9,808.19 in donations to pay down outstanding lunch balances – 100% of the donations have been applied, however as of 12/18/19, students who qualify for meal assistance still have $556.38 outstanding and all other students $2,982.95 outstanding. If anyone would like to make a donation for outstanding lunch balances, please make payment to the Smithville R-II Foundation and in the memo line indicate lunch balances.

Comments from the Assistant Superintendent from Academic Services

Dr. Michelle Kratofil

Dr. Kratofil introduced two teams who placed at state competition this fall. The Girls Cross Country team won Conference and placed 3rd at State for the second straight year. The Cheerleaders were recognized for placing 2nd at State in the Time Out Division and the Performance Division. 

The Board has historically only recognized teams that have placed in the top 4 of state competition. In recent years, more and more individual athletes have placed at state but the team has not. Dr. Kratofil suggested that one Board meeting per semester be designated to honor these athletes. The Board concurred and set the January meeting as the time to recognize individuals who placed at state from fall athletics.



Robert Hedgecorth, Technology Director, presented highlights from the program evaluation. The last two years have been very exciting for the Smithville School District as the Technology Department has implemented 1:1 technology at the High School and Middle School. To help manage the maintenance of these devices, a concept called "Warrior Tech Support" was created at the High School. This is an area managed by High School students that troubleshoot and repair Chromebooks when students report issues. This strategy not only helps our turnaround times for Chromebook repairs, but also develops student's skills in troubleshooting and customer service for those that work in Warrior Tech Support. Looking forward, Smithville looks to continue to grow our resources and provide additional opportunities for our students into the future. We are in exciting times as we start our new CSIP plan, which has a tactic for each student to create a digital portfolio throughout their academic career. We are currently working with building technology facilitators to begin the process of planning for this tactic. This implementation requires many resources, and our department is very appreciative of our District Leadership and District School Board for their support of this initiative.  


Mr. Saxton asked about the intent of technology related professional development. Mr. Hedgecorth explained that this training is not about training teachers to trouble-shoot or repair devices but to effectively integrate technology in instruction. Greg Chastain asked about the durability of the Chromebooks. Mr. Hedgecorth responded that they are meeting expectations. The lease is up this year so all current Chromebooks will be returned over the summer and new ones leased for the fall. Russell Fries asked if districts fund technology through levy increases. Mr. Hedgecorth shared that several of our neighbors are funding one-to-one technology via a dedicated levy. Mr. Fries inquired as to the feasibility of floating a levy targeted to technology. Would it be more acceptable to the public knowing that the funds had a specific purpose? Mr. Krueger offered to put some figures together to answer that question. Mr. Saxton agreed that a technology levy would be worth exploring.



General Financial Review

During the month of November, we received $1,466,712.92, making a total of $7,134,809.21 received since July 1, 2019. 

Expenditures for November were $2,589,139.37, making a total of $11,729,987.82 expended since July 1, 2019.

Patrons can access the revenue report, expenditure report, and check register for the district on the district webpage under Departments and Business & Finance.

Update on Enrollment

The current district enrollment is 2,648.

 Revised Supplemental Pay Schedule

Ashley Jones requested the Board approve two revisions to the Supplemental Pay Schedule: (1) Mentor stipend, $350 to $400; and (2) Buddy stipend, $250 to $300. The Board approved this recommendation.



Accept FY19 Audit

The FY19 audit was presented by Brad Steele of Westbrook and Company. The findings of the audit show that the district had a clean audit and ended June 30, 2019, with data that was fairly stated in all material aspects by the administration.

The FY19 audit along with prior year’s audit documents are posted on the district’s website under the Business/Finance tab. In addition, other financial documents including current and past year’s budgets, revenue to date, expenses to date, and current year check registry may be found under the Business/Finance tab.

 Ian Saxton asked about the role of the auditing firm in recommending mitigating controls. Mr. Steele confirmed that suggestions for improvement are made and that the district has been quick to adjust practices based upon those suggestions. In addition, he commended the district for being proactive in the budget recovery process and for developing a plan to ensure district reserves return to the appropriate percentages. 

The Board voted to accept the FY19 audit as presented by Westbrook and Company.

DLR Master Building Plan and Facility Assessment

Scott Pashia and Kevin Greischar principal architects with DLR Group presented a draft Facility Master Plan for the district which was created based upon feedback from several focus groups. The draft plan is comprised of current facilities assessments, visioning of district stakeholders, project prioritization into three tiers, and the culminating master site plan. Early Childhood Education was highlighted as a pressing district priority with many options available to meet that need. In addition, strategies for manipulating current buildings to maximize and enhance learning spaces were provided. The draft plan recommends three phases for implementation which includes three no-tax-increase bond issues in 2020, 2025 and 2030.  

Mr. Saxton suggested that the plan include deferred maintenance details so that stakeholders know how we will care for what we already have in addition to a plan for facilities we will add. Mr. Krueger responded that a separate deferred maintenance plan has been developed and is being followed. Some of these projects, however, are significant in cost and are included in this master plan. 

Sarah Lamer asked about the price for the field house. The field house would include a new weight room, a wrestling room, concessions, restrooms, changing/meeting areas for student/athletes, storage, and more. Our current facilities were built for Class 2A competition are not adequate to meet the needs of Class 4A competition. Constructing a facility at the stadium would be the first step to expanding the current high school main gym area to create additional seating capacity and more flexibility for space by creating a mezzanine in place of the current weight room and wrestling room which is grossly undersized. Dr. Schuetz added that we have outgrown our current facilities with our current curricular and extra-curricular participation specifically in wrestling and weights. Any additional spaces would also be available for use by other sports and clubs such as archery, dance, cheer, and robotics. The new field house will also allow for a central gate to sporting events which would improve cash handling practices. Mr. Chastain asked about previous plans to have the weight room and wrestling room adjacent to the auxiliary gym. He asked if that would be more cost effective? Mr. Krueger shared that this plan was devised in 2010. Using that space would only allow for a wrestling room big enough for two mats and a weight room of 3000 square feet which we have already outgrown with our current weights program in which over 500 students participate, the majority of which are not athletes. 

Mr. Fries commented that he is concerned about going to our public to support a bond that is devoted to so many athletics projects when we are just coming out of a budget crisis. He also commented that the list of suggested projects does not match the stated priorities. Early Childhood Education is not addressed until 2030 when it is clearly identified as one of our top three needs. Wade Kiefer agreed and stated that we know the long-term benefits of early childhood education. Dr. Schuetz shared that we currently only have three Early Childhood classrooms so a separate facility is not warranted at this time. What we need to determine is when we will need a separate facility. He asked the Board for permission to do some more research and planning for the Board on this topic. Mr. Fries asked if we could expand our Early Childhood programming if we made it a financial and planning priority. Are we doing all we can do in this area? Mr. Chastain concurred and suggested that we could serve more students if we had the appropriate facilities. 

Denney Fales commented that there will always be those who would prefer that we don’t expand our facilities but there are also those who will support the district’s needs. Ms. Lamer commented that she sees the need for enhanced facilities for physical education and sports but she also feels we should address Early Childhood as well. 

Extension of Transportation Contract

The Board approved the request to extend the district’s current transportation contract for three years. This extension includes cost-sharing of wifi on buses, technology to alert drivers to missed stops, improved interior and exterior security cameras, GPS tracking of the buses for parents, and GPS navigation for bus drivers. 

Maple Elementary Library

Due to the length of the meeting and the importance of this topic (naming of facilities), this agenda item was tabled until the January meeting. 

MSBA Advocate Training

The Board of Education voted to provide a letter of support for MSBA’s legislative priorities for the upcoming legislative session.

Culture Survey

Mr. Fries asked for this document in response to the Board’s Self-Evaluation question regarding a formal process for understanding the culture in our district. Dr. Schuetz has provided the associated questions from our staff, community and student comprehensive survey. Dr. Schuetz offered to have Mr. Hedgecorth provide trend data for the culture-related questions to the Board at their January meeting.

 Job Descriptions

Dr. Scheutz and Ashley Jones presented revised job descriptions as a result of the restructure that will take place at the District Office for the 2020-21 school year. New job descriptions include, Director of Student Services and Executive Director of Support Services, and revised include, Director of Special Education, Technology Administrator, Network Engineer, Systems Analyst, and Coordinator of Benefits, Wellness & Risk Management.  

The following position title will change, but the job description will not: Assistant Superintendent of Academics & Continuous Improvement.

The Board approved the job descriptions as presented.

Consider District Nominee for the MSBA John T. Belcher Scholarship

The Board was presented with six anonymous applications and selected Paige Myers as the 

Smithville nominee for the MSBA John T. Belcher Scholarship.

Personnel Report

The Board approved personnel items as presented 


  1. Filing for the Board of Education election opened December 17 and closes January 21. The terms of Russell Fries, Greg Chastain, and Denney Fales are expiring.

  2. The Board Recognition Dinner and Student Recognition Night are set for January 27. Dinner will begin at 5:30 in the High School Cafeteria followed by the student recognition in the PAC at 7:00 PM.

  3. The Board was invited to pass out Christmas turkeys to staff on December 20.

  4. The Board received an email from MSBA regarding the Board's self-evaluation. The Board discussed timelines and dates regarding this process.

The meeting adjourned at 10:05 PM. 

kaily mayhugh

Mayhugh Selected to Lead Softball Team

Kaily Mayhugh has been selected to lead the softball team at Smithville High School (SHS). Mayhugh currently serves as an English language arts teacher at Smithville High School.

Read More

rotary student and teacher of the month

Rotary Student of the Month & Rotary Teacher of the Semester 

Congratulations to Josephine Martorana, Smithville High School Senior, for being named Rotary Student of the Month. As well, congratulations to Mrs. Angela Sanders, Mathematics Teacher at Smithville High School, for being named Rotary Teacher of the Semester.

Way to go!

act scores

#3 ACT Composite in the Kansas City Area

We are so proud of our students, teachers, staff and administrators!