The Seneca R-7 School District is in good shape financially, district superintendent Steve Wilmoth announced to board members Thursday evening at their monthly board meeting.

The Seneca R-7 School District is in good shape financially, district superintendent Steve Wilmoth announced to board members Thursday evening at their monthly board meeting.


“This year we actually finished with 29.5 percent carryover,” Wilmoth said.


He said the district was able to transfer $600,000 into capital improvement funds.


“We’re trying to put long range plans together,” Wilmoth said. “I think right now we have a real opportunity to fix our technology department and do some things, but I’ve got to have a plan. I’m not going to buy this or that until I have a plan in hand.”


Wilmoth named laptops, a new maintenance truck, and smartboards as some of the items to be considered in the plan.
He said if the school district does as well financially next year he might also look at additional raises for teachers at that time.


“Our goal is to keep our staff together and also plan for the future,” Wilmoth said. “We have to provide, but I want it (a plan) in writing.”


Prior to the start of the regular meeting, the board held a public tax rate hearing. The rate was approved at $2.75, while the debt service was set at $0.85.


Wilmoth also informed board members that progress is being made in establishing Bright Futures in Seneca. The community-based collective action group, which works to fill the needs of area children, was approved by the school board in their July 19 school board meeting.


The district is working with representatives at Bright Futures USA, based out of Joplin, to get the program up and running.


Neosho, Joplin and Webb City school districts have also adopted the Bright Futures program.


Wilmoth said organizers are currently working to form an advisory board of approximately 10 to 12 Seneca community members.
He read a list of suggested members to the school board, who voiced approval of the choices. The next step, Wilmoth said, would be to contact those on the list and invite them to join the Bright Futures advisory board.


Once the advisory board is formed, the members will go through training, then host a community event.


Wilmoth said at that point he and school board president Brad Storrs would step down from the Bright Futures advisory board, allowing it to be a strictly community based organization.


“I like the direction it’s going,” Storrs said.


Seneca school board members also voted to accept several bids Thursday night, two of which were for security cameras.


Board members voted to purchase 53 security cameras from GNA Technologies of Neosho, to be placed in the elementary and junior high school. The cameras will cost the district $28,096.10.


Board members also voted to accept a bid of $6,265 from Rtyler Technologies for seven bus security cameras.


The board also heard from Willie Ng, Seneca High School principal, who informed members that the district had finished slightly below state average in ACT scores for last year.


Ng could not give many details, as the ACT results are not to be made public until after August 22, though he did say the Seneca students average scored .6 below the state average score of approximately 21. He did note though, that the district had several students who finished well above average with scores of 30 or higher.


In other business:


• School board members approved a new meal plan from Fresh Ideas, which allows students to opt out of two of the five lunchtime components, so long as one of their selections is either a fruit or a vegetable. At breakfast, students choose from four components and are required to select three. Sheana Nash, Fresh Ideas representative, said the goal is to cut back on lunchroom waste.


• Board members approved a bid of $1,554.41 per month to lease 12 new copiers from Lakeland Office Systems, of Joplin.


• Members approved a change to the 2012-2013 school calendar, which makes Friday, Sept. 7, an early dismissal day for students.


Board members also went into closed, executive session following the open meeting.