The Independence Middle School will see several changes when students return after their summer break, according to Superintendent of schools Rusty Arnold. When the monthly school board met Monday at the middle school library he handed out copies of the Independence Middle School schedule and academic policy handbook for the board to review. 

"We want to assure our students are putting forth their best effort in their studies so we have developed an academic policy," he said. Academic assistance and academic advancement requirements are the two big changes for next year. They say the student must pass their core subjects and if they do not they will need to attend academic assistance twice each week.

Academic advancement requirements would mandate students to pass their core subjects; math, English language, science and social studies for the entire year. Semester grades will be averaged to determine an overall grade. If the student does not successfully complete one core study, they will be assigned to summer school for recovery. Students who fail the entire school year in two or more core studies will be retained at his or her current grade level with some exceptions. Those exceptions include the student can come in the summer and make up the recovery. The other exception includes if unusual circumstances prevent the student to perform under his or hers capabilities. These circumstances must be documented and verified by an administrator. 

In new business, Arnold presented a new Shulthis Stadium contract agreement with Independence Community College for the approval of the board. "The concern the college had was with the payment schedule. Barwick did not want to do two payments because of the way they are funded he didn't feel the college had enough money in the fall to make the payment. He requested the school district go to one payment in the amount of $30,000 each year for the use of the stadium and the payment be due on or before Feb. 15. That is the only change in the agreement that was made," said Arnold.

The contract agreement will allow the college to play their regularly scheduled games, playoff games, allow them a couple of scrimmage games and community service project of hosting football camps for kids.

The college will now use the old concession stand underneath the main grandstand exclusively. "We won't mess with their concessions nor they ours," said Arnold. The board approved contract.

The board approved the purchase of a new John Deere tractor from O'Malley Equipment at a cost of $27,000. 

The bid was actually $10 higher than the low bid but the lift power of the John Deere tractor was larger which was one of the requirements of the bids. 

Tom Sewell, Independence Public Library board, asked the school board for consideration of a quarter mill levy increase to cover their cost of operation of business for the coming year. Sewell said, "We provide 300 children with summer reading classes, after school teen centers and free kindergarten classes." 

The current library budget year is at $305,000 with the quarter mill increase it would increase the budget to $325,000. The total expenses for the new budget year are projected to be $782,000. 

Scott Hines presented an update on Tri County Special Education. He stated there is discussion on a wage increase to keep up with local school districts. Hines stated the renovation of the office building on Chestnut St. is going as planned and should be ready by the next school year. 

Makayla LaRue, IHS Agricultural Education teacher FFA Chapter adviser, gave an update on the Agricultural program and its accomplishments.  The board expressed their appreciation for the job she is doing and encouraged her continue her efforts.