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Laquey Elementary School running fundraiser for Joplin tornado victims

LAQUEY, Mo. (May 23, 2011) — Just one day after a tornado struck Joplin and destroyed thousands of homes, the 287 students of Laquey Elementary School began a fundraising project that they hope will help a fellow southwest Missouri community.

The Laquey R-V School District is located to the west and southwest of Fort Leonard Wood, and the New Years Eve tornado which struck Fort Leonard Wood tore through the far southern end of the Laquey district on its way to the post. While nobody was hurt and the affected parts of the Laquey district were mostly unpopulated forested land, Elementary Principal Michael Mayle said he was glad students wanted to do something to help.

“It was Pam Nelson; a kindergarten teacher. She came in this morning and asked if we could do something. Within 30 minutes, a fifth grade student, Mikayla Snyder, came in with the same idea so we kind of coordinated both efforts,” Mayle said.

Donations are being accepted from both students and parents, he said.

“We normally have a really good turnout of support for all kinds of different fundraisers. Not too long ago in February we did a ‘pennies for patients’ for leukemia and we set a $500 goal, and within a week we almost had $1,000,” Mayle said.

People interested in making a donation can contact (573) 765-3245.

Mayle also passed around a thank-you card to be signed by members of the school board for Debbie Anderson, a retired Laquey librarian who donated over 1,500 books to Laquey.

“She gets these books because she’s part of MSTA, the Missouri State Teachers Association reading service. There’s a group of retired teachers who read these books and they make lists that are recommendations to Missouri teachers,” Mayle said. “Instead of getting paid, they get to keep these books. Most schools don’t want to mess with these books, although they are books that are valued at least $17 to $20 apiece; they’re all hardback books.”

The main problem is there are so many books that it takes large amounts of extra time to catalog the books, Mayle said.

In other business:

  • Laquey High School has 198 students, and the district’s graduating seniors received a total of more than $662,000 in awards and scholarships; Laquey Middle School has 153 students.
  • Special Education Director Monique Stokes reported that one student is going to the governor’s council on disabilities this summer as a staff member.
  • Outgoing bookkeeper Joy Smith reported that she and her successor are preparing for the annual school audit. “We’ll be ready, and I’ll be there to help her with that, and even afterwards I will help her close out the year and make sure everything is fine,” Smith said. “I will follow up and make sure everything goes smoothly, as long as that takes.”
  • Maintenance Director Calvin Gladden outlines his plans to wax floors and maintain the building during the summer months, noting that he’s purchased a new waxing machine that is less hazardous than the current wax which can cause people to slip and fall. Responding to questions from board member Marge Harris, Gladden said plans call for repairs and retiling to the basements of the school and to make the district office compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The locker rooms are in “fair shape,” he said — “they’re not beat up too bad.” Some work such as painting projects will take significant time, Gladden said.
  • Mayle said the husband of fourth-grade teacher Denise Vandivort is a Blackhawk helicopter pilot and will be doing a landing of the helicopter on school grounds to show students.
  • Board members approved an increase in meal prices of 10 cents for each of several meal categories.
  • The district’s budget has now reached $5.7 million, but Superintendent Randy Caffrey said the budget is much better than previous years with higher fund balances. The district’s current bank balance is $1.1 million, several hundred thousand dollars more than last year at the same time.
    “It’s a tight budget but it’s a conservative budget,” Caffrey said. “I’ll get a better idea in August of some finalized numbers, property tax and things like that… it’s a working document and we use it as such.”
    The distict’s goal is to have a balance of 10 to 12 perent, but is currently at 8 to 9 percent, he said; a few years ago the balance dropped to less than 3 percent due to a decision to pay off several loans early.

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