Brookfield schools moving with the future not behind

The Brookfield R-3 School District started this year with 13 new staff members and a $.90 increase to its operation tax rate ceiling.

Superintendent Paul Barger said this doesnâ??t necessarily mean that property ownersâ?? tax rate will increase by $.90.

Barger said that money is available for the board to use, but it is not going to use it every year.

â??$.40 of that $.90 actually has a sunset,â?? he said. â??So, in the tax year of 2019, that $.40 will go away. That is something that the board is very committed to. If a future board wants to maintain that $.40, theyâ??ll have to go back to the voters to get that reinstated.â??

The district also has implemented Positive Behavior Support (PBS). It is a student discipline system, and they have had a group of teachers and administrators who met on their own time and got the program set up and implemented it this year.

â??In my experience in administration, I don't know if I ever had a better start to a new program a new initiative then what Iâ??ve seen this year with the Positive Behavior Support,â?? Barger said. â??That was really led by our staff, our building-level administration, and I think they've done an outstanding job.â??

Barger said many times students are disciplined for misbehavior, but no one has ever really taught them the expected behavior.

â??You talk about respect and being respectful, you know that depends on the situation they grow up in and it can very a great deal,â?? he said.

â??So itâ??s really our responsibility then while theyâ??re at school this is what respectful behavior is and taking the time to teach the students what it is that we expect instead of just assuming that they should know.â??

Itâ??s also the second year the Linn County Area Career and Technical Center has been open. It serves only Brookfield, Marceline and Bucklin, but Barger hopes to expand that.

â??Itâ??s not only good for our kids, but it provides an outreach to the adult population in our community.â??

This year the board has chosen to invest considerable dollars in technology upgrades. It is using more of the cloud technology, but also disaster recovery and a daily back-up system.

â??I think that how weâ??re using technology really begins to shape the future for our kids,â?? Barger said. â??If we are truly preparing our kids for life after high school, we need to make sure they have the tools, the communication, and the devices that theyâ??re going to need after that, so they can be competitive and successful.â??

Barger said they also replaced all staff computers, went to using virtual servers more and are operating virtual desktops for our students.

â??It used to be if we lost the water, school had to shut down,â?? Barger said. â??We have become so reliant on technology that really without (it) we were not able to conduct business and so itâ??s really transformed the way the school operates, and it's also beginning to transform the classroom.â??

Barger said one of the things he will keep an eye on is the new statewide evaluation.

â??We'll be working with our staff and community members on developing an effective evaluation system, so it will be interesting to see where that leads us,â?? said Barger.