BOE Meeting Recap

October BOE Meeting


The Board met on Wednesday, October 19, for their monthly meeting. Here is a recap of the meeting highlights. You can view the complete agenda and supporting documents at


October Board Spotlights: The Board had the opportunity to celebrate and spotlight three amazing groups during this month's meeting.

The first spotlight was on Lawson Middle School's art teacher. Mrs. Catherine Halterman and her Middle School Yearbook staff. She and the students held their annual fundraiser on Friday, October 6. The Yearbook Staff decided on a 'Sports Night' theme. Almost 100 middle schoolers participated in several MS/HS campus activities. The event raised over $580, which will be donated to the Lawson Food Pantry. Student members include Bailey Payne, Braylie Cox, Ella Ripley, Emily Qualman, Josie Holman, Kaydence Hyatt, Kenza Stone, Mariah Jones, Rebecca Lafferty, and Sadie Templeton.

The second spotlight was on recognizing Lynn Smithmier. She has recently been awarded the Nationally Recognized Missouri Program (NRM) recognition award. NRM is for individual schools whose school counseling programs have reached an exceptional level of implementation that emphasizes the positive impact of the school counseling program on student success and the school community. This application process began two years ago, and now the Lawson High School Counseling program joins only 22 Missouri schools whose school counseling programs have reached this exemplary level of practice.

The final spotlight of the evening was on Mrs. Jennie Phipps for organizing our talented vocal artist to sing our National Anthem throughout the Fall at many of our home sporting events. Participants showing their incredible talents include Mrs. Jennies Phipps, Mrs. Ashly Moore, Ava Briegel, and Aleah and Kailyn Johnson.


 Items for Discussion:

Medical/Dental Insurance & Long-Term Disability Rates 2024: The Board set the District medical insurance premium to $650.00 for 2024. The District's overall pool of employee claims has continued to trend down over the past 12 months, allowing us to see a 7% decrease in premium for health insurance and a 3% decrease for dental insurance for the upcoming 2024 renewal year. The $650.00 per month per employee increases the district-obligated premium by $3.20 or $38.40 annually. With the expanded district-paid portion toward employee premiums, an employee who selected the Blue Select Plus HSA plan will receive fully paid health insurance and a $1600.00 contribution to their HSA account in 2024. We are passing the savings in premium directly through to each employee and increasing HSA contribution by $400 for 2024. Board-paid Long-Term Disability Insurance rates will remain flat in 2024 as a part of our negotiated renewal and will remain so through 1/1/2026.

2022-2023 Bus Routes: The Board was provided the 2023-2024 bus routes for approval. We are required by law to approve these routes by the end of October of each school year. In visiting with our Durham Transportation coordinator, all routes are running well. We are also looking better at the number of drivers available for routes and trips. This Fall, we have had to adjust trip times to work around afternoon routes and driver issues. Still, Mr. Keeton, Mrs. Kisner, and Mrs. Richardson have coordinated these changes and made our transportation run smoothly.


Items for information:

Long-Range Financial Planning – Mr. Joe Kinder, a financial advisor with Stifel Public Finance, presented information to the Board regarding our long-range outlook for "No Tax Increase" Bond issues. The Board was provided information related to a three-phase approach with the potential to request the voters approve a Bond issue in 2024 and then again in 2026 and 2031. These issues would be tied to the District's Long-Range Facilities plan, which is being finalized and presented to the Board soon.

Long-Range Facilities Update – Dr. Stephenson presented the Board with a draft copy of a community message and survey requesting feedback regarding District facilities planning. The Board discussed each part and directed Dr. Stephenson to proceed with sending the information out to the school community. The message and survey will be pushed out to the public on Wednesday, November 1. A copy of the information to be shared can be found on the paperless board meeting link provided above. The results from the survey will be used to assist in laying out the final pieces of the District Long-Range Facilities plan, which has been developed over the past 12 months.

Career Education Expansion – Mr. Daniel Petet, High School Principal, provided the Board with an update on the District's Strategic Plan Goal #7 (Establish a plan to update curriculum offerings to engage students in career exploration). In his report, Mr. Petet noted we have been working with the Missouri Department of Agriculture Education to set up a District visit to gather interest levels from students regarding the expansion of career education in the Lawson R-XIV School District to include Agriculture Education. The date for the onsite visit has been scheduled for Wednesday, October 25. As a part of the visit, we will host an informational meeting for parents and community members at 6:00 pm in the HS Commons.

Early Childhood Programming Update – Mr. Miller, Students Services Director, Mrs. Christina Cross, Elementary Principal, and Mrs. Ida Kemper, Assistant Elementary Principal, provided the Board with an update related to the District's Strategic Plan Goal #9 (Explore expanding Early Childhood Learning Opportunities for 3 and 4-year-olds). The Board was updated on expanding our Early Childhood Special Education Program from the current half-day program to a full-day one. It has been completed, and students have adjusted wonderfully. We are looking forward to seeing the added growth of each of them as we prepare them for kindergarten. The team also shared updated information about the preschool interest survey we had sent out. The survey results support the need for developing 3 & 4-year-old preschool programming. The team is looking at ways to add a second Cardinals Nest classroom to Southwest Elementary in January 2024. The team is continuing to plan for our early childhood preschool needs and plans to provide a comprehensive plan to the Board in December.

Superintendent Update: Dr. Stephenson updated the Board on a list of topics that can be viewed using the provided paperless board meeting link. Dr. Stephenson wanted to bring attention to and ensure the community is aware of and welcome to attend our MS/HS Veterans Day Activities on November 10, 2023. Veterans are invited to participate in a complimentary breakfast in the HS Commons beginning at 8:30 am along with their special guests. They then can join the 5th- 12th-grade students for an assembly to honor and thank each of them for their service to our country, beginning at 9:30 am in the high school gymnasium. Dr. Stephenson also wanted to remind and welcome our Senior Citizens to attend the District's Annual Senior Citizens Thanksgiving Dinner on Thursday, November 16, at 12:30 pm in the HS Commons. Transportation will again be provided for this event, and more information will be shared as the date draws near.   

Closed Session Announcements:

Winter 2023-2024 Volunteer Coaches: The Board approved Tyler Ross – Wrestling, Jeff Anderson – Wrestling, and Emily Rose – Winter ColorGuard, as volunteer coaches for the upcoming winter sport and activity seasons.


Additional Announcements:


The November Board of Education meeting will be held on Wednesday, November 15, 2023, in the Lawson Library Media Center at 6 pm.


Please get in touch with Dr. Stephenson with questions or concerns regarding any information provided in this recap or other district matters. He can be reached by email at or by phone at (816)-580-7277.