Superintendent’s Corner

May 19, 2020

John French


Lewis County C-1 School District

I want to begin by expressing my heartfelt sadness for the Senior students who have had to miss out on their final semester of High School. For many Seniors, they missed their opportunity to perform in the school play, Spring concert, or participate in Spring sports, Humanities nights, etc. At Highland, we have been working in conjunction with our Senior students to plan and coordinate our events to still honor them and provide ceremonies in the best way that we can under the given circumstances.

May 22 at 7pm the Senior Tea (Sr. Awards Night) will take place in the HHS gymnasium; however, spectators will not be allowed to attend in the traditional fashion. Each Senior student will be allowed two people to attend the ceremony with them. The only others allowed to be in attendance will be a handful of school administrators and personnel to run off the event. The event will be available to stream live at the following link:

There is no cost to stream this or the graduation ceremony; however, you do need to visit to create an account before you can watch.

At the conclusion of the Awards ceremony, the seniors will be allowed to watch the field lights as we conduct our final time of turning the field lights on at 8:20pm (2020 military time) and leave them on for 20 minutes and 20 seconds to honor the 2020 Seniors. The seniors will either be able to sit in their vehicles or walk the track while adhering to social distancing guidelines. Again, we ask that no additional spectators come to the track so that the seniors can have this time.

Graduation has also been set to take place at 7pm on Friday, June 26. More details will be available as we get closer to the date, as we are all hoping that some of the social distancing restrictions will be lifted allowing for a more traditional ceremony. If not, we have a plan in place that has been approved, but we are sincerely hoping that things will get better. Baccalaureate service will likely be established for Wednesday, June 24th, but final plans have not been confirmed at this time.

The normal 2019-2020 school year will come to an official close on Friday, May 22. This will be the last day of meal deliveries to children in the community using school buses. Free meals will still be available to children ages 18 and under in the district starting back up with summer school. Highland plans to offer Summer School starting on Thursday, May 28 and continuing through Friday, June 30. Final details regarding transportation, attendance days, and the logistics of summer school amidst social distancing requirements will be finalized during the week of May 18 – May 22. Meals will be provided during summer school at the Highland Elementary school and will not be delivered by buses as they have been for the last couple months.

Students in summer school will only physically attend school every other day of summer school to maintain proper social distancing at school and on school buses. The third grade – High School students will be checking out Chromebook devices to take home with assignments that can be completed offline and synced up when they return to school on the following day. Parents/guardians sending their children to summer school will get more details regarding the plans as the start date gets closer.

It is important to understand that the district is only able to meet the social distancing guidelines for summer school due to the considerably lower number of attendees compared to the normal school year. If we have to continue only having a student in every other seat on the bus or maintain 6ft of distance between students in the classroom, there will be no way that school will be able to open in the Fall. The current guidelines are just not practical or feasible for our school system; however, the district administration continues to work to develop plans and partnerships that will allow for school to begin in August.

There will be plenty more announcements and updates regarding the school district’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Follow the announcements, updates, and actions on our district Facebook and Twitter pages or download our school app to stay informed. There is an FAQ document, which is continuously being updated, available on our district website and pinned to the top of our district Facebook page.

Finally, I would like to touch on the extremely important vote coming up on June 2. The April elections were delayed until June 2. Highland has two items on the ballot. One is the school board election. Truly, there are only three people signed up for three seats, but the Missouri legislators changed the laws a couple years ago requiring districts to use taxpayer money to hold an election even when one was not needed if there is any other school issue on the ballot. Therefore, Lewis County C-1 did have to use taxpayer money to have the board election on the ballot.

The other ballot item is Proposition K.I.D.S. (Keep Improving District Schools). This is a request for Lewis County C-1 patrons to approve an increase in the Lewis County C-1 School District’s tax levy. The district is requesting an 80 Cent increase to move the tax levy from the bottom of the list among Northeast Missouri School Districts. This raise would not move Lewis County C-1 to the top of the list by any means, but would at least have them in the upper half of schools in the region. It has been over 15 years since the district has asked to truly raise the tax levy. I say “truly raise” because of the ballot issue in 2015-2016 where the district had to ask taxpayers to re-establish the tax rate because of a flaw in the law regarding state assessed property when the pipeline project was completed. That was causing the district’s tax rate to drop significantly, but even then the district actually asked for the rate to be lower than what it had been over the previous 10 years. So, again, it really is the first true raise request in over 15 years.

The increase will be used to cover the ever increasing costs of doing business as the district has cut expenditures and staff members over the last several years to the point where the district cannot afford to keep making cuts. While some of the cuts have impacted the district’s educational programs, further cuts will have dramatic impacts on the educational programs at Highland. The district needs an increase to continue to offer our kids the educational opportunities they deserve and to remain competitive with the other schools in the Northeast