BTEC to keep LPN program

The Nursing program at the Boonslick Technical Education Center (BTEC) will remain as is, and will not be transferred to State Fair Community College. The decision was made officially at the Wednesday night Boonville R-1 School Board meeting after being tabled at the previous meeting in December. Coordinator of the BTEC nursing program Beth Rumbaoa, said originally the idea of changing the program was due to possible changes in accounting issues. She said this is not the first time the idea of changing the program has come up and she explained that LPNs are not just employed at hospitals, but also nursing homes and home health care agencies. “When we graduate students in the LPN program, they have no problem in finding a job. University of Missouri recruits our nurses as well. We still have a niche. We get people who decide to become a nurse later in life who then take part in our 11 month program,” Rumbaoa said. She added once they get their graduates out into the workforce they can make as much as $18 an hour and there are no pre-requisites for the BTEC LPN program. State Fair's program mandates pre-requisites to enter its program. According to Rumbaoa this deters some students from entering a program such as this. “We do not have many that go on to further their education after completing the program here,” Rumbaoa said. Dr. Brent Bates of State Fair Community College said they want to keep working with BTEC on their program but offered to take over the program if there was ever a need. A question by board member Gene Reardon asked if the programs could be combined together. According to Bates this was not possible, it had to be one or the other. He said the Missouri State Board of Nursing mandates that if State Fair is involved, their curriculum must be used. Board member Richelle Kluck asked since the program is good anyway, why change it? Reardon asked how many students enter the program from Boonville High School. Rhumbaoa said people come from the entire area to enter into the BTEC program. The last class, she said, had 19 people. Of those 19 people, only three were from the high school. A unanimous vote approved the BTEC LPN program. The board does plan to look at the program after a year and see if any changes are needed. In further news, the new drug testing policy has been tabled until the next meeting. Boonville School District Superintendent Mark Ficken said next month is the absolute latest the policy can be adopted. More questions were generated as far as testing. Board President Charlie Melkersman said schools are heading in a direction similar to Boonville. Boonville High School Principal Jeff Brackman expressed his sincere “go ahead” with the new policy, which was based on other district policy and recommendations of a committee of individuals from the high school, Laura Speed Elliott and the Boonville School Board. “I felt like it was a good committee because there were a lot of backgrounds represented. At the end we were able to agree what we wanted to see happen to the school community,” Brackman said. Brackman said the policy will include all extra curricular activities the students are involved in. Under law the district cannot test students who are not in any extra activities because of the right to an education. Brackman also added once a student tested positive, the consequences could be less if a student would seek help for their problem. The policy also states once a student is out of activities, quits or even hands in their parking pass, they will be taken out of the 'pool' and would not entitle any further testing, unless they become active in activities again. Board member Brenda Campbell commended the committee for their work. She said everyone was a valuable asset and worked well with each other.