Rinehart presides over 1st meeting as West Platte superintendent

WESTON, Mo. — The West Platte School District welcomed new superintendent John Rinehart at its regular board of education meeting last week. During his report to the board, Rinehart thanked administration office staff for a great reception. “I just wanted to express how excited I am to be joining the West Platte School District,” Rinehart said. “There’s been a lot of anticipation — at least on my part — to get going and now it’s finally here.”

John Rinehart

West Platte board president Ron Rowe jokingly chided himself for getting to business before welcoming the new superintendent, saying, “Now you’re officially welcomed.”

“I officially thank you,” Rinehart said.

Rinehart also faced the first emerging challenge of his West Platte career with washout damage at the district’s baseball field.

Continued heavy rains have led to widespread flooding in the region. A recent flash flood put a good chunk of the city underwater, and that included the baseball field near campus.

“If we had to play on that tomorrow, I’m not too enthusiastic about it,” Rinehart said. “It looks like sprained ankles waiting to happen.”

The softball field also needs work, but is in a less urgent state, he said. West Platte maintenance director Howard Hellebuyck said if materials for both are purchased at once, work can be completed first on the baseball field and then the softball field.

At the baseball field, the infield subsurface needs to be built up and conditioner added to the top to improve the drainage. The estimated cost of the materials for these repairs is about $25,000.

Board member and former superintendent Kyle Stephenson said he believed many things could be done to improve the baseball and softball complex.

“We’re going to have a first-class track and football field, and I think the ball fields could be improved as well,” Stephenson said.

The board also heard from Richard Fletcher, the district’s new technology director. He said he was working to lay the foundation of a technology plan, based on improving infrastructure, implementing a replacement plan for devices and upgrading devices from consumer-grade to a more durable enterprise grade.

A board retreat was also scheduled for late last week, with a tentative agenda including discussion of the district’s student drug testing policy and the capital improvement projects under way, as well as phase two and three projects.

The August meeting was rescheduled to 7 p.m. on Aug. 25 with a tax rate hearing at 6:30 p.m. and a work session at 6 p.m.