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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

R-1 school board gets good news about state funding

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Monett High School gym
Key financial decisions impacting the coming school year were made by the Monett R-1 Board of Education during its May meeting.

According to Dr. John Jungmann, superintendent, passage of the 2009-10 state budget by the Missouri General Assembly included the next phase-in of more money for public schools under the Foundation Formula. The legislature's efforts to resolve inequities in the state's funding system called for a multi-year increase.

The move should bring an additional $400,000 to the Monett district next year, Jungmann said. Full phase-in of addition funding would take around three more years to complete, he added.

In addition, Jungmann said the state would complete the current school year without withholding any money expected under the formula. The district has received full funding from the state for the past four years, he said.

Health insurance provided the board's major topic for discussion. Renewing the district's old plan with Cox Health Systems would have entailed a 19 percent premium increase. Three bids came in, including one just as high, and other proposals from Cox with reduced benefits to consider.

The board accepted a proposal through insurance broker Forrest T. Jones that moves the district for the first time away from self-insurance or dealing directly with a healthcare company. Instead, the district joined a group of school districts insured together. The plan came from the Missouri Educators Unified Health Program, Jungmann said, a consortium of around 90 schools statewide, unlike most healthcare consortiums which have been regional.

The old plan only had a preferred provider organization (PPO) option, where a patient can pick a specific physician. The new proposal gives employees a choice between a PPO plan, a health maintenance organization (HMO) or a health savings account (HSA) for a high deductible health plan.

Under the new proposal, Jungmann said, the district pays $350 per employee. Total cost to the district is about $90,000 or up 8 percent from last year's plan.

Employees wanting HMO coverage will pay an additional $15 a month. PPO coverage will cost $40 more per month. Under the health savings account, the district will pay $281 a month toward the premium plus $69 a month into an HSA.

"The good news," Jungmann said, "is the new plan is still a Cox network. Employees can still use local doctors.

"We feel this is a positive move. Employees will be very satisfied with the options they still have. Healthcare is one of the important benefits we provide," Jungmann said.

In other financial matters, the board voted to approve the Career Ladder program for the coming school year. The cost was expected to run the district about $185,000 for the current school year and a very similar amount next year. The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education matches the district's cost as well.

David Botts, Career Ladder chairman, updated the board on Career Ladder participation over the past year. Botts said 90 teachers participated, putting in 12,000 additional hours of work to help students.

Following its previous decision, the board voted to continue its 10-cent increase to lunch prices for the second consecutive year. Jungmann said the district continues to lose money on its food service program.

"I think we're getting closer to breaking even. We're doing all we can to conserve costs," Jungmann said.

In personnel action, Teresa Stark, who had been serving as head of the adult education program and directing the effort to secure accreditation under the North Central organization, resigned to take the job as director of the Career Center in Nevada.

Jungmann said a team effort will step in to complete the North Central effort, which had been Stark's major focus for the past year. "She got us in good shape to get there next year," Jungmann said. Completing accreditation will qualify the district to process Pell grants to offer financial aid like other career and technical schools in the area.

The board also accepted a resignation from elementary teacher Midge Vadd and hired four teachers. Stephanie Brown was hired as teacher at Central Park Elementary. She comes to the district from St. Lawrence Catholic School. Rebecca Maddox was hired as an elementary teacher. Maddox is moving into the area with her family from Kentucky.

Jacqueline Aldrich was hired as a Monett Elementary teacher. Aldrich had taught in Marionville and is re-entering the teaching field after having a child, Jungmann said. Amy Allen, a recent graduate from Missouri State University, was hired for a vacancy at Monett Elementary as her first teaching job.

In other business, the board approved its proposed policy on post-accident drug testing, as discussed at the April meeting.

A presentation on summer school was made by Jeff Wilcox, high school assistant principal, and Sara Garner, Monett Elementary assistant principal, co-directors of the program this year. Wilcox and Garner expected more than 200 students to participate in summer school, which begins today and runs through June 30. Projected enrollment is up around 200 from last year.

Thanks to Wilcox and Garner's promotional efforts, Jungmann said, the district has hired more teachers and staff to cover the higher summer school enrollment. Federal funding will cover free breakfast and lunch for each student every day.

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