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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Monett School Board wrestle with finances

Friday, August 7, 2009

With the introduction of new federal stimulus money into the Monett R-1 School District for the Title I program, Technology Program Director Melody Paige, seen at upper right, has been moved to the new position of technology integration specialist. Paige began running workshops for the faculty last week in the board room of the district's administrative office. She introduced the National Educational Technology Standards and Performance Indicators for both teachers and students. Paige will be helping teachers design and develop digital-age learning experiences and teaching students digital citizenship. [Times Photo by Murray Bishoff]
Monett R-1 Board of Education members made financial decisions for the coming school year and secured a deal that will bring in funding from the sale of broadband space at their July meeting.

Three weeks after closing the books on the 2008-09 school year, the board adopted a budget for the 2009-10 year with more solid projections than the preliminary roadmap adopted in June. Superintendent Dr. John Jungmann said additional tweaking is likely after enrollment figures firm up following Labor Day.

Total spending for the coming year is projected at $21,642,720, on total revenues of $21,284,982. The capital expense to finish additions at the Southwest Area Career Center resulted in the deficit spending, Jungmann said. At the same time, money reimbursed by the state for the last expansion will enable the district to start the year with a 16 percent operating reserve, a cushion that Jungmann expects to last several years.

Around three-quarters of the budget, or approximately $13 million, will go to pay certified staff. Another $3 million will go to non-certified staff. Jungmann said the percentage has remained fairly steady for several years.

The new budget included an increase to the $32,100 base pay rate for certified teachers. Pay steps crediting more pay for each year of service were also authorized. All told, Jungmann said the average pay increase ended up between 2 and 2 1/2 percent, for both certified and non-certified staff, even though both use a different pay scale.

Projections for spending on fuel were based on last year's cost plus another 10 to 15 percent. Jungmann said the board was "pleasantly surprised" with last year's fuel bill, after soaring prices the previous year. The approach would leave a cushion in case of another inflationary spiral, he said.

Economic conditions around the state translated into reduced revenues for the district from the statewide Proposition C sales tax for education. Proposition C income was down by almost $94,400 or 5 percent for the year.

The district will receive some federal stimulus money. Board members discussed how to spend it, though Jungmann said all the rules on how it can be spent have not yet been issued.

About $950,000 will come in Title I funds for special education. The board has opted to use the money for technology upgrades over the next two years.

In other financial issues, Jungmann announced a deal had been struck with the other school districts and Missouri Southern State University, with whom Monett shares the rights to broadband broadcast property as part of a consortium. Carl Junction, Carthage and Lamar school districts as well as Missouri Southern had been approached about selling some of their unused broadband space.

In the deal, Jungmann said the consortium members found value in sticking together as a group. Even though the different participants own their portion of broadband space outright, members agreed to share profits from any lease deals. Consequently, Monett will receive about $15,000 a year for the next 30 years from the lease, even though Monett was not approached for the use of any of its broadband space.

"This is the biggest offer [for broadband space] we've had to date," Jungmann said. "We'll still retain a chunk of broadband width for use, or we can even lease more of it. We can use it to create a revenue stream for the future."

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