Board members voted to employ all of the principals, assistant principals, assistant superintendent and the special services director for another year of service.
Resignations were accepted for Hailey Acklin, vocal music teacher at the middle and high schools, and Diane Coston, a process coordinator for the special services department. Vickie McGuire, long-time teacher at Central Park Elementary, announced her retirement.
Hired to fill the vacancy for the auto collision technology instructor at the Southwest Area Career Center was Jansen Fisher, a Mt. Vernon High School graduate, Fisher is also a graduate of Ozark Technical College and has worked in auto collision shops for several years. This will be Fisher's first full-time teaching position.
State funding concerns
A number of financial concerns had the attention of board members. Superintendent Dr. John Jungmann reported the Missouri School Boards Association offered perspective on Governor Jay Nixon's comments on the state budget, as well as maneuvering by state legislators during the early weeks of the Missouri General Assembly. The governor's budget supplement proposed in January fell $43 million short of paying for commitments in the Foundation Formula for education this year.
Jungmann said the financial plan proposed by Nixon represented a small part of the state's $3 billion education budget. The result could be a loss of $100,000 for the R-1 District.
Withholding of funds from the Parents As Teachers program, as previously reported, now appeared likely, Jungmann said. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education was reducing the number of visits to homes for which the district would receive reimbursement.
Monett's Parents As Teachers program currently serves 221 children age 5 and younger. Jungmann said the district would continue to serve the same number of children during the current school year but would look at ways to improve efficiency and cut screening costs. A careful look would be taken to stay within state funding for the coming year, Jungmann added.
Looking ahead to next school year, Jungmann said Nixon has proposed a budget that falls approximately $90 million short of what the Foundation Formula is supposed to total, including an $18 million addition that the legislature committed to phasing in this year.
"From the conversations we heard, there was a commitment from both sides to not reduce funding," Jungmann said. "Republicans drafted the formula and are committed to phasing it in fully. We're uncertain where they are going to come up with the money to do that."
In the end, Jungmann said it is unlikely that any clarity will emerge until the General Assembly wraps up its session in May.
"It's clear as mud at this point, which is what it normally is," Jungmann said. "It's a tough time for the legislature and the state. The governor's message was he did not plan to significantly reduce funding for K-12 education. It's a positive message considering the economic climate."
Elementary school plans
In preparation for the April 6 no-tax-increase bond issue vote on renovation and expansion at the Monett Elementary School campus, architects Pam Haldiman and Jim Stufflebeam from Sapp Design Associates brought updated schematic drawings and floor plans. The latest information included a schedule of possible phasing of the project and budget summaries.
Word about the proposed storm shelter appears to be the is uncertain at this point, Jungmann said. No more grants can be approved until the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) receives additional funding from Congress.
|"The project as we know it will continue," Jungmann said. "At some point, if funding doesn't get sent through six months into the project, do we rethink making the gym a storm shelter or just a gym?||"The difference between a gym and a FEMA shelter is about $50 a square foot," Jungmann said, "or about a $400,000 additional expense. Basically the board is committed to making it a storm shelter if we have the money. Hopefully we can delay the decision until the end of the year. We can change the construction timelines and hold off until later in the phasing. At some point it's a decision we'll have to make."|
In the renovation plan, the current campus gym will be converted into the library/media center.
"We still believe the money will come through," Jungmann said. "We'll keep monitoring the situation and keep our fingers crossed."
Assistant Superintendent Julie Germann gave board members the testing schedule for the Missouri Achievement Program this spring. Most of the tests will be given in April. End-of-course tests at the high school will all be done in May.
With more tests being done on-line this year, Germann said the district will get results back quicker.
The board heard a presentation from the new FFA Booster Club and a rundown on what the FFA has done during the first half of the school year.