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Monett R-1 Board adopts $26 million budget

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

(Photo)
Moving has begun at Monett Elementary School in advance of construction that will enclose the north classroom wing, shown above. Furniture from all the classrooms is being moved to other buildings, where classes will be held in a new arrangement for the 18-month construction cycle. [Times Photo by Murray Bishoff]
The Monett R-1 School Board closed its books on the 2009-10 school year and made financial plans for the start of the coming year by adopting a $26 million spending plan.

The 2009-10 year closed with a surplus of $388,000, increasing the operating reserves from 17 to 19 percent.

"The board is very comfortable with that, considering the economic constraints we're dealing with and uncertainties in state funding," said Superintendent Dr. John Jungmann.

Jungmann reported Governor Jay Nixon's latest round of $70 million in budget cuts will reduce what Monett receives for transportation by another $75,000.

"The most we've received for transportation was $200,000," Jungmann said. "Now I think we'll get $70,000. Compared to other districts, we run fewer miles. Cassville has three times as many miles, and McDonald County runs 50 bus routes that costs them $300,000 to $400,000 a year. That kind of cut impacts certain districts more than others. This kind of cut hurts us less than others."

Two days before the meeting the board held a budget workshop, ironing out the 2010-11 budget for passage. The new budget calls for total revenues of $25,083,959, compared to spending of $26,223,275. The deficit, Jungmann explained, comes from planned construction at Monett Elementary School.

The budget for operating the schools will be $20,618,959. The previous year was about $1 million higher due to major technology equipment purchases made with grant money.

Board members approved a salary schedule, setting the base pay at $32,350 or $250 higher than last year. A $420 step was added for years of service.

"The board didn't want teachers going home with less, especially with health insurance and increased retirement payments," Jungmann said. "The increases should keep the majority of employees from having a smaller amount of take-home pay.

"The budget has been a moving target all spring," Jungmann said. "It's probably not done moving. We've got a place to start. It's a very conservative budget. It gives us room for reductions without impacting classrooms."

Steve Wilson, representing the Community Teachers Association, thanked the board for considering salary increases in a difficult economy.

Construction projects

Construction crews are expected to move in shortly at Monett Elementary School. Jungmann reported the removal of playground equipment on the north side of the campus should be finished this week.

With help from the Monett Street Department, sidewalks on the north and east sides of Central Park Elementary have been replaced. Plans also call for replacing the walk along Scott Street by the Middle School's South Building.

The old walk on Scott Street presents a variety of problems. Each section is filled with the names of graduating classes from nearly 100 years ago up into the 1920s. Jungmann said the board wants to place all the names on a plaque or bench. The old walk is too badly deteriorated te preserve and has been difficult to maintain, he added.

The other summer project involves moving two offices. At Central Park Elementary, the main office will move from the middle of the building to the southwest corner. The east doors, which have been the main entrance, will be locked after buses unload. Public traffic will be rerouted to enter off Sixth Street.

At the high school, the counseling office will move into the old fax room nearby. Jungmann said the move will provide space for offices and a computer lab where students can better explore college options.

Program review

Assistant Superintendent Julie Germann provided an evaluation overview on the guidance and counseling program. The staff identified five points as major program strengths:

* Providing social services' support and resources for at risk families and children;

* College and career planning efforts, showing growth in college enrollment after graduation;

* The recently started Freshman Academy to help middle school students transition to high school;

* Student Ambassadors at the Southwest Area Career Center;

* MAP Spirit Week.

Counselors saw the following as needing improvement:

* Enrollment at Monett Elementary indicates another part-time counselor would be beneficial.

* Lack of time to work with small groups.

* The need for a computer mini-lab for students, which is being addressed in the office move.

The top two needs seen for the program were additional staff and more technology resources available for use by students, Germann said.

Administrative action

Two teachers were hired to fill out the roster of certified staff.

Emily Hanson, of Springfield, was hired as an elementary teacher. Hanson is a recent graduate of Missouri State University and will be taking her first teaching position.

Sonya Kew was hired for a fifth grade teaching job at the Intermediate School. Kew has been a sixth grade teacher in the McDonald County District.

The next R-1 School Board meeting will be on July 22.



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