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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

R-1 School Board eyes savings

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Students at Monett High School preparing to go home for the day. [Times Photo by Murray Bishoff]
The possibility of saving money on its debt prompted the Monett R-1 Board of Education to authorize action at its October board meeting.

Superintendent Dr. John Jungmann reported that some of the district's bonds can now be re-purchased. Buying back the bonds for refinancing at a lower interest rate could save the district as much as $500,000 in interest payments over the life of the bonds.

Jungmann discussed the matter with LJ Hart and Company, the investment banker used by the district for its bond issues. Board members authorized the superintendent to proceed. Jungmann expected to have a recommendation in a month or two.

At the present time, the district has been making two annual payments on its bonds, some with all the money going to interest instead of principle. Jungmann planned to propose an accelerated payment schedule, once interest was reduced, that could lead to further savings.

Construction update

Board members approved hiring Sapp Design Associates, the architect for the expansion project at Monett Elementary School, as project manager for the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) storm shelter/gymnasium. Jungmann said Sapp will process all the needed paperwork and serve as the go-between for the district with FEMA on the grant-funded effort.

"Significant signs of progress" are being seen at the Monett Elementary School construction site, Jungmann said. Crews are working toward having the bus loop from the north side of the campus to the east side done before the cold weather settles in. The road will enable R.E. Smith Construction crews to proceed on dirtwork for the lower part of the north parking lot.

A new feature in the elementary school project has been added. District patron Cecil Mayer had a sculpture of two bear cubs climbing a tree carved into a tree in his yard a number of years ago. Mayer offered to donate the piece to the district.

Board members shared Jungmann's enthusiasm for the gift. The statue will be worked into the entryway of the library at the school.

A bid for enough dirt to place four inches of top soil over the football practice field at the high school was accepted from Vaughn Dirtworks. Jungmann said Vaughn priced the work at around 70 loads. The new surface should make the ground more friendly to student use, Jungmann said.

After additional advertising, the district received no bids for the house made by the construction technology class as its last project. The board directed Jungmann to investigate other options, including moving the house to a lot owned by the district or making arrangements with Habitat for Humanity. Jungmann said the construction class would like to clear its pad to make room for another project.

Career ladder replacement

TEAM (Tutoring, Enrichment And Mentoring) Monett has started as a replacement for Career Ladder. Jungmann reported 80 faculty have signed up for the program, which equates to about 75 percent of those who participated in Career Ladder.

TEAM Monett serves as an after-school effort focused on tutoring and enrichment. Jungmann was pleased with the number of faculty willing to participate in the first year. Between 250 and 300 kindergarten and eighth grade students are benefitting from tutoring three nights a week.

Policy review

Last year the board agreed to have the Missouri School Boards Association (MSBA) manage the district's policy manual and convert it to an online service. Jungmann reviewed all the current policies and gave board members changes to consider. The revised policy manual will be accessible online through the MSBA website.

Miscellaneous action

Board members reviewed the annual audit provided by The CPA Group in Monett. No significant concerns were raised in the review.

Board members approved the annual student ridership list for school buses. Jungmann said around 1,150 students use the buses, about the same as in recent years.

Surplus property was approved for sale. Items up for bid include three cook stoves, shelving, wood back chairs, several analog televisions, cabinets and folding chairs.

The next board meeting will be held Nov. 18.

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