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R-1 Board commits funds preparing for new year

Friday, June 3, 2011

R-1 Board makes financial moves for coming year

The Monett R-1 Board of Education made financial decisions for summer school and the 2011-12 school year at its May meeting.

Board members adopted the budget for summer school, which began today. Superintendent Dr. John Jungmann said projections are "very much in line with last year." Between 500 and 550 students are expected to attend.

Bids are being sought until June 7 for summer improvements planned at Central Park Elementary School. Work includes replacing the tile on the hallways and cafeteria, installing new lighting and ceiling grids for the same area and considering bids for a potential canopy. Jungmann expects to call a special meeting to accept bids. The goal is to have work completed by the beginning of school on Aug. 17.

Additional summer work will include restriping and sealing David Sippy Drive and the high school parking lot. Jungmann has confirmed the City of Monett's street department will help with replacing the sidewalk on the south side of Central Park. The new sidewalk will be raised to avoid the current problem of turning into a lake during rains.

Looking at the ongoing construction at Monett Elementary School, Jungmann said work has continued on schedule. The wing for kindergarten and first grade classrooms will be ready for the opening of school. The second grade wing will be ready later in the fall.

Recent work has included laying the floor tile in the classroom wing and installing the storefront windows. All the doors, ceiling grid and lighting had been installed by the board meeting, and all the painting completed in the classroom wing. Much of the summer will be taken up by finishing the office, cafeteria and commons area.

Installation of the playground equipment on the north side of the building is expected to start shortly. Jungmann said additional dirt work has been needed to assure proper drainage.

At the request of the city, the board agreed to the addition of a fire hydrant on the west side of the building. The rear location by the service entrance will provide more protection in case of a fire.

To advance finishing work at Monett Elementary, board members approved a bid for library shelving and additional shelves for classrooms. Three bids were received. Alpine got the contract for $27,900. Jungmann said the price was in line with budget projections.

Board members approved a three-year contract with Gale Webb Transportation for bus service after reviewing three bids from providers. Webb submitted the low bid, including no increases for the first two years and has a cost of living increase in the third year. The contract covers the cost of buses and personnel. The district will pay gasoline costs for the duration of the contract, unlike past arrangements, Jungmann said.

State funding to hold

Jungmann updated the board on the completion of the Missouri General Assembly's session. Although some of the items helping schools did not move forward, none of the controversial issues such as charter schools, open enrollment or tenure revision advanced either.

"Nothing excessively beneficial was done," Jungmann commented. "Many of the issues will be back on the table again next year. The best thing is legislators approved level funding for next year. We're very pleased to anticipate no reductions."

The allocation for transportation was up slightly from what was received during the past year, but not up to the amount approved for the year. Jungmann observed what passed may be $90 million over budget and may see line-item reductions made by Governor Jay Nixon. Withholding of funds may also occur in case revenues pick up as the year continues.

Recommendations made for the fifth cycle of the Missouri School Improvement Program (MSIP) have been tabled, Jungmann reported. Proposals that would have increased core requirements and accreditation standards made without consulting professional educators from school districts will be reviewed in meetings around the state during June and July. Jungmann expected to attend some of the meetings.

"I'm optimistic that there is potential to adjust things to make them better for kids," Jungmann said.

A report was presented on TEAM Monett, the replacement for the Career Ladder program that focused on tutoring, enrichment and mentoring. A total of 73 teachers participated, putting in around 3,500 hours of work with students.

Jungmann said administrators were pleased to see that 90 percent of teachers who responded to a survey felt the program had been effective. Small group settings had been used primarily in providing support to student efforts beyond the regular school day.

Board members approved continuing TEAM Monett for the coming school year. Participation by the same number of faculty members is expected. The financial commitment will represent approximately $110,000.

Insurance costs hold

Board members approved insurance bids for the coming year. Worker's compensation premiums dropped for the third year in a row, as did claims. Cost will be $86,000, down about $8,000 from last year's bill. Jungmann commended the work of Assistant Superintendent Julie Germann for spearheading the safety awareness effort on each campus to lower the cost.

Property and casualty insurance cost came in at just over $41,000, up about $2,000 from the previous year. Jungmann credited some of that to construction at Monett Elementary School plus the addition of more technology equipment. The district stayed with the same insurance carrier.

The Community Teachers Association (CTA), represented by John Eden and Jennifer Wallace, thanked the board for its continued support for increased salaries. They said the CTA recognizes tight financial times, but asked board members to consider a cost of living raise.

Board members in turn expressed their appreciation for the work teachers do and committed to keeping salaries in line with other area schools. Jungmann said following the close of the fiscal year at the end of June, the board would hold a budget workshop and make its decision about salaries at the July meeting.

The board will hold its next regular meeting at 6 p.m. on June 30 in the administration office.

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