The Monett R-1 Board of Education has repositioned its approach to solving the traffic problems around Ninth and Cleveland by buying more property and expanding its options.
During the November board meeting, board members voted to purchase the properties at 615 Ninth St., immediately south of the lot the district had previously purchased on the southeast corner of Scott and Ninth Street. The board also voted to buy two properties west of the Middle School, one at the northwest corner of Eighth and Scott, facing south, and another immediately north, facing Eighth Street.
The board received offers and contracts and voted to proceed with closing on all three.
"We know with the school landlocked, issues from that will be challenges for the future," said Superintendent Dr. John Jungmann. "We saw the purchase as an opportunity, giving us more parking and potential for dealing with the traffic problem."
With new properties added to the equation, the board opted to ask its architects to take another look at the situation in the spring. Jungmann said they are looking for a long-term solution incorporated into a full campus study.
Houses on the lots will be offered for sale if anyone is interested in moving them. If not, Jungmann said the buildings may be sold as building supplies or demolished.
Update on construction
The board signed a certificate of significant completion with contractor R.E. Smith for work at Monett Elementary School. The reserve was paid down to $60,000 as work on the punch list progresses. Jungmann said small items such as painting, tile and leaks here and there were still being addressed.
Board members discussed when to take down the two buildings on the old Circle Drive as part of the next phase of construction. Because all the power to the campus was originally routed through the original central office, they decided to leave that building for the second phase of construction three to five years from now.
The classroom building immediately south of the old office, which has been used for both kindergarten and pre-school classes, will probably be removed this winter or in the spring, Jungmann said.
Close-out on the safe room built with funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been scheduled for December. Once completed, Jungmann said the building can be opened for public use.
Work is progressing at Central Park Elementary. The canopy on the west entrance is expected to be finished in the next few weeks. Adding the decking is the next step, Jungmann said.
Central Park has combined several additions over the decades and has developed a number of roof leaks. The board decided to bring in another roofing company from Mountain Home, Ark., to review the situation.
The board voted to adopt policies for the One to the World technology program, bringing a laptop computer to every student at Monett High School.
"We have a good dialogue and good questions on processes and procedures," Jungmann said. "This is new for all of us. The document we have now is probably not the same one we will have in the fall. It's a good starting point."
Principal David Steward has scheduled three parent nights to explain the new strategy to parents. Plans are in place to roll out the new computers on Jan. 3, 2012.
New cameras were purchased for the district's 14 school buses. Jungmann said the old technology was failing. With the purchase, the system will switch from using videotape to recording images directly on a computer hard drive.
The purchase will cost $22,000 from Allied Bus Service, of Nixa, and will include $1,350 for two cameras per bus, hard drive and installation. Jungmann expected work would be finished in a couple months.
The audit for the 2010-11 school year, conducted by The CPA Group, of Monett, was approved. No concerns were raised in the review.
Filing dates for the April 3, 2012, school board election were approved. Candidates can place their names at the superintendent's office. Positions open in the election are currently held by board president Dr. J.D. Roberts and Mark Coatney.
Board members signed paperwork with Snyder Electric to conduct a study of the district's energy use over the next few months. Ways to conserve energy are being sought.
Following a review of the district's insurance policy, board members voted to increase coverage. The loss of service coverage, for using other buildings if existing structures are lost, a key shortcoming discovered by the Joplin School District after the May 22 tornado, was boosted from $300,000 to $1 million.
The current insurance structural blanket policy for $47 million will likely increase as well, after adjustors assess completed work at Monett Elementary School, Jungmann added.
How much money the state needs to contribute to fully fund the Foundation Formula to provide adequate education has been recalculated on the two-year cycle. According to Jungmann, the number of high performance districts rose by the largest number of record. Consequently, the state needs to provide more than $500 million more to fully meet the formula's requirements.
The bad news, Jungmann said, is that there is no more money to add. To fund the formula at the current status would require $3.3 billion for the coming fiscal year and the state is only planning to spend $3 billion. The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has calculated how the shortfall will be distributed to the districts. The real discussions by legislators on how to address funding will begin in January, Jungmann added.
The board will next meet on Dec. 19.