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R-1 Board discusses performing arts center

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The possibility of adding a performing arts center at Monett High School emerged as the Monett R-1 Board of Education discussed facilities at the March meeting.

Superintendent Dr. John Jungmann said ideas from architect Pam Haldeman, with Sapp Design Associates, about a storm shelter, suggested new possibilities. The square footage needed to house all of the students from the high school and the Southwest Area Career Center (SWACC) suggested a bigger building than board members originally suspected.

"The initial rendering showed a building that could seat 600 to 700 students," Jungmann said. "A performing arts center would be an asset for the entire community. It's the one thing we're missing at the high school.

"If we could use federal funds to pay for the structure, we could use our funds to pay for whatever we want, like the lights and the seats," Jungmann said.

The shelter for the high school and SWACC has received initial approved from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The application is presently advancing through the review process as funding becomes available.

Board members also heard preliminary details about Haldeman's ideas for placing a storm shelter at Monett Middle School to serve the intermediate and middle school campuses. Jungmann said Haldeman has considered placing the building next to the existing cafeteria on the south.

Because of a sharp drop between the cafeteria and the E.E. Camp Gymnasium, it appeared unlikely a storm shelter would connect the two buildings. Jungmann said any construction at the campus would proceed with an eye toward solving the overall space and traffic issues there for the next 20 years.

To proceed with the storm shelters, Jungmann said the board will have to advertise for credentials to hire an architect. All architects will have to be considered before a contract can be awarded.

In another facilities issues, the engineering study on the E.E. Camp gymnasium, done by Toth and Associates, of Springfield, showed the building was structurally sound. Some cosmetic issues, such as brick and facia, need attention, Jungmann said.

Bids were reviewed for placing acoustical tiles in the gymnasium. All the quotes came in "way above projections," Jungmann said. Action was tabled for further investigation.

Personnel action

Board members rehired 67 provisional teachers for the coming year and moved 18 faculty members from provisional employment to tenure. The district presently employs 186 teachers and 11 administrators.

High school band teacher Danika White, who has tenure, will not return in that capacity next year. Jungmann said the high school band director is considered an extra-duty activity, and the board decided to find someone else for that assignment. According to Jungmann, White would be eligible for another post as a certified teacher, to be named at a later date by the administration, not the board.

Around 20 patrons attended part of the meeting to show support for White. Jungmann said anyone is welcome to attend board meetings.

Two letters of retirement were approved. Ed Norman will retire from teaching welding at SWACC after completing 27 years. Mary Enloe is retiring from a 22-year career in education after teaching eight years at Monett Elementary School.

The board voted to hire Jessica McFadden as a middle school math teacher. McFadden taught middle school math for four years in the Tahlequah, Okla., area.

The annual reorganizational meeting was scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on April 11. No election is needed this year.

Contracts approved

Board members reviewed the annual contract with Opaa to run the district's food service for the 2012-13 school year. Jungmann said the contract reflected minimal inflation.

The food service budget for the current school year is near the targeted break-even point, continuing positive financial trends. Projections for next year show similar numbers, Jungmann said.

A presentation on the food service program was made by Janie Duffy, regional supervisor for Opaa, and Assistant Superintendent Brad Hanson. They discussed new federal guidelines for school meals and changes that may be required to stay in compliance while not having a negative effect on the program.

Board members reviewed bids for surplus property left over from remodeling at Monett Elementary School. Jungmann said special letters about the sale had been sent to local churches, schools and organizations so that items like chairs, desks, projectors and bookcases would get continued use in the community. He added there was a lot of participation in the sale.

Board members reviewed the school resource officer contract for the 2012-13 school year. The city will continue to fully bear the expense of having the resource officer through June 30, the end of the current school year.

The district's health insurance contract was renewed with a 4.4 percent increase. Jungmann said thanks to the statewide consortium to which Monett belongs, the cost represented the lowest increase the district has seen in the 10 years Jungmann has been with the district.

Jungmann said he has recommended to the board's insurance committee that the district increase its payment per employee from $410 to $430 a month. The board will act on the financial committee's recommendation when passing its budget in June.

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