The Verona R-1 Board of Education explores different strategies for saving money during the October meeting.
Superintendent William Sweet said he explored the advantages of refinancing the districts bonds with the L.J. Hart investment banking firm. Bonds used to finance construction of the new high school can be repackaged at reduced interest rates that will result in an $80,000 savings and take two years off the length of the board.
Board members liked the idea and plan to meet with a representative from Hart for possible action at the Nov. 15 meeting.
Efforts to reduce the amount of substitute teachers employed by the district have had some success, Sweet said. Last year, the board agreed to change the sick leave system. Instead of granting certified teachers nine sick days a year for up to 90 days total, the board retired the old system and voted to change the formula to a maximum of 45 days.
Days accumulated over the maximum will be paid off at the end of each year at a higher rate of $25 per unused sick days, compared to $10 a day previously. In addition, teachers who do not use any sick days or personal time in a month will be eligible to participate in a drawing from September through April for a gift card.
Sweet spoke to other districts to develop the approach. He reported teachers are making a greater effort to schedule appointments outside of school hours and stay in the classroom as much as possible. One former employee has filed an appeal with the Missouri Unemployment Office regarding their denied benefits.
Both ABBCO janitorial services and Aramark expressed interest in taking over the district's custodial services. Sweet said the district could save money buying supplies in bulk and having no unemployment or worker's compensation claims.
Concern was expressed over how the current custodial staff would be handled if a switch was made. The board showed interest in pursuing the alternative, including obtaining a detailed cost for comparison.
In other business, board members agreed to a memorandum of understanding endorsing the local effort by the Southwest Center for Educational Excellence applying for a federal Race to the Top grant. Authorization was granted for sending the FFA Chapter members to Indianapolis, Ind. for the national FFA convention.
High school principal Terry Winton reported ACT college entrance exams would be given at Verona High School on Oct. 27. The Missouri Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force planned to present a program on cyber bullying and Internet crimes during an assembly on Nov. 19.