With More State Cuts Looming, School Board Approves Spending Reductions
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June 5, 2003

With More State Cuts Looming, School Board Approves Spending Reductions

With the knowledge that next year's state educational funding will be cut by no less than $161 million while facing further cuts of as much as $200 million if the economy continues to be sluggish, the Scotland County R-I Board of Education approved a number of budget cuts at the May 30th meeting.

The board voted unanimously to reduce building expenditures by 15 percent which will save the district an estimated $23,000. All non-competitive field trips were also eliminated at savings of roughly $12,000. The board also voted to stop funding the elementary basketball league that cost $2,418 last year.

The district will also combine the formerly separate seventh and eighth grade sports teams into one junior high squad for each sport. The consolidation will save $3,224. Another reduction was approved in the food service department where one full-time job was cut back to 4/10 time at a savings of $10,650.

But the biggest savings came when the board agreed not to purchase a new school bus that would have cost $50,000 from the 2003-04 budget. Overall the board approved the cost cutting moves that will save an estimated $101,289.

The district had previously made reductions totaling $134,726 at the April meeting bringing the total budget drawn down for next year to $236,015.

The board discussed the impending veto session that was to begin in Jefferson City when the legislators reconvened for the special session on June 2.

The budgetary issues took their toll on the school's salary committee as well. The faculty members recommended a salary increase for all staff members of 1.66 percent next year for each base level while allowing the employees the opportunity to advance on their salary schedule where applicable.

The board voted unanimously to accept the proposal.

After convening in executive session the board announced the hiring of three new staff members for 2003-04. Ryan Brown was hired as a K-12 physical education instructor. Katie Lewis-Lehr was hired as the new instrumental music teacher and Kelli Swearingen was hired as the Title I Instructor.

Both Swearingen and Brown were immediately filled into vacancies in the district's coaching staff.

Former varsity boys basketball coach Jaryt Hunziker was released from his contract at the May meeting to allow him to take a similar job at his alma mater in Clark County. Brown will take over as the boys varsity basketball coach.

At the May meeting the board also received the resignation of Andrea Dabney as the varsity girls basketball coach. Her former assistant Josh Smith also resigned his positions as assistant coach for both the girls basketball and softball programs. Smith will remain the varsity girls track coach.

A third resignation was accepted by the board from Jodie Dunnett as a high school food service employee.

In the executive session, the board voted to offer a number of extra-curricular contracts. In addition to her basketball duties, Swearingen will serve as assistant coach for the varsity softball team.

Brown will pick up the junior high boys track team as his secondary duty.

Nathan Pippert will take over the junior high football team while Gary Hunziker will coach junior high boys basketball. Dabney will head up the junior high girls team.

Safe Schools Grant

High School Principal Dave Shalley and Special Education Director Rhonda McBee received board approval to pursue a safe schools grant. The program offers a matching grant with 70-percent of the grant coming from the state with a 30-percent match by the district.

The SCR-I grant proposal asks for $100,000 to fund an alternative instruction for students who do not perform up to their potential in a typical classroom.

Student Insurance

Lawrence E. Smith and Associates of St. Louis will once again offer an optional accident insurance policy for SCR-I students. Those students who choose to participate may select the $12 school-time plan. A 24-hour plan is available for $40 with the varsity tackle football package costing $45. An optional dental plan is available for $3.

N.A.E.I.R

The board voted unanimously to renew the district's $450 annual membership to N.A.E.I.R. Each year the school is allowed four trips to the organization's facility in Galesburg, IL to retrieve donated items for use by the school.

"I believe we get more than our money's worth for this fee and recommend that the board continue their association with the N.A.E.I.R. organization," said Superintendent LeRoy Huff.

Overnight Trip

A request was approved for an overnight travel plan for local FFA and 4-H members to participate in the Mid-America Grasslands contest in Springfield June 9-11.

"This team has been very successful this year and this event concluded their efforts for the year," Huff said.

The board voted 7-0 to allow the trip as advisor Bill Cottrell arranged for a rental van with the assistance of 4-H to pay the agreed upon room rates and a portion of the transportation costs that was not to exceed $500.

Bank Bids

The district's existing financial services contract is due to expire this year and the board agreed to solicit for bids for banking services through the 2004-05 year with one-year options through 2008. Bank of Kirksville currently provides the services to the district.

The bids will be reviewed at the June 26 board meeting.

Career Ladder

Two instructors had their requests approved for advancement on the career ladder.

Dawn Triplett requested and received permission to bypass her final year of Stage I to Enter Stage II. She will be entering her ninth year of teaching in Missouri. Marie Alexander was approved to jump up to Stage III after completing her first year at Stage II. Alexander has been teaching in Missouri for 10 years.

Procedural Evaluations

McBee presented the procedural evaluations for the district special education program. During the presentation McBee reviewed the past year's performances for the special education department and concluded with a proposal to add a Title I instructor for junior high math and language arts.

The board approved the recommendation. There will be no local expense for the staff addition, as it will be totally funded by federal funding.


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