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June 28, 2021, SSD200 Board meeting

The Sedalia School District 200 Board of Education met Monday, June 28, for its regular monthly meeting in the Heckart Performing Arts Center at Smith-Cotton High School. All board members were in attendance in person.

The board approved the final budget amendment for the 2020-21 school year. Details:

Total Revenues = $65,837,910.21 

Total Expenditures = $61,621,937.22

Difference = $4,215,972.99 

The board also approved the preliminary budget for the 2021-22 school year, which includes  $60,151,477.64 in estimated expenditures and $54,527,304.13 in estimated revenues.  The proposed budget represents $5.6 million in deficit spending. Causes for potential deficit spending include: carryover project expenditures from 2020-2021 ($248,000); increases in possible virtual tuition expenses ($885,000); pool payment to the City of Sedalia ($649,000); possible land acquisition cost ($500,000); parking lot repairs and surfacing ($530,000); potential construction projects to repair existing facilities and grounds ($1,250,000); completion expenses of the new ECSE Center ($1,651,000); that total is about $5.7 million. Reserves for 2020-21 are projected at 57.23 percent; next year, they are projected at 46.33 percent. The 21-22 revenue does not include ESSER III funds projected at $10.1 million, 20 percent of which must go toward student needs due to lost instructional time. Assistant Superintendent Dr. Todd Fraley said the budget reflects a conservative mindset with some expenditures, such as potential virtual tuition expenses, penciled in at levels on the higher end of the spectrum. The land acquisition expense also is just a recommendation for the board to consider as it looks to the district’s future.

The Five-Year Maintenance Plan also was approved. It includes projects that may be reimbursable from federal ESSER III funds. The district will need to consider whether to make significant investments into older facilities including Horace Mann Elementary and Washington Elementary as part of its long-range goals. Fraley said that upper walls at the junior high are in need of repair ($300,000 estimate), and that significant structural improvements will be needed at many district sites over the next five years.

The board voted against changing the athletic/activities director position salary schedule to align it with assistant principals at the high school; the move would have put the position’s compensation in line with districts of comparable size. Board Director Matthew Herren requested that any salary schedule change be held off until next school year, saying holding off would help staff morale. The vote was 4-3 against making the change, with Herren, Director Sam Kempton, President Diana Nichols and Secretary Barbara Schrader voting against.

The certified salary schedule had three columns added for employees with a master’s degree plus hours leading up to and including a doctorate degree. Superintendent Steve Triplett said the change affects a small number of staff members, with the goal being to attract and retain the best educators. 

Yearlong support staff vacation accrual changes were discussed. Fraley said they would be an incentive for maintenance and custodial staff, along with Central Office administrative assistants, to remain with the district and would not cost the district anything, 

Also Monday, the board:

-- Approved an additional assistant wrestling coach at Smith-Cotton High to help manage growth in the program. Two teaching positions and one paraprofessional at the Early Childhood Center also were approved; and all three are eligible to be paid with federal funding. Also, licensed practical nurses at all district buildings were placed on the same salary schedule.

-- Approved the updated Discipline Code Handbook, which had minor changes.

-- Discussed moving the Smith-Cotton High Commencement ceremony from 7 pm to 5 pm to allow families the opportunity for graduation events before Project Graduation starts. A vote will occur at the July board meeting.

-- Announced it has been honored with the Missouri School Boards Association 2021 Governance Team Award in recognition of its commitment to ongoing professional development and leadership. In addition, Board President Diana Nichols earned MSBA Master Board Member certification.

-- Approved a board meeting schedule for the 2021-22 school year. Triplett recommended that all board meetings be held in Heckart Performing Arts Center to best accommodate live streaming.  The board approved that option, which includes meeting the fourth Monday of each month with the option of calling special board meetings if needed.

-- Approved the list of district surplus items that will be made available for sale to the public.

-- Heard from Smith-Cotton Junior High social studies teacher Lori Hurt about her recent trip to Washington, D.C., with 20 eighth and ninth grade students. Hurt is making plans for the 2022 trip. Students Molly Miner and Anna Goodrich discussed the educational value of the trip.