The Boonville R-I Board of Education met Wednesday and approved a district reopening date of May 4.


The last day of class for students was March 17. Schools were originally scheduled to reopen April 13.


“There has not been any additional guidance from the governor, which we were hoping and possibly anticipating,” Superintendent Sarah Marriott said. “It is still at local discretion if those closures want to extend or if we want to remain with our set reopen date.”


School districts still have to complete a checklist to submit to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education prior to reopening.


The governor has not mandated a closure of school districts in the state of Missouri at this time, Marriott said. So, it is up to each individual school board or school district to make closure decisions, she said.


Reopening April 13 is clearly premature based on public health guidance, board president Charlie Melkersman said. Board member Lisa Leathers agreed. The vote for the May 4 reopening was unanimous.


Marriott is holding out hope the district can come back together on that date.


“Even if we get the kids back for two or three weeks, at this point, it’s re-establishing some of those relationships and checking on our kids,” she said. “I don’t know if there will be a lot of intensive instruction at that time, but I really think the purpose will [be to] refocus, and then kind of gear up for summer school potentially and next fall.”


The board also talked about the budget, meal distributions and graduation.


There will be a lot of state and federal reimbursements the school district will not be getting, Marriott said. The school district will not receive food service or transportation reimbursements at the same rates.


While the budget may be conservative, it may not be conservative enough, Marriott said.


“We have gone with the intent that we are going to receive less than we did last year,” she said. “There are just a lot of unknowns right now that are painting an extremely bleak financial picture for school districts for next year.”


The more meals the district distributes to displaced students, the better, Marriott said, because they still allow for some financial reimbursements.


The board will make a decision in the next few weeks about graduation. A decision is likely April 20 to give parents enough time and information.


“I can’t emphasize this enough that we do not want to cancel graduation,” Marriott said. "If it means we are going to have graduation in July, we will.”


All of the Boonville Daily News’ coronavirus coverage is being provided free to our readers. Please consider supporting local journalism by subscribing to the Boonville Daily News at https://www.boonvilledailynews.com/subscribenow. Help keep local businesses afloat at supportlocal.usatoday.com.