The Boonville R-1 School district is hoping to include step raises and a 1% increase in staff income for the 2020-21 school year.

A decision was tabled May 20 by the board of education until its June 24 meeting.

Superintendent Sarah Marriot recognizes it is a significant cost to the district, but with diligent work, changes and accommodations could be made in other budget areas, she said.

"I know the board fully agrees that our staff has worked exceptionally hard this year in a very difficult circumstance," Marriott said. "I would like to be able to at least give them their steps and a 1% raise."

The raises may be easier to incorporate at a later time since the budget currently is in such a state of flux, board member Dan Horst said.

"I guess I would be more in favor of letting things alone for now and then if we find after really going through the budget that we still have the money we would do it then," he said.

This is preferable than trying to figure out where cuts are needed first, he said.

Board member Lisa Leathers, echoed this sentiment. The board needs a more concrete idea of budget cuts first and putting off a decision for another month allows for that, she said.

Steve Litwiller wants to keep staff morale up, but he doesn’t want the district to spend money it doesn’t have.

"There is no win in that game at all," he said. "I hate to cut back that step. We are already shorting [staff] slightly on insurance and I just don’t think that’s very good for morale."

If Missouri doesn’t receive further federal relief bill funding, the state will have to look at between an additional $500-$700 million in cuts, Marriott said.

"Schools in Missouri will receive another round of withholds around June 1," she said. "[Gov. Mike Parson] did not elaborate as to how much, what percentage and where those withholds are going to be instituted into public schools but that certainly will impact our fiscal year budget."

School districts need to be ready for significant cuts after July 1, she said. The governor is recommending putting projects on hold, eliminating programs or finding private sector ways to fill financial gaps as well as finding additional funding sources at the county level, Marriott said.

"I wanted to share that information because this is going to be very pertinent in decision making as we move forward over the next several months,"she said. "We should receive additional information in two weeks. I anticipate significant changes to our budget that we have previously outlined."

Student athletes to return?

The district hopes to bring back small groups of student athletes to the district starting June 1, Athletic Director Chris Shikles said.

"We are looking at groups of 10. With the facilities we have, the ability to really spread out and not be on top of each other [is possible],"he said.

Only outdoor activities are planned for the first two weeks of June. Once the third week arrives, then the district will look at some indoor activities and utilizing gymnasiums. The district will continue the dead week in July and then have student athletes return in conjunction with summer school July 6, Shikles said.

The district is preparing for business as usual but that does not mean modifications will not be made to practices and possibly events.

The Boonville Pirates Band will likely start at a later date, Shikles said.

"Nothing is set in stone but we are preparing for situations when fall athletics start,"Shikles said.

The Missouri State High School Athletics Association is allowing spring sports to continue into summer, but Boonville doesn’t plant to travel or host any events until at least July.

"We will re-evaluate in late June and look to potentially July for [events]," Shikles said. "At this point right now, however, everything we are preparing for the summer is in-house."

In other business:

The more than 20-year-old cooling tower at Laura Speed Elliott Middle School will be replaced after the Boonville R-1 Board of Education approved the measure May 20.

Tower mechanics failed beyond repair in the fall, Marriott said. A more efficient tower that is properly sized to meet building needs will be constructed. An energy performance contract for the cooling tower was approved.

Facility plans, beverage and dairy and bakery product contracts were approved. Breakfast and lunch prices were set.

A change order request for the Boonville High School roof renovation and replacement was approved.

Boonville will hold graduation June 12.

The board approved increasing the accounts receivable administrative assistant position from 7.5 hours per day to 8 hours per day.

Lindi Overton was recognized for her donation to the food service department. Lester and Desiree Jones were recognized for their donation to the high school through the Bud Jones Memorial. The district received an anonymous donation to pay all student food service debt.