School Board discusses a number of topics at monthly meeting

Chris Bowie
Boonville Daily News

The Boonville R-I Board of Education discussed a number of topics at Wednesday night’s monthly meeting, ranging from the Hannah Cole Primary HVAC System repairs to a facilities report and construction update.

Of course that was just two items discussed. Boonville R-I Superintendent Sarah Marriott also recognized the Boonville School District Board of Education members for their continued dedicated service in the district in honor of School Board Appreciation Week.

Marriott said during the meeting that she just wanted to recognize the board members who dedicate a lot of time and energy into making the district the best place possible for the students and staff. “We appreciate their efforts and can’t say enough,” Marriott said. 

Abby Arnette, english/language arts teacher at Boonville High School, gave a video presentation with the board on curriculum updates and changes. Marriott said Arnette shared information about what’s going on at the high school as far as reviewing curriculum and making some changes and updates and really planning for down the road.

“Abby discussed three new classes that the high school is going to offer next year such as a English Arts class, new piano class and a advanced biology class,” Marriott said. 

After the presentation by Arnette, Boonville Athletic Director Chris Shikles approached the board on the InSideOut Coaching Initiative at Boonville High School. 

The InSideOut Initiative—a national movement that empowers and equips school communities to implement purpose-based athletics—is in partnership with the Kansas City Chiefs, Missouri State High School Activities Association and the NFL Foundation.

The InSideOut Initiative provides training for educational leaders, athletic administrators, coaches, and community-stakeholders and supports schools in redefining and reframing the value of sports as a platform to develop the human potential of students.

In unfinished business, Boonville Assistant Superintendent Fred Smith gave an update on the HVAC System repairs and how to best approach the Hannah Cole and HVAC repairs that are needed. 

Marriott said the board wants to make sure that they are good stewards of tay payer dollars, and they’re being very careful and very mindful about what is the best approach because they want to get a fix that is a long term solution rather than a temporary one. 

“When you look at those long term solutions, they’re very costly, and so they’re just being mindful and careful of that,” Marriott said. “We do have a very solid recommendation from an engineering firm and construction firm that can make those updates and changes. The board wants to review that contract and just make sure that they have everything outlined thoroughly.”

Marriott said the HVAC system repairs will cost between $1.2-1.6 million. 

Review and approval of the custodial service bids were also on the agenda at Wednesday’s board meeting. Marriott said this is not to replace any current position but only to utilize a service only when they can’t staff custodial positions. She said one of the issues they run into is not having any applicants for some evening shifts. 

“We just can’t leave them completely unfilled, so the district needed to look at some other options, and the best scenario was to look at a contracted vendor for that,” Marriott said. “However, I want to emphasize that it will only be used when we can’t fill those positions.”

The board also looked at a strategic plan approval. Presented at last month’s board meeting, Marriott said this is a plan that will be in place for the next five years. She said it addresses what the goals and priorities are of the district and action/steps the district will take to meet those goals.

“This has been a long process, and to develop this plan, it will involve some community members initially, and then also involves some staff and board members to develop this plan,” Marriott said. “It took a lot of work.”

Smith also gave the board a facilities report and construction update. 

Marriott said everything is progressing well but noted that the biggest obstacle right now are regarding shipping delays, which is not uncommon given when you look at construction. She said everyone is encountering those delays. 

The board also reviewed and discussed AirEvac ambulance coverage for employees. Marriott said this was something that was presented to her and she just wanted to share with the board as potential additional benefit that they could present to the staff.

“It’s basically providing coverage, which is not included in their health insurance plans,” Marriott said. “It would just be an additional premium paid for by the district, so the board is going to consider that and see what the cost is and see if they feel that this is a benefit that the staff would need.”

The board is also in discussion about revising the health nurse pay schedule. Marriott said this year in particular has been indicative of how imperative the nursing services are for students in the district, and when the board looks at their LPN health aide salary schedule, they know they have some work to do.

“We’re just looking at gathering some information right now to see what other school districts of similar size and demographic are paying,” Marriott said. “The board will form a small committee to consider some possible recommended changes."

The board also approved advertisement to bid for furnishings for the new classroom addition, and waste management services. 

Marriott said the waste management contact is up.

Health insurance renewal rates was also discussed by the board. Marriott said this was the first presentation of the health insurance renewal rates for the upcoming year. She said she is pleased to be able to report that the health insurance premiums are only going up 5.3 percent.

“Any increase is not desired, but certainly given the economy, it’s expected that we’re going to have those increases,” Marriott said.

The board also discussed two representatives to the TIF Commission. Marriott said this is the tax increment financing committee at the city level, and since the district receives taxpayer dollars, they are allotted two members to sit on that committee.

Marriott and board member Dan Horst will serve on the committee. 

Marriott also reported that currently the district has no students or staff members with COVID-19, which is amazing. She said some of the staff members have received their second dose of COVID vaccine this week.

In the next board meeting on March 17, Marriott said the board will review teacher contracts. Marriott also mentioned that because of snow days, the district will have to make up two of those days. The two makeup days are March 11 and April 5.