Boonville School Board approves 2020-21 budget, hears on construction and long-range plans

Chris Bowie
Boonville Daily News

The Boonville R-I School Board covered a number of topics at last Wednesday’s meeting, ranging from long-range operational and facilities plan presentation by Fred Smith to discussing bus routes and transportation budget for the upcoming school year.

Boonville R-I Superintendent Sarah Marriott said during the facilities presentation, Smith identified what the district would like to have completed in the future, as well as projects that they’ve already completed as well as estimated cost for future projects. Marriott added that Smith also shared facilities report and work is heavily progressing across the district and all of the buildings with the exception of David Barton right now. 

“David Barton re-roof and electrical upgrades will begin as soon as summer school dismisses, which is June 22, and then they will start on that project, Marriott said. “The high school and B-Tech connector is almost complete. They have a few finishes left as well as cleaning. There’s also a lot of flooring that's being replaced, lockers that are being installed, and some renovations to the commons area. There also working on putting new windows in the gym area, which will help with any leakage and air leakage as well as water leakage around those windows, so that will be the final piece for the gym. At the B-Tech, we're looking at obtaining some prices for improved ventilation and exhaust measures in the B-Tech shop spaces, so we hope that will fall within our budgeted amounts that we had. At Hannah Cole Primary, work is ongoing for repairs, and upgrades to the HVAC system. 

“At LSE, we have new flooring being installed, we have new cabinetry and fixtures going in the art room, new lockers are being installed, new stair treads, painting will start I believe after the completion of all those other projects. The office is also getting some minor renovations, and then at the alternative school they are completing some of the work. We converted the garage to classroom space and we’re relocating our parents as teachers program to the alternative school. We're also going to put in some new flooring at the alternative school, and then we added new doors to the front. A new entry for in school suspension access will also be installed. Previously, everyone accessed the same door so now we're going to have separate entrances for all of those programs.”

Marriott added that B-Tech/Boonville High School connector is close to being completed, while LSE renovations should be done the first part of August and Hannah Cole by mid-August. She said David Barton will be ongoing throughout the school year.

The board also approved the board secretary for the 2021-22 school year. Marriott said Katie Bird is the current secretary and will remain on as the board secretary.

Also, the board approved the final bus routes for 2020-21. Marriott said this is just a standard procedure that the board has to approve at the beginning and end of each school year. 

The board also heard some good news concerning the actual fiscal year 2020-21 budget, which ends June 30. 

Marriott said last year’s school budget was approved by the board.

“We ended up having a good fiscal year,” Marriott said. “We did some very conservative projections and budgeting at the beginning of the fiscal year, which has helped us so we were able to transfer some money back into our reserves and begin building back our reserve balances again.  At the same time, the board approved the upcoming school year budget and with significant changes other than we will be receiving our federal allocations for Esser money, and so those are one time funds.”

The board also approved vendor contracts. Marriott said these are contracted agencies and people that the district needs to contract services with. She said for instance, the district has a vision instructor, a deaf and hard of hearing instructor that they contract with a physical therapist. The district also has a couple of students that receive one on one nursing services because they have very significant medical needs, so they have a nurse that comes with him or her to school.

The board also discussed administrative assistant positions at David Barton and LSE. Marriott said at this time the board decided to not pursue this option due to concerns of the substantiability of that position and critical need. “We feel that we really need to look at teaching staff as a priority if we want to add staff because there still are needs for in the future that we may need to look at adding some teaching staff,” Marriott said. “We felt that we really just couldn't sustain that position as the administrative assistant position if we were to add that for the upcoming school year.”

In other new business, the board adjusted the crossing guard salaries to minimum wage.

The board also looked into the feasibility of reducing the bus route by one bus in the fleet. “We don't believe that this has ever been looked at in 15-20 years, and so Fred (Smith) did some research with our best company,” Marriott said. “It will not impact the number of students that we transport, so we're going to continue to provide transportation to all eligible students with the exception of bus No. 9, which is our bus that goes to Wooldridge. All of the other bus routes will be extended by 10 minutes to accommodate for the reduced bus for the bus fleet, and that will result in a savings a minimum savings of $51,000 for the school district per year.”

In the superintendent’s report, Marriott said summer school will conclude on June 22.

Marriott also reported that 595 students in kindergarten through 12th grade participated in summer school. She said the board also reviewed a food service budget update. The food service department served 93,193 breakfasts and 136,904 lunches this school year.

Note: At the last school board meeting, CJ Zeller was named the new district special education director, which begins July 1. Marriott said this is a district administrative position that was absorbed by her three years ago as a cost savings measure.