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Huff, Backues commended at Board meeting

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Mr. Tony Huff accepted the Fleet Excellence Award from a member of the Missouri State Highway Patrol for receiving a 100 percent Inspection Rating.

The Licking R-VIII School Board met on Thursday, July 21, for their first regular monthly meeting of the 2022-2023 school year. Board members and school administrators were present for the meeting, with the exceptions of Board member Debbie Cook, HS Principal Jarad Rinne and Elementary Principal Telena Haneline. Also present were two community members.

Board President Rawly Gorman called the meeting to order at 6 p.m. Members approved the minutes from the previous meeting. District Superintendent Cristina Wright presented a review of the previous month’s financials and they were approved by the Board. More than one million dollars was spent in June, with some reimbursable by ESSER III funds and some by insurance.

Repairs to damage caused by a vehicle at the high school campus amounted to $48,800 which insurance will reimburse. Demolition expenses paid to Brian Reed Excavating, as well as expenses for rock, paint, resurfacing and sealing the track, and replacing roofing on smaller buildings on campus were among those reimbursable with ESSER III funds.

High School Science Instructor Mr. Holmes addressed three items with the Board. First, he requested an increase to the science budget. Second, he offered suggestions for improving the attendance reward program for teachers. Finally, and possibly foremost, he suggested that school be canceled on Monday, April 8, 2024, to allow as many students and staff as possible to travel to a destination that will allow viewing of a solar eclipse at 100 percent coverage. This will be achievable as near as Summersville.

Products and services bids for the next school year were opened. One milk bid was received, from Hiland Dairy, and it was accepted. One bread bid was received, from Bimbo Bakeries, at a significant increase compared to last year. It was accepted after considerable discussion. One bus fuel bid was obtained, from County Fuels, and it was accepted. No bids were received for gasoline and it will continue to be purchased locally. No auto parts bids were received and they will continue to be purchased locally. Two pest control bids were received, from Stallcup Exterminating and Orkin, with the former approved. Four propane bids were made, and Ferrellgas was chosen, with an offer for reduced pricing for employees considered in making the decision. Town & Country Bank submitted the only bank bid, and it was approved for a five-year term, with Board President Gorman abstaining from the vote. One concrete bid for the bus barn lot was received, from Swindell Construction, and it was approved. A bid for a surplus weed trimmer was received from Wesley Wilson and was approved.

Supt. Wright reviewed the final budget for the 2021-2022 school year. The district finished the school year financially solvent. Revenues came in at 102 percent of budgeted revenues; expenditures from Fund 1 were 100.11 percent of that budgeted; expenditures from Fund 2 (Teachers’ Fund) were 96.30 percent of what was budgeted; expenditures from Fund 4 (Capital Expenditures) were 82.08 percent of budgeted expenses; and the Student Activity Account Fund Summary finished at 96.27 percent. The Board approved the final budget 6-0.

Adopting a new budget was tabled due to necessary changes that would occur based on student enrollment, with potential staff increases to accommodate students’ needs.

The Tax Rate Hearing Notice was approved and will be posted. The hearing will be held at 5:45 p.m., prior to the next board meeting on Monday, August 8.

The regular monthly meetings of the Board were scheduled.

Federal Title and SPED program budget applications were approved. The SPED Determination was approved as well.

The Perkins Allocation Agreement with Rolla Technical College/Rolla Technical Institute was approved.

JH Principal/Athletic Director Doug Dunn presented changes to the athletic handbook. The expansion of the application of the handbook to activities as well as athletics was made. The policy regarding grades was changed to mid-quarter and end-of-quarter grade checks. The previous policy, which resulted in ineligibility if a course was failed, was brought into alignment with MSHSAA policy and makes a student ineligible for the following quarter if failing more than one grade course. Coaches are allowed to be more restrictive. Action was outlined regarding misconduct of a student or fan as well. The Board approved the handbook, which is available on the school website.

COVID leave time of five days was renewed, and the mileage reimbursement was increased from 45 to 56 cents (federal level is 62 cents).

Student Accident Insurance will be offered to parents again this year.

A mobile welding unit will be considered surplus.

Mr. Tony Huff and Mr. Ralph Backues were recognized by the Board for receiving the Fleet Excellence Award for their 100 percent Inspection Rating from Missouri Highway Patrol.

The salary considerations were moved to closed session. Supt. Wright shared that Board members, anticipating approval of a mandatory minimum teacher’s wage by Governor Michael Parson, approved a salary schedule for one year which meets that minimum. The schedule is not guaranteed to continue after this school year. It also provides non-certified wage increases, a bus driver trip pay increase, certified employee raises and granting of steps. Compensation remains contingent upon receipt of 70/30 state matching funds which had to be applied for by July 15. These funds would pay for about 60 percent of the increases to meet the minimum teacher’s wage. The cost to the district for wage increases is estimated at $210,000 for the 2022-2023 school year (not including the rate increase for stipends based on new salaries).

New staff was welcomed by the Board, including Ms. Kylea James as second grade teacher, Mrs. Carla Walker as fifth/sixth grade teacher, Ms. Tori Porter as paraprofessional, Mrs. Alexis Badders as paraprofessional, and Mrs. Brandy Melton as custodian. The Board wished good luck to Mrs. Candy Melton in her new position.

Supt. Wright reported the following ongoing repairs and upkeep occurring in the district. Safety renovations and floor-waxing continue in the gymnasiums. Roof work is ongoing with a new roof installation scheduled on the high school building. Asphalt resurfacing will occur at the end of July/first of August. Miller Glass is making repairs and installing new windows. McCall Flooring is installing new flooring in the science building, and the maintenance/custodial crew is preparing buildings for the return of staff and students. The District continues to work with the architect and general contractor regarding an expansion of the elementary cafeteria, adding 40 feet to the west side of the building. Work is estimated to begin in May 2023.

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