The Morgan County R-I school board authorized the district administration to apply for a 21st Century Learning Grant during a special meeting Wednesday, June 7 in the school library in Stover.
Superintendent Matt Unger said he and his staff have been developing a budget plan to submit to the program, which funds community learning centers based on partnerships between schools and other organizations.
For example, Unger said the grant would allow MCR-I to partner with Stover Youth Sports, county 4-H clubs, and the Royal Theatre in Versailles to design remedial, credit recovery, and enrichment classes for students from kindergarten to 12th grade.
Other funding possibilities include Missouri Options, a program for students at risk of leaving high school without graduating; exercise classes, quilting programs, hunter safety education, and partnering with the city about the Rock Island Trail.
Board action
In other board action, the school board approved an amended summer salary schedule, because some students enrolled in summer school need a paraprofessional with them, and a salary schedule for the position of technology director.
Several items were added to the district’s surplus list, including electric stoves, kitchen tables, one-piece student desks, and a 2006 Bluebird bus. Unger said he will probably dispose of these items via sealed bids.
During an executive session following the public meeting, the board hired William McCaully as the school’s technology director, effective Saturday, July 1.
Current technology director Rick Everhart is still a school employee, Unger explained after the meeting.
The board also hired Jared Bellis for additional summer help, and agreed to pay teacher Chris Witte a stipend to water the school’s soccer field, which was recently killed and reseeded with a blend of bluegrass and fescue.
Superitendent report
In his report, Unger gauged the board’s consensus about whether his budget proposal for 2017-2018 should divert the maximum allowable funds to the capital account, at the expense of budget reserves.
Board members agreed they were comfortable with approximately 20 percent reserves, with as much money as possible in the capital fund. This would allow them to service the district’s debt and carry forward its capital improvement master plan.
Unger also noted the district is to receive an increase in federal Title 1, Title 2, and special education money, as well as a new Title 4 category of funding.
The title programs provide aid for remedial programs to school districts with a high rate of poverty or higher-need students.
Unger reported the Missouri State Highway Patrol gave the school’s bus fleet a 100-percent approval rate in its 2017 inspection.
Unger told the board he has been talking with the Community Teachers Association about changing the payroll year from September through August to August through July. This would allow new teachers to receive a paycheck earlier than the end of September, a potential hardship when many teachers are purchasing supplies out of pocket and working at the school as early as Aug. 15.
Unger also said he would like to move staff members’ payday from the 20th to the 25th of the month. He said this would reduce the risk of the district needing to dip into reserves if its state money, usually also received on the 20th, arrives late.
Unger said he will work with the CTA about possibly moving the date, and will give teachers a year’s notice before doing so.
CTA representative Melissa Stone, present at the meeting, said she didn’t see a problem either way.
Unger announced the school’s summer school enrollment went up this year compared to 2016, adding an additional 10.73 students to the district’s rising enrollment figures.
The summer school had an enrollment of 225 students and an average attendance of approximately 83 percent. Unger said these statistics will have a positive impact on the school’s state funding formula next year.
Grant news
Unger reported the school did not receive the 75/25 vocational enhancement grant it submitted for the family and consumer science (FACS) program, but FACS teacher Kristen Foster tried for a 50/50 grant instead, and was optimistic about receiving it.
The FACS program would use the grant money to buy equipment, such as CPR training dummies and dishwashers. Unger said the district’s budget will allow it to pick up the balance of the cost after the 50/50 grant.
The district also received a 50/50 grant for its soccer field’s watering system, he said. An agriculture-grade water turbine was purchased, and Witte was trained to use it.
The school board’s next regular meeting is scheduled 7 p.m. Monday, June 26 in the school library in Stover.

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