BONNE TERRE — North County Superintendent Dr. Yancy Poorman admitted he got himself in a mess when he told employees they could expect a mid-year stipend from the savings he anticipated.
Since salaries had become a big issue, Poorman had said he would give every new dollar through non-budgeted revenue or savings before November to employees through a stipend.
On Tuesday, he told the school board that with that understanding, full-time employees should receive a $750 stipend and part-time employees should receive $375.
Poorman said he was making the recommendation with great reservations because of what he knows about state funding now.
He said he has been hearing that districts should expect 30 to 40 percent cuts in state aid next year. He said already this year the state has cut about $200,000 of their Prop C money and has cut transportation funding to last year’s level.
Going with the $750 stipend would cause the district to deficit spend about $10,000, Poorman said.
Board members voiced their concerns about the financial uncertainties ahead.
Board member, Jack Poston said he was really worried about Jefferson City/state funding in the next couple of years and said the district had to be good stewards of the district’s money.
Board President Keith Bannister said he was leery of doing the full amount. He said he would rather the board consider an amount between the $750 and the $250 the employees got last year.
Board member, Janice Neubrand said she would also hate to give the employees the $750 and then have to eliminate a teacher position next year. She said she felt more comfortable with a $600 stipend.
Bannister said he felt more comfortable with a $500 stipend, which would give the district more cushion.
Board member, Lisa Umfleet made the motion they should do what they said they would do without deficit spending. Poorman estimated that would be a $735 stipend for full-time employees and a $367.50 stipend for part-time employees. The motion passed with Poston, Neubrand and Bannister voting against it.
Poorman did have some good news for the board.
Poorman said Kromm, Rikimaru and Johansen Inc. graciously decided to stick with the original contracted rate of 5.25 percent after the board had agreed to raise it to 5.5 percent. The adjustment would have given KRJ about $12,000 more.
He also said there was a bond-refunding opportunity for the 2005-06 bonds that would save the district some money.
Also during the meeting, Alan Blair of CCS, the construction management group in charge of the Parkside Elementary project, said the wet weather in October and this week has hampered progress, but the school project is still set to be finished two weeks ahead of schedule. The project will be ready for the start of school next year.
Poorman said they’ve only lost eight days due to weather. He said Brockmiller Construction has been wonderful to work with.
School board members were shown samples of the exterior colors of the addition. District staff will meet with KRJ in December to talk about interior colors.
Blair said there will be a pre-bid meeting on Tuesday for asbestos abatement for the part of the old school that is being torn down. Bids are due back on Dec. 9 and the project will be awarded at the December school board meeting.
Also, the board approved a utilities easement to AT&T at Parkside Elementary.
Associate Superintendent Mike Henderson said attendance and the graduation rate for the district went up last year. He said the attendance rate of 94.1 percent was the highest they’ve ever had but still is not what the state wants. For years, the attendance rate had been at about 92 percent. He is worried about how the flu season will affect the attendance this year.
In other matters, Umfleet asked administrators to consider hiring a grant writer.
Assistant Superintendent Mike Jarvis submitted a letter announcing he plans to retire in July. Jarvis came to North County in 2006 from the Central school district where he was an elementary school principal. In 2003, Jarvis was selected as the Southeast Missouri Distinguished Principal of the Year.
Teresa Ressel is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-431-2010, ext. 179 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.