New science labs will be part of the high school addition.

Board to act quickly on bond issue in case interest rates go up further

Webb City R-7 School Board members plan to sell ASAP the $11 million in bonds approved by voters on April 5 to primarily finance an addition to Webb City High School.

“We’re moving as quickly as possible,” Brent Blevins, of Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., told the board Tuesday. He said his firm will be contacting potential buyers before he returns for the board’s May 10 meeting with estimates of what to expect when the bonds are offered.

“I don’t think it’s a secret that interest rates aren’t going down,” he said. “We’ve seen rates jump substantially since the first of the year.”

Yet, he added, “These are great rates” compared to the past.

In the meantime, the district’s architectural firm will begin finalizing its plans for contractor to bid on.

Board members reviewed the basic design during their meeting Tuesday. It is basically a rectangular addition at the rear of the south end of the high school. It’s where the old tennis courts are and will connect to the swim center.

The addition will mainly include two up-to-date science labs and fully equipped spaces for the family and consumer science department.

Additionally, the bond sale will finance a turfed multi-purpose practice field where the old soccer field is in back of the high school and renovation of Cardinal Theatre.

School board reorganizes

Reelected board members Stephen Crane and Dan McGrew took the oath to begin their new three-year terms as the board conducted its annual reorganization.

They weren’t opposed and wouldn’t have normally had to be on the ballot because of that. Since the district was having an election anyway for the bond issue, state law required that they also be on the ballot.

The board president position rotated by election to McGrew, and William Roderique was elected vice-president. Crane handed over the gavel to McGrew.

Cheryl Chaney was reelected as board secretary.

Kevin Cooper will continue as board treasurer until July 1, when he will be succeeded as assistant superintendent of business operations by Josh Flora.

Seventy-six percent of the 1,468 ballots cast were in favor of the $11 million bond issue proposal. The official count was 1,116 yes to 352 no.

Former Superintendent Ron Lankford has prepared a history of the bond issues going back to when the district completed consolidation in 1968. It only cost $800,000 to build the core of the high school, onto which everything else has been added. Voters approved that bond issue with an 85.5% majority.

Included in the high school core were the boiler room, Cardinal Theatre, JROTC classrooms, industrial arts department, gymnasium and cafeteria.

Only three out of the district’s 23 proposals to voters have failed. The average yes vote is 70.37%.

24 contracts approved

High school principal Josh Flora’s contract to become assistant superintendent of business operations is one of 24 offered by the board to certified employees. The assistant superintendent position opened when Kevin Cooper announced his retirement, effective after the first semester of the 2022-2023 school year.

Assistant principal Jeff Wilkie will replace Flora.

Other contracts were offered to:

• Madge T. James Kindergarten Center

– Kaylee Coulter, counselor
– Becca Endicott-Penning, kindergarten

• Bess Truman Primary Center

– Angie Bundy, special education

• Webster Primary Center

– Shelby Lortz, second grade

– Dayana Hernandez, second grade

• Eugene Field Elementary

– Tiffany Lloyd, fourth grade

– Kelsey Leech, fourth grade

• Harry S Truman Elementary

– Lily Spikereit, third grade

– Darby Reynolds, third grade

– Madyson Wakeland – second grade

• Junior high school

– Brooke Stauffer, physical education/health

– Joe Moore, industrial arts

– Morgan Cantu, drama

– Lisa Baldwin, math

– Adriana Pruente, math

– Erin White, behavior specialist

• High school

– Nicholas Ray, math

– Shelly Dunn, communication arts

– Jacob Srigley, social studies

– Davie E. Carter Jr., science

– LaHeather Fisher, science

• Districtwide

– Sofia Berziel, English language learner

14 resignations

The board accepted resignations from 14 certified employees.

– Miata Baker, second grade, Webster Primary Center

– Stephanie Lynch, kindergarten, Madge T. James Kindergarten

– Katie Mock, science, high school

– Corinna Curry, special education, Heritage Preschool

– Amy Moore, fourth grade, Eugene Field Elementary

– Jennifer Brummett, fifth grade, middle school

– Alex Grimaldi, fifth grade, middle school

– Meredith Belrose, second grade, Harry S Truman Elementary

– Cort Hardy, physical education, Eugene Field Elementary

– Danielle Derfelt, sixth grade science, middle school

– Allie Sims, fourth grade, Eugene Field Elementary

– Emma Frack, seventh grade, junior high

– Andrea Holderman, special education, high school

– Kaitlyn Keck, band, junior high

In other action:

• Superintendent Tony Rossetti told the board that the base pay for non-certified employees during summer school will need to be raised to $15 per hour.

• Rossetti gave a brief preview of the 2022-23 budget, which he said looks better since enrollment and average daily attendance numbers are improving.

• Angie Broaddus, director of virtual learning, reported on the progress 21 expert teachers are making as they create the district’s own virtual curriculum for students through sixth grade. The district currently purchases virtual instruction. Creating it locally will better align with what is being taught in classrooms.