The Webb City R-7 School Board meets for the first time in the new Student Services Building. From left are assistant superintendents Kevin Cooper, Josh Flora and Brenten Byrd, Superintendent Tony Rossetti, board president Dan McGrew, board secretary Cheryl Chaney, and board members William Roderique, David Collard, Lisa Robinson and Jason Woodmansee. Board members Stephen Crane and Jeanne Newby were absent.

School Board meets in and tours new Student Services Building

The Webb City R-7 School Board held its regular monthly meeting Tuesday for the first time in the newly renovated Student Services Building.

A major feature of the building is a large meeting room equipped with the latest in communication technology. It is meant to facilitate meetings during which people are attending in person and virtually.

The board took a tour of the building at the end of meeting. It is next to Heritage Preschool, at 1000 N. Main St., in the former American Legion building.

The multipurpose building includes offices for Webb City CARES, virtual learning, Parents as Teachers and special services, plus baseball practice facility, a concessions stand and restrooms for the adjacent baseball field.

Building security was a major topic of the meeting.

Josh Flora, associate superintendent for business operations, discussed the ongoing project of installing sensors on all exterior doors, which he said will be completed next month. More security cameras are also being installed.

He also reported on an outside security expert’s progress in assessing the district’s security and creating a crisis plan.

Speaking of crisis, Flora gave details of a recent incident at Franklin School, where two suspects outside the building were carrying what appeared to be an assault rifle.

The rifle, still in a box because it had just been purchased at Atwoods, turned out to be an Airsoft replica toy gun.

Webb City Police responded to the 911 call with nine vehicles at the scene.

“We thought we had an active shooter,” said Flora.

Flora said a recent nighttime theft at Mark Twain Elementary School shows that more security cameras are needed.


Falling enrollment

Superintendent Tony Rossetti made board members aware that rather than going up slightly, enrollment has gone down.

The current average daily attendance is 4,228, compared to 4,243 a year ago, and 4,297 before the pandemic in 2019. The ADA in the fall of 2020 was 4,095.

Fewer students has financial implications because state funding is per student.

“I don’t have an explanation for the lack of enrollment growth,” Rossetti told the board.

With all the new housing in the district, he said, “I would not have projected this.”

He cited the kindergarten and senior classes as being particularly low in numbers. Preschool numbers are up, though, as a hopeful sign.

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