Most of the board members were present – in person – for their monthly meeting Tuesday. (The weather was too ugly to get out last month.) It was the first time, though, that school administrators gave their annual presentations virtually, on the screen, instead of in person. 

All R-7 staff members to receive a one-time payment for extra duty

‘We’ve asked more of our staff than ever before.’ – Superintendent Tony Rossetti

Superintendent Tony Rossetti had the pleasure of informing all Webb City R-7 staff members today that they will be receiving a stipend in recognition for the extra work they’ve done this year because of the pandemic.

All full-time staff will receive the $600 one-time AMI (alternative method of instruction) extra-duty stipend, and all part-time staff will receive $300.

School Board members approved Rossetti’s recommendation during their monthly meeting Tuesday. 

“It’s probably not enough for everything they’ve had to do,” said Rossetti. “We’ve asked more of our staff than ever before.”

The extra duty involved with keeping students safe at school and educating them online was an aspect of the annual reports board members received from representatives from four schools, the high school, junior high, Carterville Elementary and Madge T. James Kinderten Center. Reports from the remaining schools will be on a future agenda.

Unprecedented unexpected revenue

The $448,000 estimated coat of the extra-duty stipends was not an issue because the district’s finances are better than expected.

In fact, Rossetti said the stipend cost can be covered by the increase local revenue alone.

He told the board that a combination of increased local revenue, pandemic expense reimbursement, stimulus money and lower expenses is causing an unprecedented amount of unexpected revenue.

He said it’s time for board members to begin planning how best to use those unexpected dollars for kids.

New classrooms won’t have to be one of uses because he said even with the possibility of up to 250 new students from the new Oronogo housing developments there are enough spare classrooms at all levels – unless the new students are all the same age.

“I really believe we’re in a favorable situation,” Rossetti told the board members. “Do we need to build another building? I would not do that right now.

High school expansion going out for bid

There will be some additional classroom space included in the high school expansion project. An ad calling for bids will be placed in Sunday editions of the Joplin Globe.

Plans call for a firing range, to be used by the JROTC and archery programs, to be built on to the back (east side) of the high school. It also includes locker rooms added onto the south side of the swim center.

Teacher vaccinations

It was reported that 309 staff members have signed up to be vaccinated against COVID-19 next week at Mercy Hospital. There will be no cost to staff members or the district. 

That’s only about half of the entire staff. It was explained that some have already been vaccinated or may choose to be vaccinated later.

The board and administrators are proud of the district’s success at keeping infections relatively low while educating roughly 90 percent of the students in the classroom.

It was reported that as of Tuesday there was only one positive case and 11 in quarantine.

In other action:

  • It was reported April 2 (Good Friday) and Friday, May 28, will be snow make-up days. Classes had originally been scheduled to end May 27.
  • It was reported that Amanda Robbins, director of grants and community relations, has successfully applied for a Worksite Wellness Grant that will provide a total of $20,000 to purchase exercise equipment for use by staff. The equipment will be housed at the middle school, junior high and high school. Funding is from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and the Bureau of Community Health and Wellness.
  • Rossetti received board approval to conduct a survey to see if there’s a demand for additional summer school in July.
  • Six letters of retirement were accepted from:

– Jerry Kruckenberg, 18 years of teaching high school drafting.

– Tricia Richardson, 27 years (29 total) as a junior high special education teacher.

– Gail Rice, 15 years (38 total) as a junior high special education teacher.

– Melissa Wales, 31 years as a second grade teacher at Webster Primary Center.

– Walter Resa, 28 years as a middle school physical education teacher.

– Darla Williams, 21 years (35 total) as a physical education teacher at Eugene Field Elementary.

  • Two resignations were accepted:

– Arlie Templeton, art teacher at Carterville Elementary.

– Logan Huff, junior high special education teacher.

  • Hired eight teachers:

– Courtney Escoto, high school communication arts.

– Madison Jacks, first grade at Webster.

– Taylor Warlick, junior high art.

– Courtney Derryberry, middle school counselor.

– Ryan McFarland, physical education.

– Auydrey Hogan, high school art.

– Peyton Rogers, middle school fifth grade.

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