Preliminary R-7 budget predicts extraordinary revenue

Decisions on how to use it will be made during June 24 work session

Increasing amounts from usual and unusual revenue sources are pointing to a banner year financially for the Webb City R-7 School District.

On Tuesday, the School Board gave Superintendent Tony Rossetti the go-ahead to proceed after he presented an overview of the budget. 

After the current unpredictably will end in the black on June 30, Rossetti higher revenue from the state and $5.9 million in grants from the federal Elementary & Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund.

Moreover, local tax revenue is certain to go up because it’s a reassessment year, and funding tied to state sales tax receipts is also going up.

The district will be doing well financially he said, even if there are no new students to bring in more state money.

Rossetti’s budget overview included a $300,000 (4.25% average) increase for salaries. He is proposing a $1,300 increase in teacher base pay from $40,200 to $41,500.Experienced teachers advancing a step could receive as much as a $1,900 increase.

There’s also enough money to cover additional teaching positions.

To a board member’s question, Rossetti responded, “Yes, we are still in the lead” compared to salaries other area districts.

He had more good news for staff – the self-insured health plan will not require an increased premium next year.

When the board members hold their annual budget work session at 5:30 p.m. June 24, they will likely determine how much money they can move from the operation fund to the capital improvements fund for future building projects.

Moving to immediate spending, the board voted to proceed with plans to replace various old heating and cooling units at the high school and junior high school at a total cost of $147,000.

A new playground surface suitable for less mobile students at the middle school was approved at a cost of $110,000. Unlike rubberized surfaces used at other schools, Kevin Cooper, assistant superintendent of business operations, is suggesting a turf-like surface. One of the advantages is that only the cover will need to be replaced as the surface ages. The complete rubberized surfaces have to be replaced.

Adam Bell, director of technology, told the board that now’s a good time (before the current one breaks down) to replace the backup server at the high school. The board approved the $55,000 expenditure.

Bell also received permission to dispose of 400 Chromebooks and other end-of-life computers.

There’s a change of location for the new tennis courts. Rather than east of the middle school, administrators proposed building the six-court complex east of the softball field. 

Rossetti said the new proposed location “is wasted space right now.” Parking spaces for the courts could also be of help for softball and football games.

Revised plans for the tennis courts will be presented at the July meeting.

Cooper also mentioned that better fan seating at the softball field is being planned.

Virtual instruction will continue – with fewer students

Brenten Byrd, assistant superintendent of instruction, predicted there will be a significant drop in the number of students choosing virtual classes instead of in-person classes.

Even before the pandemic, the district was working toward a goal of providing the local curriculum online. If not, the district could lose students to statewide competitors.

One change is that Angie Broaddus, junior high principal, will become the virtual school administrator.

Tamara Ponce will succeed Broaddus as junior high principal, and the board approved the hiring of Jeffery Brown to fill Ponce’s position. Brown is currently an assistant principal at Seneca. He was previously the career services coordinator at Franklin Technical Center.

In other action, the board:

Approved Band Director Butch Owens’ list of band instruments and equipment to purchase.

  • Accepted resignations from:

– Corey Roy, high school physical education teacher and coach.

– Krista Gosch, fifth grade teacher at the middle school.

  • Offered contracts to:

– Dayna O’Kane – counselor, junior high.

– Cindy Worley – special education, middle school.

– Andrea Stephens – fourth grade, Harry S Truman Elementary.

– Jinger Lee – fourth grade, Eugene Field Elementary.

– Ashley McConnell – counselor, middle school.

– Angela Moore – second grade, Carterville Elementary.

– Justin Boudreaux – counselor, high school.

– Gabrielle Heth – communication arts, high school.

– Sara Robertson – special education, junior high.

– Beth Arnold – kindergarten, Bess Truman Primary Center.

The regular July meeting was rescheduled to be held at 6:30 p.m. July 8 because Rossetti will be on education business at Washington D.C. when the meeting would normally be held, on the second Tuesday of each month.