School Board still planning which projects to fund with bond issue

The Webb City R-7 School Board continues to inch toward placing a no-tax-increase bond issue on the April 5 ballot.

During their December meeting Tuesday, board members discussed the priority of several proposed projects.

It’s likely they will hold a work session on the topic in January in addition to their regular meeting on Jan. 11.

They approved a contract with Incite Design Studio for services from preliminary design of selected projects through construction administration.

Separately, Incite Design was also contracted to design the reconfiguration of American Legion Hall  as a multi-use facility to house Parents as Teachers, special education staff, Webb City CARES, meeting rooms, locker rooms, batting cages, a concession stand, public restrooms and storage.

For that project, with an estimated to cost $1,225,000, Incite Design’s fee will be $122,500 (10%).

24-hour help-line for students and parents

The board approved a contract with Paper Education Co. to provide a 24/7 chatline to help students and parents solve problems they’re having with school work. Paper can give feedback on writing assignments, too, for instance. And teachers can check on what their students have been seeking help with.

The cost is $49 per student for 19 months. Rossetti said Webb City will be the first district in Missouri to join the program.

The board is also contracting with Gaggle Student Safety Management to monitor students’ communication and stop photos or anything else shared that’s flagged as inappropriate. It is also capable of stopping threats and bullying.

Adam Bell, director of technology, said Gaggle uses live professionals, counselors, law enforcement and mental health experts to evaluate potential situations before an alert is sent. That will cut down on the number of false negative alerts but will allow for immediate law enforcement notification.

Gaggle will replace another program the district has been using and is expected to be much more effective. The cost is $16,249 per year.

The board also followed Bell’s recommendation to replace the district’s current security camera software with Digital Watchdog, purchased from Total Electronics Contracting for $53,800.

In other action:

• Across Madison Street from the Ronald R. Barton Performing Arts Center on the Webb City High School campus, the board voted to purchase another house, probably to be cleared for parking. David Decker has agreed to sell the lot at 706 N. Madison St. for $75,000.

• As the number of students who don’t speak Engilsh increases, the board voted to hire an English Language Learner aide for ELL teacher Sally Lee. She said she currently assists students speaking 10 different languages. And it’s expected that new students will include those of refugee families from Afghanistan.