Veteran school board member Jeanne Newby resigns

Bob Foos

Jeanne Newby turned in her resignation Wednesday as a member of the Webb City R-7 School Board.

She is in her eighth term, and could serve two more years before being on the ballot again. However, her health is stopping her.

“This has been quite a ride through history with you as I have served on the school board with you since 1992,” she wrote in her resignation letter. “You have been a great group to work with. I regret that my health will be a reason for me to resign on July 26, 2024.”

Not to quibble, but Newby was elected to her first term in 1990. In the 1993 election, she lost as a candidate for both mayor and school board. Voters elected her to the school board again in 2002, and she has served ever since then.

She and the other board members shared rembrances before board president Jason Woodmansee handed her nameplate to her.

There was no mention of whether the board will continue with just six members or appoint a replacement.

It also happened to be Tony Rossetti’s last meeting as superintendent. After 14 years of leading the district, he announces that he will be working in government relations with the Southwest Center for Educational Excellence, which is located in Webb City.

This has been sort of a superintendent transition year because Rossetti announced his pending retirement in September.

It took the board only two months to select Brenten Byrd, assistant superintendent for instructional services, to succeed Rossetti. That gave Byrd six months to follow Rossetti’s guidance.

Byrd officially becomes the superintendent on July 1.

The regular monthly meeting would normally have been held on the second Tuesday, June 11, but had to be postponed because of an expected lack of quorum that night.

A closed session was held prior to the meeting for a student discipline hearing. And a closed meeting followed the regular meeting for the stated reasons of personnel and student discipline.

The board briefly discussed the preliminary 2024-2025 budget. Byrd will provide a completed budget by August.

A change in the calendar was approved in order to take advantage of an aspect of SB 727 that rewards school districts an additional 1% of their state funding as a bonus if they go to school 169 days. The change amounts to converting two all-day professional development days to half-day, with classes in the morning. Those days are Dec. 6 and Feb. 14.

Byrd noted that the 169-day schedule will mean snow days have to be made up, as opposed to making them virtual days.

He said the 169-day bonus will amount to approximately $100,000 the first year and $200,000 the second year.

Josh Flora, assistant superintendent for business operations, said renovation of the bus barn is still scheduled for this summer but won’t likely be done before school starts.

In other action, the board:

• Recognized high achieving members of the speech and debate team, including those competing in Readers Theater.

• Recognized Harry S Truman Elementary for being a National Blue Ribbon School last year – for the second time. It was noted that the school is ranked 48th among more than a thousand elementary schools in the state.

• Voted to approve the purchase of band instruments and other equipment recommended by band director Butch Owens.

• Accepted six teacher resignation letters:

– Tyler Osterman, junior high band director – two years with the district.

– Natalie Harris, second grade at Webster Primary Center – five years.

– Jinger Lee, fourth grade at Eugene Field Elementary – three years.

– Makinsey Palmer, third grade at Harry S Truman Elementary – two years.

– Chase Bradfield, high school special education, one year.

– Beth Bridges, third grade at Truman Elementary, 12 years.

• Offered contracts to 12 teachers:

– Sierra Jacques, third grade at Mark Twain Elementary School.

– Gala Moss, third grade at Truman Elementary.

– Stephanie Davied, third grade, Truman Elementary.

– Brittany Lane, third grade, Truman Elementary.

– Lydia Rohner, high school communication arts.

– Landon Bebee, high school special education.

– Alexandria Murray, second grade, Webster Primary.

– Olivia Lewis, fourth grade, Eugene Field Elementary.

– Jorden Bradham, junior high special education.

– Kristi House, junior high special education.

– Jonathan Rohr, middle school band.

– Paiton Rossetti, middle school special education.