Bearcat Board Story

August 22, 2019

The school board of the Gasconade County R-I School District met Thursday, August 22nd for the annual tax rate hearing as well as regular and executive sessions.

The board recognized the custodial and maintenance staff that worked diligently over the summer to prepare school buildings and complete projects. Superintendent Scott Smith added up the years of service of all of the staff pictured and the total was 163 years! These employees have a lot of valuable experience and the board thanked them for all of their hard work this summer and throughout the school year.

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During the meeting.....

At the annual tax rate hearing held before the meeting, Dr. Smith presented the board with a proposed tax rate for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2019. The total operating levy in the district was recommended to be set at $3.5358. Establishing this levy is less than the maximum voter authorized levy of $3.5500 but will satisfy the needs of the district. The debt service levy was proposed at $0.75 for a total tax rate of $4.2858 for the fiscal year 2020.

Dr. Smith reported to the board that the budget is in better condition than expected for the current year, although the district will still need to be mindful of the loss of revenue expected next year due to decreased student enrollment. The board was also updated on the remodeling of the concession stand at the city park's baseball field. The project was partially funded by the Athletic Boosters with the labor of Dustin Hoener and Matt Kohrs being donated by the school district. The project is almost complete and will be a huge improvement that will last for many years.

In routine business, the board approved payment of bills, the adoption of revised policies as presented by MSBA, the local compliance plan, 2019-2020 bus routes, and the declaration of surplus property. The board also acted in open session to approve the tax rate as presented earlier in the evening by Dr. Smith.

Dr. Smith engaged in discussion with the board about the upcoming strategic planning work to be done. One option is to hire an outside firm to survey the staff and community to develop a list of needs. The benefit of using an outside firm would be the open communication that patrons or staff might not feel comfortable sharing with school personnel. The other option is for Dr. Smith to accomplish this work in-house. The board had a discussion regarding both options and asked Dr. Smith to get more information on the cost and benefits of each option. The topic was tabled for a future meeting.

In closed session, the board accepted the resignation of Bus Mechanic Cory Crowe. The board also approved the hire of Chris Heldt as Assistant Football Coach, Shelly Abbott as High School Evening Custodian, and Paraprofessionals Tammy Schutt and Katie Cook. The board approved the addition of Jean Baker, Bethany Hoskins, and Beth Duckworth to the list of substitute teachers. Upon the recommendation of Athletic Director Todd Anderson, the board approved the hire of Jackie Engemann and Leah Engemann for Health Services coverage at various sporting events. We welcome all of these newcomers to the Bearcat staff!