8/23/2017 2:55:00 PM Unit 2 says 6th graders can be on sports teams
By RANDY HARRISON
Robinson Unit 2 should end the 2017-18 school year in the black despite anticipated deficit spending in the education and transportation funds.
Still, Superintendent Josh Quick was not ready to say the district would wrap up the year with a balanced budget.
"It will be close," Quick said, "but I'm not comfortable saying it will be balanced."
The Unit 2 board Monday approved a preliminary budget and authorized posting it publicly for 30 days.
The district's largest fund, education, began the year with a balance of about $1.61 million and should end with one of $1.34 million.
Anticipated revenues are $11.3 million, but expenditures are expected to be $272,464 higher.
Until Friday, Quick believed the deficit spending would be less. Then, he received word the state had cut the personal property replacement tax 24 percent and that Title I funds were also being reduced.
Just like that, Unit 2 lost almost a quarter-million dollars.
"There are a lot of moving parts in estimated a school budget," Quick said.
The transportation fund should end the year with about $1.08 million, despite estimates that its costs will also be slightly more than its revenues.
Operations and maintenance, however, should see almost $25,000 more income than outgo. It is expected to end the year with more than $2.3 million on hand.
To allow sufficient time for the public to see the budget, the board bumped its September meeting back one week to 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 25.
A public hearing on the budget will precede the meeting.
Nuttall Middle School sixth-graders may again be able to participate in school sports this year following action by the Robinson Unit 2 school board Monday.
The board accepted a proposal submitted by a committee of educators, coaches and parents created to look into allowing sixth-graders to "play up" on seventh-grade teams. Several years ago, sixth-grade sports were eliminated as a cost-cutting measure.
Sixth grade students will now be given the opportunity to try out for and participate on two teams that are not dependent on grade level - cross country and scholastic bowl.
For other teams, such as basketball or volleyball, sixth-graders will be permitted to try out if there are insufficient numbers of older students.
"If there's any opportunity we have under present circumstances to fill out sports teams and not step on the toes of seventh and eighth grade students, we would like to do that," NMS principal Craig Beals told the board.
Beals described the plan as "a good fit," adding the change will not cost the district anything. In fact, if it means more students get involved in extra-curricular activities, it could actually generate a slight increase in participation fee revenues.
Also Monday, Superintendent Josh Quick updated the board on efforts to restore the Robinson High School gymnasium to a useful condition.
Missouri Floor Company should begin work on the "quick fix" on the damaged floor next week. The cost is not to exceed $20,000.
The work will allow use of the gym for the rest of the school year. If necessary, more extensive repairs will be scheduled for after school lets out for the summer in May.
An adjustor from the district's insurance provider has looked at the damage and a structural engineer will check it out today. It is possible some of the damage may be covered.
Meanwhile, Ideal Environmental is performing mandated lead testing at Washington and Lincoln elementary schools and NMS.
In personnel matters, the board hired Gina Sinclair as a WES reading teacher, Melissa Young as NMS attendance secretary, Julie Granderson as a flex bus driver and Tiffany White as NMS seventh grade volleyball coach.
Resignations were accepted from LES lunchroom supervisor Mary Williamson and WES reading aide Dana Poston. Brandi Thompson was re-assigned to take over Poston's position.
Also, a leave of absence was granted for WES kindergarten teacher Julie Sandschafer. It lasts until Oct. 20.
Andrew Daily and Dave Holubek will serve as freshman class deans this year, while Deanna Woods and Shannon Goebel will be sophomore class deans.
In other business, the board heard a report on pre-kindergarten programs available in Robinson. These include Unit 2's own "Get Set" program at WES and the similar Storybrooke Preschool program which recently relocated to a building owned by Senco Construction. It is a service of Regional Office of Education 12.
Both have 80 children between the ages of 3 and 5 who will become Unit 2 students. Because of this, Unit 2 and ROE 12 coordinate their efforts.
Both are also funded through state early childhood grants that will be up for renewal next year.
Unit 2 also works with Headstart, a federally-funded, income-based program offered by the Embarras River Basin Agency. Many of its students become Unit 2 kindergartners.
Other programs include the prevention initiative, which offers services designed to prepare children for preschool programs and various private programs.
There is also the RHS Tadpole class, which cares for 15 to 20 3-to-5-year-olds for two and a half hours three days a week. It is actually a vocational education course training RHS students how to work in daycare centers and preschools.
Finally, there is the early childhood program offered at WES by South Eastern Special Education.
The board approved a "memorandum of understanding" saying Unit 2 would work with SESE to comply with new requirements for the grant that funds its operations.
Quick also announced the district has 1,646 students enrolled this year. Forty-seven students moved out of Unit 2 after the end of the 2016-17 school year, but 73 new students moved in.
Board members also approved resolutions verifying no changes in school bus safety hazard zones and transfers funds from the education fund to debt service to pay for items such as copier leases and technology loan payments.