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The Moniteau County R-1 School District Board of Education met Wednesday, March 17, to discuss construction, resignations and new hires, and the 2021-22 district calendar.

The board authorized the issuance and sale of General Obligation Bonds, Series 2021. When last year's bond issue was passed in the June 2020 election, only $6 million of the total $10.75 million approved by voters was issued at the time. The board issued the remaining $4.75 million last week, which will be deposited into an interest-bearing checking account to help pay for project expenses as they come in.

The board then accepted resignations from high school custodian Ruth Rohrbach, middle school special education teacher Sandra Radford, fifth-grade teacher Teresa Dusenberg, middle and high school instrumental music teacher Tyler Edwards, and Ron Lebel, current full-time substitute teacher, and formerly a physical education teacher and basketball and cross country coach.

Next, the board approved the 2021-22 district calendar. There will still be 180 teacher-contracted days and 169 student attendance days. Due to construction, the next school year will start on Tuesday, Sept. 7 with a scheduled last day of May 27. Semester break cannot happen at the beginning of Christmas break this year like usual; instead, second semester will start Jan. 18, 2022. One additional change is that there will no longer be spring parent/teacher conferences since parents have access to their child's academic performance through Parent Portal on SIS, greater access to teachers through email and a better understanding of coursework through Google Classroom.

The board was presented with a proposal prepared by the Salary/Benefits Committee and approved the step movement on the salary schedule for all certified and classified staff, a $500 increase to the teachers' salary schedule with the new base salary being $36,250, and a 5 percent total raise for all hourly employees. After the 5 percent increase, there were still three positions that had a starting pay below $12 dollars an hour, so the board approved an additional raise of $0.06 an hour for those positions.

Superintendent Dwight Sanders shared an update on the construction project at the elementary and middle school. The masons have completed the block wall for the lower level of the new building and are about 25 percent finished with the upper level. There is one more concrete slab to be poured to finish the floor on the upper level. This was scheduled to be completed sometime this week. Though the new multipurpose room space wasn't slated to be started until after school was out, that project has started ahead of schedule.

Sanders then spoke with the board about preserving the memory of the 1954 building by re-purposing parts of that building. No decisions were made on this topic.

"If you have ideas, I would love to hear them," Sanders said. "While this is a major project to oversee and keeps me plenty busy, I want to be respectful of those who have fond memories of their school experience in that building. At the very least, through demo, we will stack a pile of bricks for community members to help themselves to."

Sanders then went on to share an update on the projects under the guaranteed performance contract. The projects are 99 percent complete, with only adjustments remaining to be made.

Afterwards, the board discussed the district's COVID-19 protocols. The group decided that the district would continue to follow the current protocols for buses and within the buildings, but they felt like the potential risks of eliminating some of the protocols were greater than the positives that could come from relaxing on the protocols. They set the parameter of 50 percent of capacity for indoor events; for outdoor events, the use of masks and social distancing will be encouraged, but there will not be restrictions on the number of people able to attend.

The board determined that California will not be providing summer school for elementary and middle school students since facilities will still be under construction, making it unsafe and not suitable for instruction. The high school will still be providing credit recovery opportunities on its campus.

Finally, the board approved the following recommendations for hire: Sarah Russell as elementary school counselor; Gary Reichel as high school agriculture teacher and FFA sponsor; Tanner Dicus as high school science teacher; Travis Payne as middle school P.E. teacher; Eric Stout as middle school P.E. teacher and Exploratory teacher; David Austin as elementary assistant principal; Twyla Biber as middle school special education teacher; Jennifer Porter as middle school activities/athletic director; Bobby Sangster as high school girls activities/athletic director; and Seth Womack as high school boys activities/athletic director.

The Moniteau County R-1 School District Board of Education's next meeting will be April 21 in the California High School library.

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