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R-2 Board OKs budget, salary schedule, meal price increases

Jackson R-2 teachers will get bigger paychecks and students will fork over more for their breakfasts and lunches next year as the Board of Education approved these changes and the 2015-16 budget at its June 9 meeting.

The teacher salary schedule for 2015-16 reflects a 2-1/2 percent increase across the board. The starting salary for a teacher with a bachelor’s degree is $34,000, up from 33,500 this year. The top salary for a 30-year teacher with a master’s degree plus 24 additional credit hours is $54,672, up from $54,273.

Due to the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 and to rising food costs, the Board approved a 10 cent hike to school lunches and breakfasts.

Elementary breakfasts will cost $1.85; lunches will cost $2.60. Secondary breakfasts will increase to $1.85; lunches will cost $2.85. Adult breakfasts will increase to $2.10; lunches will rise to $3.15.

Reduced student breakfasts will remain at 30 cents, reduced student lunches will remain at 40 cents and milk will remain at 55 cents.

The Board also approved the federal guidelines for free and reduced meals.

The 2015-16 budget received unanimous approval (Board member Alaina Hinze was absent).

In his final superintendent’s budget message, the retiring Dr. Ron Anderson wrote, “The budget includes financial activities related to the completion of East Elementary. Expenses to cover  the cost of construction are included in the capital projects fund. Construction related expenses will draw down the balance of the capital projects fund over the course of the year. This project is nearly completed and will be ready for students this August. With opening East Elementary, the budget includes additional costs related to staffing, energy, supplies, and technology.

“The budget also reflects rising energy costs for utilities and bus fuel. Reducing our energy consumption is a priority for the District.…

“Increasing student technology continues to be a strong focus of the budget. The budget reflects expenditures for computers, projectors, mobile devices, and other related technology in classrooms to ensure our students and staff have access to current equipment.…

“The District continues to be a low spending district. The District’s average expenditure per pupil ($7,237) is $2,732 less than the state average  ($10,005). Combining this with our high academic achievement is a testament to the efficiency of the District.”

Enrollment figures show a slight decrease in students from 4,992 in 2013-14 to 4,969 this past year.

Assessed values is expected to increase from $441,891,774 this year to $468,405,280 in 2015-16.

Jackson R-2 will begin the 2015-16 year July 1 with a total balance of $18,288,715. Estimated receipts total $48,203,203 and estimated expenditures total $49,791,-821, leaving a balance next June 30 of $16,700,097.

The incidental fund will begin with a balance of $5,836,455 and end with a balance of $5,891,773. This indicates a balanced budget, said CFO Dr. Wade Bartels.

Local taxes are up six percent and provide 45 percent of the District’s revenue, Bartels said. Seventy percent of the District’s expenditures go to salaries and benefits.

Capital projects from fund 4 must now cost at least $1,000 and be used for more than one year, up from $500 last year. This change was made to match federal programs, Bartels said.

Capital projects from fund 1 must now cost $250-$1,000. This past year the range was $100-$500.

“I think it’s a very realistic budget,” Bartels said. “We try to be conservative with revenue and expenditure estimates. There are a few more expenses than revenue because of the bond issue for the elementary school. That money, as expected, is being spent down.”

In other action:

• Gifted program: A presentation was given on the gifted program (ALERT) and  an evaluation form was approved. To be in the gifted program, students must have an I.Q. of at least 125. There are 294 students participating in grades K-12. Students are selected to be in the program through kindergarten screenings and referrals from parents and teachers. Seventy-nine students were tested this past year and 17 qualified for the gifted program.

• At-Risk: The At-Risk Program evaluation was approved by the Board. This program helps students at risk of failing or dropping out of school.

• Title I: The Title I/Preschool/Reading Program evaluation was approved.

• Bus routes: The extended school year bus routes were approved by the Board. There are 124 students who attend for the last three weeks of June and July to maintain their skills throughout the summer.

• Bids: The following bids were awarded by the Board:

Four companies bid for bread products and the contract was awarded to Bimbo Breads (formerly Earth Grain). That company has been used for the past six years.

One bid was received for milk; it was from Prairie Farms, which received the contract.

Oil, grease, transmission fluid and antifreeze were bid separately, and the low bid for each product was selected from MFA and Morgan Distributing.

Two companies bid for tires and Raben was selected.

MFA was the only company to bid for gasoline and diesel fuel, and was awarded the contract.

• Budget transfers: Two final fund transfers were made to the 2014-15 budget. “This positions the budget in a way to start the next school year,” Bartels explained.

• Foreign exchange: The Board accepted four foreign exchange students. The Rotary Exchange student will be Angela from Spain. Her last name was not released.

Last past year, Jackson accepted its first CIEE exchange student. In 2015 two will be accepted: Lena Schreiber from Germany and Isabel Seijo from Spain.

For the first time an AFS exchange student is being accepted: Kristine Schmock from Denmark.

• Cooperative sports agreement: The Board approved a cooperative agreement with Nell Holcomb similar to the agreements with St. Paul Lutheran and Immaculate Conception Catholic schools. It allows students to participate in interscholastic sports with Jackson teams if their own schools don’t offer those sports. This past year, only one St. Paul student participated.

Students from Nell Holcomb will be allowed to participate in seventh and eighth grade football, wrestling and track.

About 50 students transfer from Nell Holcomb to Jackson every year. “It gives them an opportunity to get involved early if they come here,” commented Board member Dan Stover.

“We don’t see any down side to it,” added Anderson.

• MCDA Choir: The Board recognized 47 Jackson students from fourth through 10th grade who were selected to participate in the summer Missouri Choral Directors State Honors Choir. Being selected is the highest honor these younger singers can achieve (juniors and seniors can audition for the All-State Choir).

The choirs are broken into three groups: grades 4-5-6, grades 7-8, and grades 9-10. “The best of each group are selected,” explained choir director Beth St. John. Selected from Jackson were 15 in grades 4-6, 12 in grade 7, eight in grade 8, and 12 in grades 9-10. “We’re very proud of them,” St. John told the Board. “We wanted to recognize them in front of you.” These students will sing at the State Capitol in July.

• MJEA student: The Board recognized JHS graduate Molly Brakhane, who was one of 10 students selected from throughout the state to receive the first All-State Journalism Award from the Missouri Journalism Education Association. “To be selected in this first year is a super, super honor,” said JHS journalism teacher Kara Brown (formerly Cracraft).

• Summer school: Assistant Superintendent Beth Emmendorfer updated the Board on summer school. “Summer school kicked off last Thursday,” she said. There are 595 students at the elementary level, 183 at the middle school, 218 at the junior high and 328 at the high school.

• Construction: Superintendent Dr. Ron Anderson updated the Board on the construction of East Elementary. “It’s no secret that it has rained about every other day,” he said. “The inside of the building is basically done. Outside, they are finishing the dirt work.” Some concrete work remains and seeding will be done in the next couple of weeks, he said.

At the JHS football field, the drainage system was completed that day. Dirt will be hauled in and sod will be laid. “It was built in 1939. It needed a face lift,” Anderson said.

• Anderson recognized: Board Member Dr. T. Wayne Lewis presented a clock from the Board to retiring Superintendent Dr. Anderson. “You’ve done a wonderful job,” Lewis said. Anderson was praised for three things:

1. Keeping communication open with the community through the Chamber, the Rotary, and other service clubs;

2. His dedication to teachers; and

3. His dedication to the students. “He’s always saying, what we do is for the kids,” Lewis said. “We all say thank you.”

“It’s a team effort,” responded Anderson. “It has been a pleasure to serve here the past 16 years. I was the youngest superintendent in Nebraska when I started in 1971. Now, I’m probably the oldest superintendent in Missouri.”

Board President Terri Tomlin presented Dr. Anderson a calculator identical to the old one he has been using (that is duct-taped together). Anderson has continued to use the old one that he dubbed “Trusty,” because it worked well. “It was duct-taped when I came here 16 years ago,” he claimed.

“This is Trusty 2,” Tomlin said of her gift.

Anderson couldn’t believe Tomlin handed him a duplicate of his old, trusty calculator. He asked where she found it.

“I got it on eBay,” she replied.

• Next meeting: The Jackson R-2 Board of Education meets regularly at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month at 614 E. Adams, Jackson. The next meeting is scheduled

Gregory Dullum has worked for The Cash-Book Journal for more than 25 years. Prior to becoming the editor in May 2017, he was production manager, circulation manager and reporter. Before moving to Cape Girardeau in 1988, he was editor of the Saint Louis Park Sailor, a weekly community newspaper in suburban Minneapolis, MN. A native of Minnesota, he returned there after graduating with distinction in 1978 from Ambassador College in Pasadena, CA, with a degree in mass communications. His wife, Marie, whom he met in college, is a native of Zalma, a small town in southeast Missouri. They have two grown daughters and five grandchildren. Gregory may be reached at

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