Northeast Vernon County school board hears budget update

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Monday's meeting of the Northeast Vernon County school board gave final approval to policy and regulation changes, reviewed the district budget, and heard reports from its principals and superintendent.

Each year, following action by the state legislature, by Missouri's Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, by Missouri courts and upon advice of the Missouri School Board Association or the district's attorney, superintendents will present to their board various changes to policies and procedures.

NEVC's board requires three readings prior to adoption of changes in policies. Monday's meeting included the approval and final adoption of three policies and one regulation.

Said NEVC Superintendent Charles Naas on May 19, "Last fall, you as the board of education adopted a policy that we shall not discriminate but equally, we will not tolerate the mixing of sexes in bathrooms or dressing rooms."

The superintendent continued, "While other places may be going crazy we're going to remember our purpose. We're here to provide every student with a solid education."

Missouri law has special rules concerning excused absences for students at events as part of Future Farmers of America, Family, Career and Community Leaders of America and 4-H. Such absences are not counted against the school's daily tracking of attendance. The board adopted a policy concerning this and set a school year maximum of 10 excused days.

The third policy authorizes the superintendent to place an individual employee on paid leave of absence whenever "such leave is necessary due to the employee's misconduct or to investigate potential employee misconduct."

The final policy has to do with ensuring the district's data and information is not subject to unauthorized modification, destruction or disclosure.

While NEVC's 2015-16 revenue increased $149,000, with about half of that coming from the state, revenues for 2016-17 are down by $68,000.

Said Naas, "But that means they'll still be about $85,000 higher than 2014-15. Our expenditures will increase by a modest $5,000."

The board had put aside funds for the lease/purchase of a good used bus and $20,000 for "operation of plant."

Last month, the district took delivery of a 59 passenger bus with 100,000 miles which comes with a warranty and multi-year payments.

"By having the warranty and spreading out the payments over four years, any problems which show up early are on the dealer and not on us," said Naas.

The cost is $12,333.90 per year. Lettering, coating the undercarriage and the addition of a dual camera system was an additional $1,500. The superintendent was able to report on how well it drove since he was the first to drive it.

Commenting on the overall budget picture to date, Naas said, "I'm not going to rah, rah, tonight, but we are ahead of last year and definitely way ahead of two years ago. So I'd say we're where we thought we'd be and overall, that's pretty good."

Naas reviewed how the cash flows, with some expenditures being monthly while others such as the property and liability insurance being one large bill for the year.

On the revenue side, the superintendent spoke of a large check coming in early January, following the majority of people paying their property taxes by the end of December.

Kendall Ogburn, elementary principal reported an enrollment of 123 and described the archery club doing well at a shoot, but the best thing was receiving a report that their students were some of the best behaved of all present. He spoke of the success of the music and art display and the great work Erica Mott had done.

"Sometimes when Christmas vacation comes, the students, teachers and staff can't wait to get out, but this year, I didn't hear anyone say that," said Ogburn. "This is a good year at our school."

Chris Hudson, high school principal, shared hearing back about how well behaved students from Walker were at a junior high FFA leadership meeting. She reported an enrollment of 102.

Ogburn and Hudson described school efforts to identify and raise funds for those in need this Christmas.

The superintendent mentioned winning a door prize at a meeting of Missouri Educators' Trust, the health insurance provider for NEVC. The funds will be used next spring as a scholarship for a graduating senior.

Meanwhile, the financial records for the previous school year were audited last week.

Naas concluded by making two points. "In my job, I have to make sure we watch the money carefully, but I also have to remember that what I and everyone here does is about the kids."

And Naas' other point was made by showing a brief video and noting, "Everyone here knows the content, the what of their subject, but far more important is to know the why.

"We're here for the students and a bright future for each of them."

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