MV Board of Ed. discusses effects of COVID, commends teachers for extra work

Kaleena Ricketts

Board also receives update on Proposition MVS construction throughout district, budget woes from pandemic
The Mt. Vernon R-V Board of Education held its regular monthly meeting on Thursday, Sept. 24, where among other things discussed was the topic of attendance, and COVID’s affect thereon.
Each September, district enrollment is reported to the board on the Tuesday after Labor Day. This has been a benchmark measurement used by the board to compare enrollment numbers from year to year.
As of Tuesday, Sept. 8, district enrollment was 1,396, which was down 11 students from 2019.
However, there were gains in several cohort classes but these gains were offset by an abnormally small count of incoming kindergartners, only 80.
COVID numbers reported -
An update was also given on the effects of the current pandemic on district operations throughout the month of September.
At the time of the board meeting, impacts from COVID-19 were as follows:
Positive cases in the district stood at three, comprised of one staff member and two students.
The Health Department has placed 62 individuals in quarantine with 23 of those active and 42 individuals have either self quarantined or have been recommended to quarantine by a physician. (Not included in these numbers are the 72 students currently enrolled in the Early Childhood Program. Since the board meeting took place, it is likely these numbers have changed but have been unable to be verified by school administration.)
Due to COVID, many families have chosen remote learning for their students this semester. Building principals shared the status of virtual education at each campus. Mt. Vernon students using MVS Virtual School are as follows:
- 15 students from the Elementary School;
- 36 students at the Intermediate School;
- 41 Middle school students and 114 high school students are enrolled in Virtual School for the first semester.
This is a total of 206 students which is 14.8 percent of current students enrolled.
Staff workload growing
Each principal spoke about the different accommodations being made to help lessen the impact of the additional workload incurred by staff. The board expressed their deep appreciation to teachers who have had to acclimate to teaching both virtually and in person simultaneously.
Bond construction progressing
Project Manager of the CTS Group, Jeremy Shivers, updated the board on the progress of ongoing projects related to Proposition MVS. Images were shown of current progress being made on each project.
The board approved a change order to begin construction of the new Early Childhood Center on the elementary campus just north of Blaze Street. A groundbreaking ceremony was held with board members and teachers for the new facility on Monday, Oct. 5.
Lastly, the board approved the Budget Document for the 2020-21 school year. Many factors contributed to budget planning this year.
-Although the state legislature approved full funding for the foundation formula, revenue projections are bleak. The district is anticipating to fall short of full funding by a little over $742,000 with funding shortfalls in Classroom Trust and Proposition C as well.
-Another complicating factor was that the district was forced to pay for two summer school programs from the fiscal year 20-21 budget. Because of the delayed start of the 2020 summer school, the expenses related had to come from the 20-21 budget.
-The district had a decrease of $259,320 in Assessed Valuation impacting local revenue.
-Insurance rates increased 4.9 percent from FY 19/20.
As a result of the added expenses and revenue shortfalls, the 2020-21 budget:
-Left two professional staff positions unfilled;
-Implemented a 30 percent reduction in supply and equipment budgets;
-Included no increase to base salaries for professional and support staff salary schedules and instead funded only movement for experience and education.
Despite these cuts, the budget for FY 20-21 will show a deficit of minus $288,610.
The next regular meeting of the Mt. Vernon R-V Board of Education is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22.


Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


Please Login for Premium Content