The Rock Port R-II School Board of Education met August 13, 2020, for a tax rate hearing and regular meeting.

President Jeremy Davis called the tax rate hearing to order at 7:00 p.m. in the cafeteria of the elementary building. Other members present were Rich Dewhirst, Harold Lawrence, Dan Lucas, Regan Griffin, Joanna Burke, and Afton Schomburg. Also in attendance were Superintendent Ethan Sickels, High School Principal Donnie Parsons, Elementary Principal Steve Waigand, and Board Secretary Debbie Young.

The agenda was adopted and Mr. Sickels presented the 2020-2021 budget information. He reviewed information regarding district goals, CSIP, capital projects, administrators’ goals, curriculum, staff, enrollment and MSIP. The financial plan and spending plan were reviewed, and he reviewed the general summary of the budget which included information regarding the assessed valuation, tax rate ceiling, tax levy, local taxes, as well as a review of the projected ending balances for 2020-2021. He provided an overview of the projected revenues by category and also highlighted various expenditures included in the budget. Charts indicating the assessed valuations and fund balances for the last 10 years were also reviewed. The Weighted ADA Calculation and funding calculations were reviewed. He indicated the tax levy for 2020-2021 is calculated to be $4.9202 which is unchanged from the prior year. He stated this includes $0.8218 for the debt service levy.

Action was taken to adopt the 2020-21 budget and presented, to approve the bond pre-payment scheduled for April 2022, and to set the tax rate for the 2020-2021 fiscal year at $4.9202 with $0.8218 for the debt service levy. The tax rate hearing was then adjourned.

REGULAR MEETING–

President Jeremy Davis called the regular meeting to order at 8:00 p.m. in the cafeteria of the elementary building. Other members present were Rich Dewhirst, Harold Lawrence, Dan Lucas, Regan Griffin, Joanna Burke, and Afton Schomburg. Others in attendance were Superintendent Ethan Sickels, High School Principal Donnie Parsons, Elementary Principal Steve Waigand, and Board Secretary Debbie Young.

The agenda was adopted and the minutes of the regular meeting of July 16, 2020, were approved. Mr. Sickels reviewed the financial information for the month ending July 2020. The July final check register, the August check register to date, and the activity account checks were approved.

Mr. Waigand reported the elementary is gearing up for a historically awesome school year. He said, “We are truly blessed with the professional educators we have within our building.” Administrators will have a better idea of overall numbers after registration days on August 12 and 13. There will not be a “Meet Your Teacher Night” this year. They plan to do more of a virtual tour by compiling pictures of each classroom together and posting the link on the school website for August 24. Staff will be involved with professional development, staff meetings and other back-to-school activities from August 20-25. New elementary staff members include Mrs. Kelli Holstine (4th grade) and Ms. Sydney Rains (Special Education). New staff will meet on August 19 for an orientation day. Mr. Waigand expressed thanks to the maintenance crew this summer – Georgia, Valerie, Steve, Mark, and Trejan. Upcoming dates were reviewed as well as staff professional development completed through the summer. The elementary student handbook was submitted for review.

Mr. Parsons reported although there’s plenty of unknown about the upcoming school year, he is excited to get staff and kids back in the building. He is confident in the district’s plan to attack the year. He has been impressed with the dedication and ingenuity staff has shown in adapting lessons and procedures. He also gave a shout out to the custodial staff in preparation for the upcoming year. Preliminary enrollment numbers were reviewed along with the updated 2020-21 class schedule. Information was provided regarding the virtual education option through Launch. The COVID-19 school re-entry plan was reviewed along with MSHSAA updates for sports and activities. Sports participation numbers were noted along with upcoming dates and activities. The high school student handbook was submitted for review.

Mr. Sickels noted the monthly program evaluation report was on budget and enrollment which was reviewed during the tax rate hearing. He reported that the district has submitted the AMI-X plan, and it has been approved by DESE. The Atchison County superintendents met with the Atchison County commissioners and received information on reimbursements for some of the CARES related expenses incurred in preparation to safely open the schools. The weight room will continue to be closed to the public due to concerns related to the pandemic.

The board proceeded to address several items of new business. Action was taken to approve the annual DESE Secretary of the Board Report, to adopt the special education local compliance plan, to adopt the Rock Port R-II reading plan, and to approve the DESE district contact personnel for 2020-2021.

Following a brief discussion action was taken to establish the 2020-2021 tuition rate at $6,200 per year. Action was taken to approve MSBA policy updates, to adopt a resolution on suspending policy to align with COVID-19 emergency legislation and waivers, to approve the Upward Bound Transportation Contract, to approve the Atchison County Agreement for COVID-19 Funding, and to approve the purchase of a new floor scrubber.

Consideration was given to personnel matters with action taken to approve the employment of Mrs. Jackie Miller as a part-time high school Spanish teacher, and to approve the employment of Megan Rainey, Stephanie Pankau, and Jordyn Jakub as elementary paraprofessionals.

The board then moved into executive session for personnel matters. Upon returning to open session action was taken to grant a leave of absence request from Molly Spiegel for the 2020-2021 school year.

Following a brief discussion of future business items the meeting was adjourned.