R-1 board considers $11.4-million budget for 2021-22

By Buck Collier, Special Correspondent
Posted 5/19/21

HERMANN — Hoping to return to a more-normal setting, the Gasconade County R-1 School District policymakers are considering an $11.6-million operating budget for the 2021-22 school …

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R-1 board considers $11.4-million budget for 2021-22

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HERMANN — Hoping to return to a more-normal setting, the Gasconade County R-1 School District policymakers are considering an $11.6-million operating budget for the 2021-22 school year. 

Superintendent Scott Smith presented the detailed, 87-page spending blueprint to the Board of Directors at Thursday night’s regular monthly session. The board normally acts on a budget at its June session. The new fiscal year begins July 1.

Next year’s funding plan returns to a more-recognizable size, compared to the current-year budget depressed by the effects of the pandemic. This year’s proposed expenditures amounted to $9,053,251, compared to the $13.5-million projected expenditures in the 2019-20 school year.

Projected revenues for the coming school year are much more in line with pre-pandemic amounts. The projected revenue for next year is $11,407,461, compared with $10,397,969 this year and $11,412,592 in the 2019-20 school year.

The four sources of revenue — local (the district’s property tax), county, state and federal  — are estimated to be in line with this year’s sources. The district’s property tax is projected to generate $6,889,091, compared to this year’s amount of $6,812,321. The 2019-20 budget projected a half-million dollars more in local revenue.

Revenue from the county is minimal, compared to the property tax amount — $640,000 in the coming year, $662,110 in the current year and $625,000 in the 2019-20 school year.

State revenue in the coming year is estimated to be $$2.4 million, virtually the same as it was last year. This year’s state revenue was projected to be $1.776 million.

Money from the federal government is projected to be $1.472 million in the new year and $1.146 million for this year. Last year’s amount was budgeted at $978,000.

Total expenses are projected to be $11,674,095 in the next year; $9,053,251 this year; and $13,532,025 last year.

A few highlights of the figures tucked into the 87 pages that comprise the 2021-22 spending plan:

• Teachers base pay — the starting pay for a new classroom instructor with a bachelor’s degree — will rise to $34,233, thanks to an agreement reached between the administration and faculty that resulted in a 2-percent pay raise. Regular teachers’ salaries are projected to total $3,506,485 in the new year, compared with $2,277,106 in this year made chaotic by the pandemic. Teachers’ salaries for the 2019-20 school year was set at $3,469,386.

The district’s transportation budget still lags earlier amounts. Next year’s estimated expense of $344,130 tops the $218,485 of this year and $264,672 of last year, but is below the $422,812 of the 2018-19 school year. Transportation costs continue to be a cause of concern for officials of the state’s 17-largest district geographically.

Also on the transportation front, the district will be looking to purchase a new bus, something that doesn’t happen all that often. If the board doesn’t opt to buy a 2022 model bus, the alternative would be to purchase a 2019 model bus with no more than 24,000 miles. R-1 officials try to replace at least one bus each year. The vehicles accumulate mileage rather quickly; the R-1 buses travel a total of about 1,000 miles each day covering parts of Gasconade, Montgomery, Warren and Franklin counties.

In other matters, the administration informed the board of plans to change protocol regarding COVID-19. In light of a reduced incidence of cases, administrators plan to drop the mask request for staff and students in grades 7-12 at the end of this school year. However, officials said, a return to a mask mandate is possible.

“Should there be a significant uptick in COVID cases as a result of (the) change, the administration and board will consider re-implementation of (a) mask mandate,” the report said.

The Hermann High School Class of 2021 is scheduled to be graduated Friday night with 84 students set to receive a diploma.

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