Bad weather roars through as Elsberry School Board holds monthly meeting

Due to bad weather, there was not much to hear during the April 10 Elsberry R-II School Board meeting, where only four of the seven board members and Elsberry Superintendent Tim Reller, Ed.D, were present.

As heavy rain drowned out most discussion, School Board President Sean O’Brien called the meeting to order and thanked the handful of those who attended. No amendments were made to the agenda and the board approved the March meeting and special April 3 and 5 meetings were they awarded Peterson’s Air Conditioning with the job of installing the new HVAC unit and Perkin’s with the electrical work, both set to begin this summer.

Other business discussed included the changing of school lunch prices. According to Dr. Reller, the prices are going from $2.40 a lunch to $2.50 a lunch, which was a requirement of the National School Lunch Program. He also announced that the district is now taking summer school applications for this upcoming summer.

Dr. Reller went on to discuss how the district amended the $150,000 for the capital expenditure reimbursement resolution to $500,000, which will cover any expenses the school makes before they actually receive the proceeds of the bonds.

“The bonds have to be sold, which the issue has been passed but we don’t have the $4.5 million in the bank yet until those bonds are actually sold and then the money is delivered to us,” explained Dr. Reller. “But we are expending money based on that being passed and this just reimburses the District for that.”

In a bright light, Middle School Principal Jason Miller and Elementary School Principal Toni Wankel stated they have seen an increase in enrollment this past year. However, the high school still remains at approximately the same amount as last year. According to Miller the middle school has increased by 14 students and elementary is up just five students since the beginning of the year.

In communications, Dr. Reller announced they had received $555 from the Gary Hudnall memorials, which they were going to put towards technology for the school. He also announced that Elsberry Senior Charles Fraction has been awarded a full ride to Lindenwood University by the Black and White Scholarship, sponsored by R&B Artist Nelly, Plaza Motors and the Lindenwood University Black Student Union. Jordan Powell received a half ride scholarship last year from the same event and Carmen Rhodes the year before that.

As far as finances for the District is concerned, Dr. Reller stated they are still on track with an ending operating fund of $146,534 less than a year ago but have expended approximately $140,000 in architect and construction management fees, which will all be reimbursed to the district. He also mentioned that the insurance renewal rates have gone down. They were $436 a month per employee and they are going down to $400 a month per employee.

Special Education Teacher Amanda Seeley then gave a presentation, explaining to the board about the growth of special education. According to her, the district currently has 102 students who receive special education services. Eleven of those are ECSE (Early Childhood Special Education), 34 are speech and language only and four students require individual aid.

“Between January and March, we have enrolled 33 students, in which 10 of those students had IEP’s or require testing,” explained Seeley. “Our department is currently staffed with five teachers, one speech and language pathologist and six full time aides.”

According to Seeley, they do contract out their physical and occupational therapy services and that the ECSE is 100 percent funded at no cost to the District.

With nothing further, the board voted and went into closed session. The next meeting will be at 7 p.m. on May 15 in the Elsberry High School Library.

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Posted on Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 8:24 am