Earnhart gives budget updates to school board

    Cuba School District Superintendent Jon Earnhart told board members during their May 21 virtual meeting on Zoom to be prepared to spend money out of the district’s reserve funds during the 2020-21 school year due to an expected decrease in state and local revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Earnhart first gave an update on the 2019-20 budget. He stated that as of that week, the district had spent 74 percent of what has been budgeted for the year and received 89 percent of what had been projected in revenue. He added that on June 1, Missouri Governor Mike Parson was expected to cut $500 to $700 million from the state budget, taking away roughly $130 million from education, which will impact funding for the remainder of the school year and next year’s budget.
    On Monday, Parson announced major cuts to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education—among other statewide cuts totaling $209 million—including $123 million from the foundation formula, $7.2 million from transportation, $730,000 from the Performance Based Assessment Program, and $2 million from the Shelters Workshops Program.
    In addition, Proposition C, which helps fund education through the sales tax of nonprepared grocery items, is down 20 percent and the Classroom Trust Fund, which comes from the revenue of casinos in the state, is also down significantly since casinos across the state have been closed for two months.
    “I expect us to lose money in revenue, however, I do expect us to gain money in savings,” Earnhart said.
    During his report on the 2020-21 budget, Earnhart said he expects to see significant reductions in state funding. The district will approve a budget in June but may have to amend it in September when officials will have a better idea of how state budget cuts will affect education. The 2021-22 budget will most likely be where the district sees the true financial impact.
    “The recommendations are very conservative. We’ll probably have to dip into reserves for the next year” Earnhart remarked, “however, I’m hopeful with the amount of money we’ve saved that we’ll be okay.”
    Earnhart also gave his monthly report to the board, stating that reopening the district will depend on the governor’s next move. Earnhart said he has been in constant communication with the health department on best practices. The transition will start in June with 12-month employees back on campus and back to a regular schedule.
    The staff will also let student athletes and coaches back on campus for conditioning. Tentative summer school dates will be July 13 through Aug. 12 with open enrollment starting in June. Although nothing is final, Earnhart expects the biggest hindrance may be transportation.
    In other business, board member Cheri Schuette noted in her Missouri School Boards Association (MSBA) report that the governor will be making cuts to education budget. Nothing is definite, but she expects there will be no job losses. She also said that CDC and MSBA guidelines for opening schools will be extremely difficult to follow, especially with younger kids.
    Assistant Superintendent Curt Graves gave his monthly report to the board, mentioning the district was still moving forward with the implementation of the new math curriculum through McGraw Hill. Graves said that “it felt good in this era to actually move forward with something.”
    The board discussed one new item of business. The high school’s roof is coming out of warranty and will need to be recoated. The job will cost around $120,000. The district will start looking to take bids around mid-June.
    The board approved personnel matters as follows: The board accepted the following certified staff resignations: Kade Tucker, HS Social Studies; Mercedes Love, 5th Grade Communication Arts/Math. The board employed the following certified personnel: Collin Crader HS PE; Ashlyn Boyer, 3rd Grade; Amanda Hatton, 4th Grade; Randy Hudson, MS/HS Choir; Jon Coussons, HS Social Studies; Ron Giesler, Middle School Science. The board accepted the following classified resignations: Kade Tucker, Asst. FB, MS Head Track; Tabitha Mazzei, MS Paraprofessional; Randy Bouse, MS/HS Asst. Girls Basketball; Melissa Albright, HS Dance. The board employed the following classified personnel: Collin Crader, Asst. FB and Asst. Baseball; Jon Coussons, Asst. Cross Country; Darren Dace, Asst. HS Track; Roger Siwak, Head MS Couch; Jett Bouckaert, Asst. HS Girls Basketball.
    The board scheduled the next regular meeting for Thursday, June 25. Closed session will begin at 6 p.m., open session at 7 p.m. A special meeting to reorganized the board after the June 2 election will be held on Thursday, June 11 at 5:30 p.m.