Brookfield R-III Board of Education raises substitute teacher pay, sets tax rate hearing

For the Linn County Leader

The Brookfield R-III Board of Education, met in open session on July 20, with the following board members were present in person: Jim McIntyre, Blake DeVoy, Jered Wallace, Galen Hicks, Dave Shaw and Noel Staddie. Mandy Tarpening was absent.

Dr. Kyle Collins, superintendent,  reviewed the schedule for Teacher Work Days in August with the board. and reviewed the monthly finance reports the board also voted to raise substitute teacher pay. 

According to a board update written by Collins, "It looks as if the district will end the 20-21 some $700,000 in the black, which is very good news after all the unknowns that have occurred during the 2020-21 school year. Unexpected revenue, along with lower expenditures in several areas helped lead to this surplus ending. Final figures will be reported to the board at a future board meeting."

Collins and the board discussed substitute teacher pay. According to Collins, all agreed it was important for the district to stay competitive in this area as subs can be very difficult to find throughout the year. Current pay for substitute teachers is $80/day for non-certified teachers and $85/day for certified teachers. Staddie moved to raise substitute teacher pay to $90/day for non-certified teachers and $95/day for certified teachers. Shaw seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

DeVoy moved to officially set the annual Tax Rate Hearing for August 17, 2021, at 5:30 p.m. in the HS Media Center, just prior to the regular August board meeting.

The construction update includes the parking lots are on schedule to be completed by the end of July. The athletic field construction is still running considerably behind schedule. The sports lighting poles are to be delivered on August 9. Collins has had many discussions with the contractor and engineer about how far behind schedule the project is. He will continue to push them and keep the board updated on the project. Collins also reported that the HVAC work is running along very smoothly. Substantial completion on controls, filtration system, ductwork, and water pump booster is expected by Aug. 15. The roof-top-units at the Career Center will be installed the second week in September at the earliest. However, there will still be AC to the Career Center throughout the summer until the switch is made.

Collins and the board discussed the request that Boys Cross Country be added as a high school sport offering. Collins then recommended that the board approve this request. "It will be no added expense as far as coaches or travel goes, as the boys’ team will use the same coach and take part in the same meets as the girls’ cross country team," Collins said noting it will have very little or no impact on the school's Title IX requirements because the numbers of males expected to go out for this sport is very low. DeVoy moved to add Boys Cross Country as a Brookfield High School sport offering, effective immediately. Shaw seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

A report on Summer School 2021 prepared by Mrs. Wilbeck and Ms. Carlson was reviewed by the board. It relayed the following information: Summer School was in session for 20 days, from June 3 - 30; students were in attendance from 8 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.; breakfast and lunch were provided free of charge; K-8 students participated in local field trips three of the four Fridays (Brookfield Aquatic Center and Reel Time Cinema); all classes, K-12, were held in the elementary building to accommodate technology updates, HVAC improvements, and cleaning and maintenance schedules. Enrollment and Participation Elementary (K-4) 55 students enrolled, 45 students attended consistently Middle School (5-8) 42 students enrolled, 38 students attended consistently High School Invited 40 - 45 students to participate in Credit Recovery (1/2 credit available per content area) three successfully recovered an English Credit; two successfully recovered a Science Credit; 10 successfully recovered a Math Credit; five successfully recovered a History Credit. Two high school students successfully completed requirements in two courses.

Collins reported that he received a letter from the Missouri Attorney General’s Office in regard to the district’s formal complaint concerning the Symmetry bill we received for our usage in February 2021 in the amount of $36,596.20.

According to Collins' report following the board meeting, "The letter basically stated that the MO AG’s office cannot do anything to help us with this matter, but will keep on top of it and get back to us if anything changes." Collins said he also received a letter from Symmetry stating that it is working with the MSBA Natural Gas Consortium to come up with some sort of settlement offer and they will contact us when that offer is finalized.  Collins will continue to update the board on this matter.

In other action, Staddie moved to keep the non-resident student tuition rate for 2021-22 at the current $3500 per year per student. DeVoy seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Collins discussed with the board the impact of a Missouri case titled Blankenship v. Franklin County Tax Collector. We were notified by the State Auditor’s office that this court case impacts the Brookfield R-III School District directly in that our district will lose about $0.25 in tax levy, which amounts to approximately $165,000 per year because of this ruling. This is highly significant and Collins said he feels it must be addressed in the near future with the voters because he has been advised by legal that it has very little chance of being overturned and we will see the loss in revenue. The board will need to decided how to proceed in order to recoup these funds. Collins also stated that the budget will need to be updated throughout the year. B

"Because the district ended FY 2021 with higher than projected fund balances, it will still begin and end with higher than projected fund balances for FY 2022. However, due to the loss of tax revenue connected to the Blankenship v. Franklin County Tax Collector, the district will show a higher deficit spending balance for 2022," Collins said.