Mountain View School Board Sets Graduation Date, Talks Budget

The Mountain View-Birch Tree school board met via Zoom call Thursday night. The board is hoping that future meetings will be able to again be held in person, as internet lags continually impeded fluid discussion during the meeting. In reviewing the school district’s monthly bills, attention was drawn to many checks that were written to individuals. These checks were reimbursement to students or parents who had paid for field trips that were cancelled, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  
      Board member Shelly Mantell gave an update from the most recent Missouri School Board Association meeting, which was also a virtual event. Among the topics that Mantell said were covered, one that is very pertinent to the area is access to reliable internet service. A portion of funding for the school district is allotted for WiFi hotspots that would be directed at school parking lots, in order to allow expanded internet access for students. 
       In the monthly financial report, Superintendent Dr. Don Christensen, reported that upcoming projects include finishing the high school band room, putting carpet in the libraries and the completion of updates to bleachers in school facilities. Later in the meeting, Dr. Christensen elaborated on the district’s financial situation. “It’s pretty ugly,” Christensen told board members. The budget will have to be trimmed, as funding will be down by $400,000-$500,000, and as much or more next year. The district is already looking at areas where cuts can be made. One such area that was mentioned is a fourth section for third grade at Mountain View Elementary. The grade will have to remain in three sections, with slightly larger class sizes. 
      The school board discussed the possible search for a new school resource officer, as the current resource officer has taken a job in Summersville, and the Mountain View Police Department has informed the district that they will not be partnering with them for a resource officer for the coming school year. After discussing the merits of having a resource officer, such as accompanying faculty on home visits and reviewing footage from bus cameras, the board unanimously voted to seek a new resource officer for next year. 
      While the only vote regarding summer school was to approve a July start date for in-person classes and modified teacher pay, due to the abbreviated session, the topic sparked a lengthy dialogue aimed at safety and procedure. Dr. Christensen told board members that he thinks summer school is very important to get students caught up after the pandemic brought the school year to a sudden and early close. While the board approved the July start and modified teacher pay, the details of temperature checks, sanitation practices, and other pandemic-related items will continue to be developed. 
     High school graduation is set for June 26 at the football field. Social distancing guidelines will be enforced for the event. The district will be looking to broadcast the event in a live video stream and possibly a radio broadcast of the event. The board also discussed how seniors will be reimbursed for dues paid and hours worked by students that were to be put toward the senior trip. The board plans to reach out to the district’s auditor to determine the best and most legal way to give some type of compensation to students who worked at school events to diffuse costs for the trip. Legally, the students cannot be directly paid for the hours worked. 
     In other business considered by the board, the Career Ladder payments for this year, and continuation of the program into next year was approved. A special board meeting was approved for June 4, following the June 2 school board election. The board also accepted a bid for propane from Ferrellgas for the coming school year.

Howell County News

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