Maries R-1 increases the per day pay of summer school teachers, paras

By Laura Schiermeier, Staff Writer
Posted 6/15/22

VIENNA — The Maries R-1 School Board approved raises for this year’s summer school staff during action at the board’s May meeting. 

The board discussed giving raises at the …

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Maries R-1 increases the per day pay of summer school teachers, paras

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VIENNA — The Maries R-1 School Board approved raises for this year’s summer school staff during action at the board’s May meeting. 

The board discussed giving raises at the April meeting but it was tabled. At the May meeting, Superintendent Teresa Messersmith said her recommendation is raising the daily teacher pay from the $140 per day it was last year to $175 per day this year, and raising the paraprofessional pay to $125 per day. Messersmith explained that if Maries R-1 increases the pay rate to $200 per day “we won’t break even on summer school and we don’t want to lose any money” on summer school. At $175 for teachers and $125 for paras, the school district will profit about $27,000 if nothing unexpected occurs financially, but they will be cutting it close. Messersmith said she taught for 17 years and was always happy with getting a raise. She added people get unhappy if they go ten years without one. 

Board member Mike Kleffner asked if they are finding enough teachers for summer school. Elementary Principal Shanda Snodgrass said they have enough teachers for summer school and currently are filling in gaps for teachers for the 2022-2023 school year. She said for this year’s summer school they have done better because the teachers needed to make extra money. Summer school is 22 days. Snodgrass said, “The kids are having a great time this week.”

Messersmith said at $180 per day it will cost $1,430 more; at $185 it will cost $2,860 more. Board member Matt Novak made a motion to pay the paras $125 per day for summer school and pay the teachers $185 per day, it received a second and the board approved it.

In other business at the May R-1 School Board meeting:

—The board discussed raising the bus route mileage rate for the contracted drivers. Messersmith said they previously discussed doing something fo the bus drivers similar to the $1,000 they gave other staff members. She suggested an increase of about six cents per mile, which is close to the $1,000 mark given to the teachers when the base pay was increased.  

Kleffner said the contracted drivers have to keep up their own buses and $1,000 “won’t cover the cost of tires.” Board President Vicki Bade said she didn’t think its enough. Board member Dave Garro noted the staff recently received a $1,000 stipend for attending the mental health meeting. Bade said everyone else received a five percent raise and she thinks the raises should be comparable. Garro said he’d like to see the raise as close to five percent as they can. Messersmith said five percent would cost the school district a total of $13,655 more. She said They increased the teacher base from $29,000 to $30,000 and also a $500 step pay increase for the upcoming school year. For a first or second year teacher, it’s a five percent increase, but not for all teachers as it depends on the teacher’s salary and the number of years served.

Garro said with the bus drivers they can do more maintenance money. Kleffner said the school has given a lot of raises this year. Garro noted costs are going up in the cafeteria. Board Vice President Penny Schoene said they should table bus driver raises until they get a budget.

—In the public comment portion of the meeting, R-1 music teacher Blake Baird, who attended the senior trip with the members of the Class of 2022, said the organization of the senior trip needs improvement, primarily because of the travel agency they went through. He said that part “was a disaster” as the travel agency was one that works with senior citizens groups, not high school seniors. They had to continually revamp the itinerary. He suggested doing more fact checking on what they will be doing. They have to keep the students busy from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. When it came time to eat, there were problems and they had to call the company every time. He said it “was very strange” but they made the best of it. 

High School Principal Ian Murray said they used the same company the year before, but dealt with a different person. They had 18 kids on the senior trip who were ready to go and they had a blast. 

Bade said, “We ought to be in charge of what is on the agenda.” 

Board member David Long thanked Bard and Murray “for taking care of the kids.” Bard said the kids experienced things they’ve never done. Some had never flown in an airplane. He added he’d like to see more of the seniors be involved and to go on the trip. Bade said when they get to junior year, they have to have it figured out because it takes a lot of hours to be able to go. Messersmith said the seniors come back from the trip and tell other students about how much fun it was and the underclassmen become interested in going. 

Bade suggested a trip to the arch in St. Louis during junior year or a more local trip. This will help pull the kids together as it’s a long way from freshman year to senior year and they have to work hard every year to be able to go. Bard said he thinks a reward midway is a good idea. 

—Messersmith reported they are still working on the budget for the 2022-2023 school year, which begins July 1, 2022. The federal money allocation was slow in coming. They are over halfway through the budget work and hope to have it ready to email to the board members on June 1. A work session probably will be needed. The budget must be approved by June 30. The board scheduled a budget meeting for June 8 at 6 p.m.

—The board approved the AT&T contract, a two-year plan of $33 per line for 26 lines at a cost of $10,296 per year, which is the same as the school has now. Messersmith said she hopes in a couple of years to have fiber optic and it may bring down the cost of phones.

—Messersmith said the PowerSchool SIS software, a student records program, will be obsolete soon and they’ve been looking at options. They chose two, which is staying the PowerSchool program, which will cost a $5,000 initial service fee and a $6,470 annual fee for a total of $11,470. The second option is Tyler Technologies, which will cost a $15,670 set up fee and an on-going annual fee of $10,000. She said she’s heard the Tyler program is good but also has heard they have customer service issues. Because of the changes, they may be overwhelmed, but she’s heard they do not call people back when there are questions. 

Board member Kacie James said she has used the Tyler program and said it is easy to use. Messersmith said the new PowerSchool program is different from the old one Maries R-1 used. Iberia has it and they like it. It’s the same company they are used to and she feels it will work for the school district. Kleffner said there are local people in town to help if they need it. Schoene said it also is a lot cheaper. They will vote on it next month. 

Messersmith said a Vienna person went to check out the new software at Iberia and had no issue with it. If they choose PowerSchool, they will convert in September. Snodgrass said the company is booking up quickly and Maries R-1 needs to get on a list or they can’t promise when they can do it. Bade said the expenditure for the software is already in the budget. The board approved getting added on to the PowerSchool list and they will vote on it at the June meeting. 

—In the financial report, Formula/CTF revenue in May was $112,169.08. Prop C revenue was $8,627.29. Messersmith said it should be $45,000 to $50,000 but a house bill containing $153.9 million was not signed in time for the May payment to the schools. She expects the amount will come back to the school in June and she hope to make up what it is short.

Transportation revenue was $7,877. Messersmith said the new state budget funds transportation at 75 percent. The last time this was done was in 1991. There is still a chance the governor will veto it. The rate of funding has been at 42 percent. 

The school spent $3,774.92 in May for electricity. No propane was purchased but the plan is to do it right before July 1. 

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