Fatima R-3 approves placing a proposition on the August ballot

By Edward Gehlert, Staff Writer
Posted 5/25/22

Fatima school board members last Wednesday approved the inclusion of a proposition on the August ballot called “Proposition Fatima’s Future.”

“The only decision you have to …

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Fatima R-3 approves placing a proposition on the August ballot


Fatima school board members last Wednesday approved the inclusion of a proposition on the August ballot called “Proposition Fatima’s Future.”

“The only decision you have to make tonight is how soon you want to do it,” Superintendent Chuck Woody told the board. “If you’re talking about doing something on an August ballot, I have to hand-deliver it no later than next Tuesday (May 24).”

“Proposition Fatima’s Future,” if approved by voters, would generate funds for the district’s building project. Two potential preliminary building options were presented to the board by Jay and Jon Berendzen from the architect firm of Porter, Berendzen & Associates, P.C. during the March 16 meeting.

The proposition will ask voters to approve an increase in the district’s operating tax levy by 65 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.

A special meeting was scheduled for June 1 at 7 p.m. to conduct a walkthrough of the school and discuss the new building project with Porter, Berendzen & Associates representatives.

In other business, the board approved the continuation of the Career Ladder program.

“We have done Career Ladder,” said Woody. “It got cut out of the state budget a number of years back, but we kept it within the district and funded our portion. Historically, that was 40 percent state money and 60 percent district money, and we cut the hours down from what those guidelines were to match our 60% piece. I want to ask you to do that again for next year.”

Woody said the appropriations bill approved the funding of Career Ladder at a 40/60 split, with the state to fund the larger portion. 

Career Ladder was originally available for tenured teachers after year five; now, that has changed.

“They are taking this down to after you have completed year two,” said Woody. “They have put $37.4 million to restart Career Ladder, but that number is based on the old numbers of five years and over. So, they’ve under-funded this. For us, any little bit we can get from the state is a bonus.”

Woody told the board that they do not have the new guidelines yet and is hopeful they will be in before the next regularly scheduled meeting.

• Woody informed board members that $21.8 million was appropriated in the state budget to cover the increase of teachers’ minimum salaries to $38,000. This money will come as a grant and will cover 70% of the cost, while the district will be responsible for the remaining 30%.

Woody noted that HR Manager Tim Luebbering will have to either reissue a brand-new or an amended contract to 13 people. “It has to be in there that this is only eligible as long as that grant is there, and if that grant goes away, you revert back to your position on the salary schedule,” said Woody. “We’re not going to take any action on this because the governor hasn’t signed it yet, and there are no guidelines of any kind.”

Woody said that the grant will give the school district $17,206 in state money and will cost the district $7,374 in salaries alone.

“We also have to pay the 14.5% retirement on the total amount. So it’s going to cost us roughly just under $11,000 of our portion,” said Woody.

Woody informed the board that this increase only goes to raise minimum teacher pay to $38,000 and that he isn’t happy with the overall situation. Woody told board members that if a teacher has a bachelor’s degree and worked for the district for nine years, they are making $38,270.

“They don’t get nothing extra,” said Woody. “Guys, I got a problem with that, but our hands are tied.”

Woody told the board that next year might see something more positive. 

“I am anticipating a pretty good budget for next year,” he said. “I can’t guarantee that yet because I’m in the preliminary pieces, but it’s looking good. Guys, there is a chance we can maybe turn around next year and take care of those veteran teachers then.”

• Bus contracts for the regular school year were reviewed and approved.

The district will continue with 18 routes. In addition to those routes, there is also the transportation to Nichols Career Center in Jefferson City. 

“Historically, those 18 routes have raised $500 a year; that is a $9,000 additional cost each year. The Nichols’ route has increased by $350 a year,” said Woody. “Obviously, things cost more. We are paying the difference of fuel that’s over $3. They really want to leave that in the contract.”

The rates for the contract have increased by $750 for the regular 18 routes and by $525 for transportation to Nichols Career Center. The total additional cost to the district for the upcoming year will be $14,025.

• Board members approved bus routes and bus contracts for summer school for $2.60 per mile. 

• Fatima approved the propane contract bid from Lock’s Mill for $1.57 a gallon.

• The board approved a paper contract bid from Staples for $34.99 per 10-ream case. 

• A price increase to the district’s preschool tuition was approved, from $24 to $26.

• Out-of-district tuition was raised to $9,052.08.

• Bills were approved for $681,030.27.

• The board voted to accept the resignation of high school band teacher Ryan Lewis.

• The board voted to hire Jenny Heckman as the school nurse, Brooke Schnieders as the secretary to the school nurse, Brandy Brown as an elementary teacher, Eric Saak as a social studies teacher, Theresanna Manganiello as a special education aide, Casey McDonald-Schneider as the high school music and band teacher, Dalton Schroeder as the assistant varsity wrestling coach, Tim Brunnert as the freshman basketball coach, Clifford Rhea as a special education aide, Erica Hoffman as a special education aide, and Kelly Wheelan as the special education director.

• The board recognized students of the Quarter Draven Cole and Maggie Deeken.

• The next regular meeting will be held on June 21 at 7 p.m.


High School Principal Sharyl Kelsch reported low student sign-up for summer school.

“Unfortunately, this year’s summer school did not take off like it did last year for me,” she said, noting that only 15 signed up for credit recovery this year. “I’m not sure what the difference was, but last year I had 35 kids wanting to take PE in the summer, and this year I had six. We’re not offering PE because we didn’t have enough (interest).”

“We have to have at least 12,” said Woody. “That’s kind of our baseline to break even.”

• Scheduling is still being worked on.

• Updates to the handbook will be finished soon.

• Currently, there are 408 students in school, and attendance is 95.8%.

Assistant Principal and Athletic Director Matt Verslues was at a soccer game, but Kelsch reported that the baseball team ended its season on May 17 with a loss to Blair Oaks.

• The state track tournament will be held this weekend in Jefferson City.

Elementary School Principal Mellissa Wright reported that the PTO Field day held on May 17 was a huge success.

“We’re very thankful to all the parents who came out and helped with that,” she said. “The kids had a blast, and the weather was perfect.” 

• Sixth-grade students held a moving up ceremony on May 19.

• Staff will work on English Language Arts curriculum on May 25-26.

• Summer school begins on June 1 and will be project-based. Currently, there are 237 students enrolled.

Curriculum Coordinator Janah Massman reported that all testing had been completed.

“We had one hiccup that I’m going to take the blame for,” she said. “We missed a make-up on a kid. It did not get put down on the absentee list, even though his father emailed me and said that he was going to be out. It completely slipped my mind. Other than that, close to 850 tests were completed.”

The student who missed the test still was scored and entered into the district’s numbers.

“He factors into our numbers,” said Massman. “He has a zero on the test, so it shows up as below basic for us when really he could have scored something else for us. So, it still qualifies as having to take the test. What I have to make sure is that the student gets the opportunity to take it again after Algebra II.”

Massman also reminded board members of the effects COVID-19 has had on students’ in-person class time.

“I don’t want to use this as a crutch, but I want you to think back on this year’s freshmen,” said Massman. “Seventh grade, what did we say they missed? Total, between seventh and eighth grade, and this year, they missed 11 or 12 weeks of school. Math builds on itself. When our freshmen came in this year, Mrs. Kesel says they weren’t quite ready to accelerate through the beginning-of-the-year stuff that she normally does. She had to spend more time. Which means we didn’t get to everything on the back end.” 

Special Education Director Kristie Scrivner reported her department had 22 students with a 504 plan. She also noted that 12 early childhood, 46 elementary, and 38 high school students had an IEP. Scrivener said she is working with Discovery Schools and will be doing a walkthrough with the organization the week of May 23.

“I may have stolen some employees from there to come work back here,” said Scrivner. “Three of them.”

• The new Discovery Program will be offered in the coming year.

“Here’s what I can see happening,” said Woody. “There are other schools fairly close to us that are now without anything. If Discovery Schools gets enough kids, they will do this in Jefferson City. So we could be transporting to Jefferson City, which is way better than Fulton. So that is an option.”


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