School Board Looks to the Future
An empty seat, tuition and a new website holds the board's attention at Thursday's meeting.
School Board Raises Kindergarten Tuition, Passes Audit
The school board voted Thursday 4-2 in favor of raising annual full-day kindergarten tuition rates by $75 for the Mehlville School District. After hearing a report by Chief Financial Officer Noel Knobloch, the board raised tuition for the 2011-2012 school year to $2,275 per year for full-day kindergarten.
Knobloch reported the increase was due to inflation, rather than the failure of Proposition C in the Nov. 2 election. Under the 88-cent tax increase, the district would have created a free full-day kindergarten program.
"We're not making up costs for the district, but simply continuing to adjust the price for inflation," he said.
The district's last raise was $200 in 2008, following a five-year constant cost.
Knobloch said the new fee will raise between $15,000 and $20,000 in additional revenue for the district.
With the increase, Mehlville still remains below the $4,000 state average kindergarten tuition cost, according to Knobloch.
The district will continue to offer free half-day kindergarten.
The Mehlville School District also heard a report on their financial audit from Daniel Jones and Associates for the 2010 fiscal year. The audit, required by the state every other year, found no state or federal conflicts.
Superintendent Terry Noble presented the official election results, finalizing the failure of Proposition C by a margin of 37.4 percent in favor and 62.6 percent against the measure. The board voted to accept the results and use the Dec. 1 meeting to begin work on the budget and contingency plan developed last spring.
The election results also brought the resignation of Karl Frank Jr. A director on the board for five years, Frank submitted his letter of resignation to Secretary Larry Felton just five days after the election.
After expressions of gratitude, the board accepted Frank's resignation and made the absence effective immediately. At Felton's motion, the board voted to leave the position open until the April election. Frank's position, along with members Erin Moses and Drew Frauenhoffer, will be open for election next spring.
Before leaving the table, Frank said, "I just want to say thanks. Regardless of who is serving on the board I know we're in good hands in the classroom."
District To See New Website
The board decided to delay accepting a bid from SchoolFusion to redesign the district's website pending further budget review.
Emily McFarland, director of communications, presented the board with cost and features the company could provide the district. A committee of 15 staff, parents and technology advisors developed a list of priorities needed for the new website, researched companies and heard presentations from the top three.
After hearing bids, the committee recommended SchoolFusion because of its cost and features. For an annual cost of $21,600, SchoolFusion will completely redesign the website, train selected individuals and provide support and tutorials.
The committee listed a better calendar as the number one priority for the new website. With SchoolFusion, the district can have customizable calendars, showing all events displayed on the homepage. For example, if a parent has students in two different schools that play sports, they can create a calendar with those schools and activities.
The new website would also feature teacher profiles. Students can log on and receive updates on homework assignments and messages boards from the teacher.
The redesign would also have a language translation option, reaching to the district's large Bosnian population.