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SoCal talks late starts, state funding

The South Callaway School Board recently discussed the option of late starts during times of inclement weather.

With the recent bouts of winter weather, it was a discussion Superintendent Mary Lynn Battles thought was appropriate.

“I wanted feedback from the board,” Battles said. “I think it makes it more difficult for those making the decision on when to let out, but sometimes we get a little weather in the evening and at 6 a.m. the roads are not good for people to travel, but once the county goes onto some roads, it might make the roads doable a couple hours later.”

School Board member Gary Jungermann said the district opted to keep their current policy of in session or out.

“We’re going to make a call one way or another,” he said. “The administration is going to make that decision and we are not going to do a late start. We may re-address that at some point, but this year, that’s the way it is.”

Both Battles and Jungermann said the decision made sense for all parties involved.

“We wanted to take the burden off our parents out there who would wonder if we had school,” Jungermann said. “A late start in rural areas like ours with a lot of county roads is hard because you’re never sure about the roads. To make it work for the parents and make the decision easier on the administration, we will either go to school or not go to school.”

The board discussed a number of other issues at the meeting last week, including budget concerns.

“We are looking at projections from the state about funding and how we can tighten our belts without diminishing our programs,” Battles said. “We really need to be looking at where we can tighten and deal with the projected revenues.”

Battles said one rumor flying around districts is the possibility that the state may get rid of the transportation fund for schools.

“It’s because of the amount they removed this summer — an additional $85 million,” Battles said. “People think transportation could evaporate totally, but the governor recently put back $7.1 million into transportation for the entire state. We always appreciate anytime we can get help with funding, but compared to what was removed earlier, it’s just a small part. We are, of course, grateful that anything was put back.”

Jungermann said the district is looking at a variety of ways to tighten the budget.

“We are still hashing it out, but it’s no different than any other district,” he said. “We do have numerous employees. I think the school has 150 or 160 employees, but we have to start tightening our belts. Some decisions are going to have to be made by the administrations.”

Jungermann said the administrations of each building are examining their class sizes and number of teachers in each subject area.

“Do we have too many social studies teachers and need more math teachers?” Jungermann said. “They will be looking at those types of questions. They may cut here, or take away somewhere else so we can be more efficient with our education, quality and background of our teachers.”

Jungermann said each of the schools is also being asked to tighten up their overall budget.

“Don’t spend if we don’t have to,” he said. “We’re really going to look at several areas.”

Battles said projections from the state are not specific numbers at this point in the legislative session.

“But right now, the news is not good news,” she said.

Battles also recognized the board members during the meeting because January is the month when board members are recognized by the state government. They also discussed the bar of expectations they have for South Callaway students and what the board feels is excellence for each of the students.

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