The North Callaway school board meeting Thursday led off with a hearing about the 2021-22 tax rate and ended with the issue among the rest of its new business.
The board approved the $4.6724 total tax levy, with $3.7683 going toward operating funds and $.9041 going toward debt service. That means there will be a $.0122 increase in operating and no change in debt service.
Superintendent Nicky Kemp outlined the figures before the regular meeting was called to order.
In other new business, the board approved a bid to purchase a UTV - used to haul equipment - as one of the latest items to be acquired with the use of one of the grants awarded to the district. Jarod Womack and Katie Robnett gave a presentation about the CTE enhancement grant and the FV4 grant and how those have been used by the district in the past.
Among the other bids approved Thursday, the board accepted the $15,360 bid by Henry Excavating to install guardrails on a bridge close to the school.
The board also listened to a presentation to two construction project firms - Facility Solutions Group and Navigate Building Solutions. In their presentations, the representatives outlined the types of projects they have done in the past and what school districts they have worked with with, including some Callaway and Mid-Missouri districts. Facility Building Solutions has worked with the Fulton 58 district and Navigate Building Solutions have worked with South Callaway R-2 and New Bloomfield R-3.
In old business, Kemp talked about the use of CARES Act funding and the board then discussed the parts of the Safe Return to In-Person and Continuity of Service Plan for students and staff. There were no changes and not much discussion regarding the plan for staff, but there were some amendments proposed and approved for the student plan.
The plan's wording had to be altered to reflect CDC guidelines, Kemp said. Fatigue, nausea and vomiting were added to the list of symptoms for COVID-19 and three feet is now considered to be an acceptable distance in the classrooms.
A point of contention Thursday was the CDC order of masks being worn on public transportation or school buses. Masks for bus drivers will be mandatory, and district drivers have already been informed of this, Kemp said. There were concerns, however, about the ability to enforce mask-wearing among the child passengers.
The district still plans to provide hand sanitizer and masks to children when they step on the bus, but drivers shouldn't have to be overly concerned about enforcing children to wear masks during the ride, the board said, because drivers have to be focused about controlling the bus and making sure everyone makes it to school safe.
The board wanted to balance keeping children in school as much as possible with preventing an outbreak, so they agreed on having people with no symptoms return to school after 10 days and allowing them to wear a mask for four more days. People with a negative test don't have to wear a mask for the last four days.
With all that considered, the board approved the plan with the preceding amendments. They approved a $94,900 bid from Teel Mechanical Sevices for a GPS ionization system in the high school, which will help purify the air, and also approved the staff resignation policy.