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story.lead_photo.caption New North Callaway R-1 School District Board of Education members Tim Safranski, Ann Schmidt and Kendall Pipes are sworn in Thursday. Photo by Olivia Garrett / Fulton Sun.

The North Callaway R-1 School District Board of Education met Thursday evening to welcome new members and discuss the fiscal year 2021 budget.

New members Tim Safranski, Ann Schmidt and Kendall Pipes were sworn in. Their first meeting included a deep dive into finances as the board examined budget plans.

For this year's budget, the district will weather a $204,934 cut from the state — a measure announced by Gov. Mike Parson this month as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

"This is tell-tale of what might be to come," Kemp said.

Kemp built next year's budget on the assumption the district might not cut the full amount in state funding. This year, it only got 95.2 percent of the state money owed. Acting with caution, Kemp only accounted for 92 percent of state funds in the fiscal year 2021 budget.

Taking into account state, local and federal funding, North Callaway hopes to see $12,416,018 in revenue. As a part of the conservative approach, Kemp presented a budget to the board that amounts to $12,067,028 in expenses.

Debt service and capital projects aside, operating revenue is at $11,312,953, while operating expenses is at $11,229,368.

"When it's all said and done, there is a surplus," Kemp said.

The budget includes a 1.34 percent pay increase for administration and classified staff, as well as a 2.92 percent increase in health insurance rates.

Next year, the district will have six fewer full-time staff members, which amounts to almost $250,000 in salaries the district won't have to pay. These are all staff members who are leaving the district anyway and will not have to be replaced due to the district's reorganization and the transformation of Auxvasse Elementary School into North Callaway Middle School.

"Just so we all understand, we did not cut six people," board President Sandy Lavy said. "These are people that left."

More money is included in the budget for purchase services as a result of new custodial and maintenance services.

"We'll also need to remember that we have to be able to meet CDC recommendations that could drive up these costs as we are planning for the reopening for schools," Kemp said.

The district has not yet earmarked the $241,428 it is eligible for from the federal government in COVID-19 relief. Kemp said those funds could help offset the state cuts or go toward disinfectant, personal protective equipment or technology needs next year. Another possible use would be in the area of math intervention for elementary students who might need extra support next year.

The district still has $61,015.16 in bond money that has not been spent — the board discussed putting these funds toward roof repairs.

Also included is the cost of two new buses, which will be funded in part by a $40,000 grant — an expense Kemp said could be avoided if the district needs extra funds. Coaching stipends, totalling $8,000, are another area the board could decide to add to the budget.

The board will meet again June 30 to approve the finalized budget.

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