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By Mike Scott
“Everyone is in dire need of subs,” Joni Kraus told CCR-1 school board members at their Wednesday, January 12 meeting.
Kraus, who serves frequently as a substitute teacher, requested to speak to the board regarding substitute teacher pay.
“Clark County’s pay is a lot lower than other districts. Scotland County pays $90 per day. Clark County pays $80,” she said.
The $80 per day rate, divided by a seven and a half hour work day, comes to $10.66 per hour, less than Missouri’s 2022 minimum wage of $11.15.
Kraus further noted that Canton and Highland also pay $90 per day, while Knox County pays $100 per day. Keosauqua pays $125 per day.”
“I think it’s something you should look at. I love the kids here, but it makes more sense for me to sub at other schools,” she explained.
CCR-1 Superintendent Dr. Ritchie Kracht explained that while the daily sub rate was lower than surrounding districts, long-term subs, those working more than 21 consecutive days, were paid according to the district’s salary schedule of $178 per day.
“Pay is just one of many issues with getting subs,” said High School Principal Jason Harper.
Middle School Principal Jason Church added, “Some of our old stand-bys have really scaled back, due to COVID and other things. I don’t think it (a higher rate)would be a selling point, but it would help keep the ones we have.”
The board approved an increase to $90 per day, effective Thursday, January 13.
Kracht reported that the district had saved $1,576.473 refinancing one of its bonds.
“That’s a big savings for us,” he said.
The district’s plans to upgrade HVAC in several buildings utilizing energy performance contracts hit a major bump when the proposal from Veregy came in much higher than expected. While their original estimate was $1.5 to $1.7 million dollars, the plan they presented was scaled back significantly, and would not include upgrades on the second floor of either Black Hawk or Running Fox Elementary Schools. Even with the cutbacks, the price was much higher than the original estimate.
“To do the second floors, it costs a million dollars more,” said Kracht.
“They came in here and looked at everything before they gave us the original estimate,” said board member Charles West. “How can they be this far off?”
Kracht explained that Veregy doesn’t do the work themselves, they hire contractors, and right now, prices have doubles and contractors can’t hire labor.
“It’s because they know we all have money to spend,” said board member Kevin Ross.
The CCR-1 district has been promised over three million dollars in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) payments. This is federal money provided to the states to address the impact of the coronavirus.
“I’m leary of jumping until we have the money,” Kracht said. “Our legislature is a disaster right now.”
He explained that legislature hasn’t appropriated the funds to the schools yet, and that the federal deadline was approaching. If the legislature doesn’t appropriate the funds to schools by then, the money will be given to other states.
“Some schools have already spent the money,” he added. “I think we need to put the brakes on this, and get them (Veregy) here for the next meeting.”
In other business, the board:
-Approved an agreement with Southeastern Community College to provide services.
“It really fleshes out our vocational programs,” said Harper.
-Reviewed attendance. “We had a really bad month for attendance in December,” said Kracht. “There was a lot of sickness.”
-Updated Board Policy BBB to meet current state election laws.