BARNARD, Mo. — “With reluctance,” said Pat Swinford, South Nodaway Board of Education member as he and other board members raised their hands to accept the resignation of Superintendent Johnnie Silkett during its Tuesday night meeting at the school.
Effective at the end of the school year, Silkett plans to retire and focus on a new chapter in his career.
“The longer we wait he might change his mind,” joked Board President Macia Kemper. “We wish you the best.”
Board members joked that he’ll now have a lot of free time to continue coaching the junior high football team.
“I appreciate it,” he said. “I won’t read (the letter) because I do not want to cry. Thank you guys very much. It has been a pleasure.”
According to meeting minutes, he thanked the board for allowing him the opportunity to be a part of the district for the last seven years as superintendent.
“The support and dedication to the education of the children and staff of South Nodaway R-IV has been heartfelt and appreciated,” he noted.
The board is advertising internally for a replacement.
Silkett told board members about some updates with regard to the budget.
Since the cut in state funding in July, Silkett said the district has received its full funding.
“It looks to me like we’re going to be able to do that for the rest of the year, so it’s good news,” he said.
The district saw a $100,000 increase in its assessed valuation, which also will help.
“We’re doing a lot better than I thought we were awhile ago,” Silkett said. “We’re going to definitely be in the black this year, no doubt, even without the bond.”
He said the district has received about $16,800 in CARES Act funding, noting that it was spent last year.
Silkett said he under budgeted Proposition C funds at $155,000, but the district has received a little more than $164,000.
Approved in 1982, Prop C is the Missouri School and Highway Tax Proposition that supplements school funds by an additional one cent on dollar sales and use taxes. The measure also reduces property taxes for schools by one half of the additional sales tax revenue received by schools, according to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Silkett noted the district budget will look a little “odd,” for a while, because of the bond money. As the year continues and bond funds are spent — he estimated about $400,000 of it this year — the budget will shift.
“These are the kind of numbers we’re going to be dealing with for a while,” Silkett said.
- Elementary Principal Aaron Murphy told the board, that students will parade in costumes next week to the senior housing on Friday, Oct. 30. “I know the kids are looking forward to it,” he said.
- Murphy told the board, that teachers began holding weekly Zoom meetings with students who are distance learning and have received glowing feedback in the shift from twice a month. “It’s a testament to what our teachers are producing,” he said.
- Dustin Skoglund, junior high/high school principal, noted that though a few students have stayed home out of precaution, the district has been very fortunate with regard to COVID-19 cases and quarantines. He said the district currently has one high school student (7-12) in quarantine.“I think people are being careful, while also being reasonable and I think that speaks volumes about our community,” he said.
- The board verbally agreed that if the varsity softball team moves onto the semifinals next week, the school may be closed for the long distance travel needed to attend the games. Silkett said it’s unknown where those games will be, but it is possible the team could see more than four hours travel one-way. Board member Debbie Bennett suggested the school reach out to parents to let them know ahead of time, the school may close, so they can line up care for their children. Silkett said the district should know by Saturday and will make sure families are aware.
- Discussion was held about the plan to change how the traditional senior trip occurs. Board Secretary Brandy Wolf told the board, that the senior class has $5,000 raised to put toward a trip. Board members agreed that it’s unlikely the shift to a Washington D.C. trip will be possible this year. The idea had been to help fund special, perhaps larger trips every other year for juniors and seniors together. The cost for students this year would be between $1,400 to $1,500 per student. With fundraising not happening during the pandemic, board members didn’t think it would be possible for each senior to raise another $900 apiece, let alone the junior class members who haven’t had as long to fundraise. Kemper suggested talking to the class about what it would like to do.