Hannibal teachers getting a pay raise

When voters in the Hannibal Public School District #60 approved the Proposition C rollback waiver in April 2016, they did so with the expectation that the financial climate of the school district would improve.

As Superintendent Susan Johnson presented a preliminary budget for the district's 2017-2018 fiscal year, she said the results of the community's decision are beginning to show.

“I felt pretty good to present this to you tonight,” she told the district's Board of Education at its June 21 meeting.

One of the biggest improvements financially for the district is the reserve fund.

Prior to the passage of Proposition C, the district walked a fine line of receiving the label of “financially distressed” from the Missouri Auditor's office — meaning year-end reserves hovered perilously close to 3 percent of expenditures.

The district's reserve number was 3.72 percent at the close of the 2014-2015 school year.

Johnson's preliminary budget for 2017-2018 puts the district's reserves at near 10 percent.

“The goal for our school district fund balances/reserves is 20 percent,” Johnson told the Courier-Post in an email.

The brightened financial picture for the district led the Board of Education to approve raises for the district's staff for the first time since the 2014-2015 school year.

With five votes in favor (and two abstentions), the base pay for certified staff will increase by $500 — which is equivalent to a 2 percent raise, Johnson said. Administrators and support staff will also receive a 2 percent raise.

The raises puts Hannibal square in the middle of average teacher salaries compared to other North Central Missouri Conference school districts.

Johnson told the board that raises can be given thanks in large part to a conservative spending mindset the district has taken in recent years.

Board member Michael Holliday praised the district's building administrators for fostering budget improvements with conservative spending.

“We have asked a lot of our building administrators. We've asked them to go bare bones for a number of years,” he said. “This is a testament to them.”

The board unanimously approved Johnson's preliminary budget.The district has a budget of more than $37 million.

“We're accustomed to being conservative in our town,” Johnson said. “And we will continue to be.”

While the board approved raises for the district's staff, they also approved a “raise” in school lunch prices. Elementary school lunch prices will increase from $1.95 to $2.05. Lunch prices at the middle and high school will increase from $2.45 to $2.55.

The change was made, according to Business Manager Rich Stilley, meet federal regulations.

In other business, the board:

• Approved Kelly Services vendor bid to manage the substitute teacher pool for the district.

• Commended Hannibal High School's All-State track and field and golf athletes.

• Heard from district technology director Jonathan McCammon, who reported the district now maintains 2,078 personal devices for students in total, including computers, iPads, and Chromebooks.

• Recognized staff and students who achieved perfect attendance during the 2016-2017 school year.

The board's next meeting will take place at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 19.

Reach editor Eric Dundon at eric.dundon@courierpost.com .