Hannibal School Board passes preliminary 2021-22 budget

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by Jim Dewey

HANNIBAL – The Hannibal School Board approved a preliminary budget for 2021-2022. Although the budget is not finalized, approval was needed so the district can continue operating through July.

Superintendent Susan Johnson told board members that revenues are estimated at $43,991,479. Estimated expenditures are $43,987,914 leaving a surplus of just over $3,500. The budget includes pay raises for teachers and support staff members. Teachers’ base pay will be $37,316. Johnson said there are several things that could affect the budget including changes in the state budget if stated legislators are unable to reach an agreement on medicaid funding during their special session that is currently underway.

The board also heard from the district’s Director of Technology, Jonathan Macammon. Macammon said the district spent $500,000 on technology infrastructure in the past year. That money was reimbursed by the Federal Communications Commission through the E-Rate program. Macammon also said that the school district has more than 4200 ChromeBooks which will allow each student and faculty member to have a ChromeBook to use during the next school year. 

Superintendent Johnson also talked about the district’s Speech Implementer Model. There are currently five speech implementers in the Hannibal School District. Speech implementers are certified teachers who are supervised by a Speech/Language Pathologist to work with students who have a variety of difficulties with speech communication. Johnson said speech pathologists can earn much more money working for hospitals and nursing homes than they can working for schools. But the Missouri Board of Healing Arts which issues certificates for Speech Language Pathologists and Speech Language Pathologist Assistants is requiring Missouri schools to eliminate speech implementers.

The goal is to bring more Speech Language Pathologist Assistants to schools as there are very few of them in rural parts of the state, according to Johnson. Johnson and the HPS staff have come up with a plan that would allow the five speech implementers in the district to take video courses through Hannibal La Grange University so they can be certified Speech Language Assistants. The courses would cost each teacher $7,000 which Johnson proposed would be paid by the school district. The state would reimburse the district a thousand dollars for each teacher completing the certification leaving a bill of $30,000 for the district.

In exchange for the district paying for their courses, the teachers would be asked to sign a three-year contract with the school district. Board members had several questions about the issue and no action was taken. Administrators will work to get answers to those questions and bring them to the July 21 meeting.

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