Tuition hike prompts Senath-Hornersville school board to look at boundary agreement

Friday, June 18, 2010

SENATH, Mo. -- Following concerns of rising tuition costs, the Senath-Hornersville Board of Education decided to look into a 1972 agreement with the Kennett School District regarding the district boundary line.

At a recent meeting, the board discussed the area south of Kennett and includes the John Deere Community, Horner Road, Providence Road, and the Josephine Subdivision.

According to Senath-Hornersville Superintendent Larry Wood, the districts have been in agreement on the area that any student living in the affected area, which is considered to be in the Senath-Hornersville School District, would have the choice to go to Senath-Hornersville or Kennett schools. If a student chose to go to Kennett, the Senath-Hornersville District would pay the tuition from the taxes it receives.

Concern came about after the Senath-Hornersville District was presented with the tuition for the upcoming school year. The new tuition was set at $7,562, compared to $7,057 last year.

Wood said approximately 38 students from the area attended the Kennett District for the 2009-2010 school year. With the increase, it would cost the district an additional $19,190.

The board's concern was that the money the district receives per student would not cover the tuition and the district would have to pay for the additional out-of-pocket cost.

The original agreement between the two districts was established in 1972, after the Kennett School District filed to annex the area. In the annex form, dated Oct. 16, 1972, the Board of Arbitration made the decision that "the proposed boundary change as set out in the petition is not necessary and, therefore, the boundary shall be left unchanged."

Following the Board of Arbitration's decision, the districts came to an agreement in December 1972.

According to a typed Compromise Agreement on Boundary Dispute, provided by the Senath-Hornersville School District, the two boards agreed that:

* Anyone living in area A, all areas except the Josephine Subdivision, choose to attend either Kennett or Senath-Hornersville schools. The Kennett Schools will consider anyone choosing that school to be resident students and will receive the state aid.

* Anyone moving into area A at a later day may continue to have freedom of choice.

* Anyone moving into area B, the Josephine Subdivision, after July 13, 1972 may request to attend Kennett schools as resident student. However, they must have been a resident of Kennett School District immediately prior to the request. Anyone moving into area B establishing a new residence in the county must attend the Senath-Hornersville Schools.

Wood said the plan was a "gentlemen's agreement."

The board of education made the decision approve the payment of tuition for the 2010-2011 school year and to have Wood look further into the situation for the 2011-2012 school year. Board members said they felt the agreement was not being upheld as originally stated. Wood said he have more on the topic at the next board meeting.

Also in the meeting, Wood gave an update on budget cuts for the upcoming year.

Wood said the state has made the decision to cut about 45 percent of the transportation budget.

"We were expecting 15-20 percent," Wood said. He added that the funding formula is currently untouched, and the district will know "in the next few days" if any cuts will be made.

"If the formula is not touched, we will turn out better than I thought we would," Wood said.

Currently, Wood has the 2010-2011 budget set at 96 percent funded. He said he would be "tickled to death" if there is a two percent cut, but the district is prepared for a four percent cut.

Wood then said that the summer maintenance at the high school has been completed and the crews have moved to the middle school.

In other matters, the board:

* Approved amending the current budget to match the final expenditure report for 2009-2010

* Approved budget amendments for year-end transfers by the auditor

* Adopted the 2009-2010 budget for the beginning of the 2010-2011 school year due to the uncertainty of state cuts. The new budget will be presented following the states announcement on the funding formula

* Approved paying the 2010 Missouri School Boards' Association membership dues in the amount of $4,300

* Approved minor changes to the student handbooks, and

* Accepted the resignation of Leah Adams, first grade.

The board closed the meeting by adjourning to executive session, in which it voted to hire Teresa Tansil as an elementary special education teacher.

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