The Union R-XI School District’s budget gap is closing once again.

In years past, the board of education has approved a budget at the start of the school year that showed deficit spending. Throughout the year, the board is updated on the budget and has seen a decrease in the deficit.

Last year, for example, saw the deficit disappear entirely. 

At the October board meeting, the board got its first look at the revised budget. The result showed the deficit shrinking by nearly $200,000. 

Superintendent Dr. Steve Weinhold said the spending plan approved in July showed a deficit of $812,998 if every penny allocated for the year was spent. He pointed out that rarely happens.

Since the approval, he said the budget has undergone a lot of cleaning up. Some numbers that were estimates became firmer and helped create a clearer picture, he said.

He said the district “took a hit” on the amount of money it would received from assessed valuations. The district actually predicted it would receive more. However, other trimming and firming up of numbers still showed a reduction in spending.

According to the revision, as of October, the district is looking at deficit spending of $615,058. Weinhold pointed out that still leaves the district with around $9.6 million in reserves.

Weinhold said he was confident the deficit would keep shrinking with every budget amendment.

“We think we’ll come in the black like we have been the last few years,” he said. 

Graduation Date

Also at the October meeting, the board approved the graduation date for the class of 2020.

Weinhold said in the past, setting the date had to be decided much later because of snow days. That’s not the case anymore because makeup days are built into the school calendar so the district has a clearer picture of when things are going to end.

With that in mind, the board approved the graduation for Thursday, May 21, at 6 p.m. at the high school.

Grace’s Place

The board also approved a memorandum of understanding with Grace’s Place. 

The deal will allow Grace’s Place staff to come on campus and serve students who need counselling. 

Under the agreement, Grace’s Place will work with the district to work with students who are identified as needing additional support either at home or school. The goal is to reduce incidents of disruptive behavior, provide early mental health intervention and increase resiliency skills. 

Grace’s Place, while having a limited staff, seeks to help students who may not otherwise have access to its counsellors. 

All of the counsellors will be trained. 

Other Items

Transportation routes for the 2019-20 school year were finalized. The routes can be found online at urxi-mo.schoolloop.com/departments/transportation/home.

The board also backed sending Union High School DECA students on a field trip. The students will be attending the International Career Development Conference  in Nashville. The event runs from April 28 to May 3, 2020,

Also approved was an agreement between the district and Lindenwood University regarding placement and student teaching. Executive Director of Human Resources Dr. Justin Tarte said the agreements are becoming more and more common between colleges and schools that accept student teachers.