The Lonedell R-XIV School Board recently approved a $4.8 million operating budget for 2019-20 school year.

The budget projects revenue of $4,826,890 and expenditures of $4,850,499.

The district has a deficit budget of $418,978 due to planned capital projects including the replacement of the wastewater treatment plant, according to Superintendent Jenny Ulrich.

Moving forward, Ulrich said the district will not have as many big capital projects.

“We’ve really done a lot of work over the last couple years with our roofs, parking lots and now this wastewater treatment and the expansion of our cafeteria, so a lot of the really large capital projects are going to be off of our books and we can begin to focus more on the day-to-day maintenance-type items that aren’t quite so expensive in our district,” she said.

The operating budget is projected to be at a deficit of $18,609, she said.

“That’s a very conservative number. We always err on the side of being conservative, kind of making sure we have a little room for error in case our revenues don’t come in as we expect or in case we have an unplanned expenditure,” she said. “So, I really expect the operating budget to come in a little healthier than that.”

At the end of the school year, the district’s unrestricted fund balance, or savings, will be at 29.81 percent, “which is a very healthy number,” Ulrich said.

Salaries

Teachers will be getting a pay raise in the coming school year ranging between $1,000 to $1,500 depending on where they fall on the salary schedule, according to Ulrich, which is between a 2 and 3 percent increase.

The base pay was increased to $33,500, which is a $500 increase.

Support staff will receive a 21-cent an hour raise,which is a 2.45 percent increase.

Administrators will receive a 2.38 percent pay increase, Ulrich said.

Wastewater Project

The construction of a new wastewater treatment system was set to start this week. The district received a permit from the state last Tuesday.

At a recent meeting, the school board approved bids from Chapman Contracting to put in the new wastewater plant, Dace Excavating to close the current lagoon, and Casco Electric to install electric and waterlines.

The total cost of the project is approximately $290,000.

The cost is slightly more than what the district was anticipating, according to Ulrich, due to the amount of rock that has to be removed underneath the ground where the new tanks would be placed.

Depending on the weather, the project will take six weeks to complete. After the new plant is installed, the lagoon will close in late August and early September, according to Ulrich. In order to close the lagoon, the weather needs to be hot for it to dry up.

The design plans of a subsurface land application system, developed by Cochran Engineering, were approved in April by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The system will consist of an additional septic tank, pump and an extra drain field to the district’s existing septic tank system.

Cochran workers have completed the survey fieldwork and geohydrologic evaluation fieldwork was completed by DNR in March.

In 2016, the school district started looking into alternative options with its wastewater lagoon since it will be in violation of national standards soon due to stricter regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency.

The ammonia levels in the lagoon located behind the school on Highway FF eventually will be too high under the new regulations.

The district has until 2020 to upgrade the system. Wastewater treatment lagoons are designed and constructed for the purpose of providing the right environmental conditions for bacteriological processes to proceed.

In a two-cell system, the first cell is the treatment cell and the second is the holding cell. The process is carried out by breaking down of organic matter by the bacteria present in the wastewater.

In October, the school district hired Cochran Engineering to help with the project. The amount of water used within the district has decreased over the years.

The current lagoon system was built for the use of 5,400 gallons of water a day. The past few years, the district has used between 2,400-2,600 gallons a day.

Now, the district is down to using 1,500 gallons a day. Water usage decreased when leaky toilets and faucets were fixed.