District releases video addressing 23-24 proposed budget; seeks patron comments ahead of June 29th meeting
Grain Valley Schools released a video Wednesday outlining the district's proposed 23-24 budget in advance of their June meeting. In the 13-minute video (embedded below and link provided at end of story), Superintendent Dr. Brad Welle outlines income sources and priorities in expenditures for the coming year.
Welle shared a similar presentation to the members of the Grain Valley Chamber of Commerce during their June luncheon meeting on Tuesday at the district's new Leadership Center.
The district served 4,475 students in 2022-23, a slight decrease compared to the previous school year and a continued slowing trend in terms of growth in the district. The $54,203,723 proposed budget currently shows a shortfall of $656,726, mainly due to revenue numbers that are unknown at this time (i.e. new construction numbers that will be known in late summer).
Compared to neighboring districts (Lee's Summit, Blue Springs, and Independence) and metro districts that closely resemble Grain Valley in terms of size (Belton, Fort Osage, Platte County, and Kearney), Grain Valley's tax levy rate ($4.9271 in 2022) is near the bottom, with only Kearney having a lower tax levy rate. Grain Valley's assessed valuation per student ($89,765) ranks near the bottom as well.
In an attempt to remain competitive with neighboring districts, the district is proposing an increase in the certified staff budget of $606,191 to raise the base teacher salary to $40,000. Additionally, increases in non-certified staff, administration, and substitute teacher pay are also proposed to attempt to keep these positions competitive with other districts.
Student attendance rates are one of the concerns that may impact revenue in future years, with a potential loss of $200,000 if average daily attendance numbers (ADA) do not improve. ESSER funding (COVID relief funding) expires in FY24, creating a budget revenue loss in FY25 of $800,000 for the district. Welle also pointed to increased needs in academic and behavioral needs of students, challenges related to labor shortages and remaining competitive in terms of pay, and increased costs of health benefits as challenges for the district moving forward.
Patrons are invited to share feedback by June 12th via email (email@example.com) regarding the 2023-2024 budget in advance of the board's meeting to finalize the budget on June 29th at 6:00pm.
Link to video: 23 - 24 Proposed Budget - YouTube
by Annelise Hanshaw, Missouri Independent
After a blue ribbon commission spent much of 2022 crafting possible solutions for Missouri’s teacher shortage, education advocates entered the legislative session optimistic.
And when Rep. Ed Lewis’ legislation raising the minimum teacher salary and creating a scholarship to incentivize teachers to work in hard-staff areas cleared the House in early April with only five “no” votes, the bill seemed likely to make it to the governor.
But the bill never made it to the Senate floor, a victim of unintended consequences and GOP infighting.
“This one was poised to go through right at the end, just before the Senate kind of fell apart for the last two weeks,” said Lewis, a Moberly Republican.
The impasse left lawmakers embittered.
“[Lewis’s bill] was the best bill we were gonna get,” said Rep. Paula Brown, the ranking Democratic member of the House elementary and secondary education committee.
Lewis’s legislation mirrored many of the blue ribbon commission’s recommendations from its October 2022 report — released around the time lawmakers were preparing bills for the upcoming session.
The commission first looked at teacher pay, noting that teachers’ average annual salary has decreased 6.3% since the 2009-2010 school year.
A symptom of teachers’ dissatisfaction is a declining teacher retention rate. Missouri teachers left their positions at a rate of 11.9% during the 2021-2022 school year, according to Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education data.
The data also shows that by the time a child graduates elementary school, less than half of the school’s teachers are likely to be employed in the same setting.
Some districts have opted to address their teacher retention struggles with a switch to a four-day school week. The four-day week is not new to Missouri schools, but it has recently been adopted or considered by the state’s larger districts, such as the Independence School District.
Lewis wonders if school districts will continue to find ways to address teacher vacancy after the general assembly provided little relief.
Missouri lawmakers passed few elementary-and-secondary-education bills this, with seven non-budget bills affecting school districts. Only one bill originated in the House.
The only bill sent to the governor addressing teacher vacancy came from Sen. Rusty Black, R-Chillicothe. If signed into law, it will allow retired teachers to substitute teach more before losing retirement benefits.
The state budget included funding to raise the minimum teacher salary to $38,000 for one year, a continuation of a grant introduced last year. Lawmakers also nearly doubled the Career Ladder Program, which matches districts’ efforts to pay teachers for additional responsibilities, like serving as a club supervisor.
Rep. Brad Pollitt, chair of the House education committee, said one year of teacher salary funding isn’t enough assurance for districts. He wants to make changes to the state formula that funds public school districts to make the money permanently available.
“A permanent fix is doing something with the formula,” he said, “and we were trying to tinker with that.”
Pollitt, a Sedalia Republican, held a foundation-formula workshop in his committee to prepare lawmakers to make changes during the next legislative session.
Some edits were proposed this year, like giving more money to districts with homeless students. The legislation, which was proposed alongside other provisions, did not pass.
The end of the session spells doom for many bills every year, Brown said — both good and bad.
But Lewis’ nearly got across the finish line, thanks to a plan concocted by the Senate’s education chairman.
Sen. Andrew Koenig, R-Manchester, was working behind the scenes to move Lewis’s legislation alongside another House education priority.
Pollitt confirmed that Lewis’s legislation was going to be added to his “open enrollment” bill, which narrowly passed the House and would have allowed school districts to open their school boundaries to students living outside of district territory.
Pollitt told The Independent that Lewis’s legislation, which was considered less controversial, was going to be added to the open enrollment bill to discourage a potential filibuster. That plan fell apart, however, when the Senate derailed in filibusters in the final two weeks of session.
“I thought they had an agreement with the Democrats to accept this good piece of legislation with money for teachers and attach it to open enrollment… then the deal kind of fell through at the end,” Lewis said. “I think that some senators got their noses out of joint from something… it wasn’t necessarily about education, it was about other things.”
“And one way of poking at each other was to filibuster and kill their legislation.”
In the final days of the legislative session, Republican Sen. Rick Brattin of Harrisonville held the floor in an attempt to pass legislation that would prohibit a landfill from being developed on the edge of his district. In a compromise, legislation passed requiring an environmental study and a yearlong delay before the landfill could progress.
In the midst of closed-door negotiations over Brattin’s filibuster, Pollitt and House Speaker Dean Plocher, R-Des Peres, stopped into the Senate president pro tem’s office for a short conversation.
Pollitt told The Independent at that time that his bill was due to come to the floor for debate, but he didn’t anticipate any action on it during the filibuster.
A few days later, Republican Sen. Mike Moon of Ash Grove refused to give up the floor until his legislative priorities were considered. The session ended with Sen. Bill Eigel, R-Weldon Spring, filibustering an attempted deal on sports betting.
Pollitt briefly sat in the Senate during Moon’s filibuster — a sign his bill was scheduled to come up, he later confirmed.
“We can only control what we do on the House side,” he said.
A two-bill rule
As part of a new rule this year, which was put forth by Plocher, all House committees were only allowed two bills on the chamber’s debate calendar before spring break, which is the session’s midpoint.
Lewis originally filed the various proposals as individual bills. In committee, he had to merge them into one in order to nab one of the education committee’s two spots.
He said the rule may have delayed smaller bills. He knew the open-enrollment bill was going to pass committee before spring break, so lower profile bills may have been tabled.
Lewis said those with smaller bills didn’t want them referred to committee so early because they knew they couldn’t make it to the House floor for a while.
Pollitt doesn’t think the rule caused the low success rate of House education bills. He received permission from Plocher to pass three bills out of committee prior to legislative spring break, and he believes the speaker would’ve given him more leeway if asked.
“The goal was to have the committee vet more bills and put bills together that would go together so we didn’t have to do all that on the House floor,” Pollitt said. “And the committee was in position to vet those bills probably better than the whole House.”
Brown said the rule likely didn’t affect Lewis’s bill but that it made the committee be “choosey” for the first two and a half months of work.
“In fact, it forced us to make more omnibus bills,” she said.
In the final days of session, Moon contested multiple omnibus bills under a state law that constrains legislation to its title and the bill’s original intent.
Pollitt said the bills made it to the Senate “in a timely manner.” So, the two-bill rule wasn’t the holdup.
“It’s priorities from (the Senate) side on what they wanted, what they wanted to look at first,” he said. “The house’s priority was initiative petition because that was the first bill that went out of the House over to the Senate, and that didn’t make it either. And I know the Senate had some priorities from their standpoint that didn’t make it across the line either.”
Lewis said, even if his legislation passed, it would still take time to fix the teacher retention issue.
Plocher did not respond to a request for an interview.
Jackson County Parks + Rec will host Fort Osage National Historic Landmark’s “Fun on the Bluff” event on Saturday, June 10. Families are invited to enjoy the great outdoors with activities such as hearth cooking, tomahawk throwing, blacksmithing, arts and crafts, archery, atlatl dart throwing, flintknapping, textile spinning, cannon firing and more. New family-friendly hands-on activities in the Education Center make this a great event to attend. Food and refreshments will be available on the grounds.
The event will be held Saturday, June 10th from 9:00am - 4:30pm at Fort Osage National Historic Landmark, 105 Osage Street, Sibley, MO 64088. The cost to attend is $15/car or $25/bus.
About Fort Osage National Historic Landmark
Built in 1808, under the initial direction of William Clark of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Fort Osage served a dual role as both a military garrison and a trade center. Today, authentically attired historical interpreters take visitors on a journey through Fort Osage’s past. Guests will enjoy breathtaking views of the reconstructed historic site that overlooks the Missouri River as they learn about the daily life of military, civilian and Native American populations at Fort Osage. Also explore 4,000 square feet of museum exhibitions in the Fort Osage Education Center and a museum store with books, unique gifts and souvenirs. Fort Osage National Historic Landmark is open year-round, Tuesday through Sunday 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
by Cole Arndorfer
On Monday, June 5, the Jackson County Legislature held its twenty-second regular meeting of the year. Overall, it was a fairly standard style meeting for the legislature which included the adoption of 13 resolutions and the introduction of three new ordinances which were assigned to committees.
In resolutions, Manuel Abarca IV made a motion to adopt Resolution #21300, which recognizes June 2023 as Gun Violence Awareness Month. The motion was seconded by Jalen Anderson and adopted by unanimous vote.
Manuel Abarca IV made another motion to adopt Resolution #21301, which also recognizes June 2023 as LGBTQ+ Pride Month. The motion was, again, seconded by Jalen Anderson and adopted by unanimous vote.
A motion was made by Sean E. Smith to adopt Resolution #21266. This resolution authorizes the Prosecuting Attorney to approve an agreement with the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners for anti-drug and anti-crime programs. This resolution comes at a cost that will not exceed $3,342,311 for the county. Resolution #21266 was seconded by Venessa Huskey and it was adopted by a vote of six to three.
A resolution was also brought up regarding the nomination of candidates to be appointed to the Jackson County Sports Complex Authority. Those appointed would serve a term through July 15, 2028. Jackson County legislature Chairman DaRon McGee said that applications and resumes must be received by the County Clerk by the end of the day on June 8.
As for ordinances, three new ordinances were introduced and assigned to committee by the legislature.
Ordinance #5748 was introduced and would appropriate $32,454 from the undesignated balance of the Anti-Crime Sales Tax Fund to accept grant funds and award a contract to Grayshift, LLC to provide the county with mobile forensics equipment and software. This ordinance was assigned to the Finance and Audit Committee.
Ordinance #5749 was introduced and would appropriate $400,000 from the undesignated balance of the County Improvement Fund to provide additional project management services for the Workday implementation project. This ordinance was assigned to the Budget Committee.
Ordinance #5750 was introduced and would repeal Schedule I to Chapter 2 of Jackson County Code. This would relate to County associates not within the Merit System, and create a new schedule. This ordinance was assigned to the Budget Committee.
by Michael Smith
Flip Courter has been involved in fast pitch softball for as long as he can remember.
He’s coached, participated in, umpired, and even been a radio broadcast announcer for the sport.
“I grew up playing softball in northwest Missouri,” Courter said. “We played fast pitch and I was at a small school that didn’t have enough kids to play football. When I was playing in the mid 90s, there was probably 25 to 30 boys fast pitch teams."
“I grew up watching my brother play in the 80s.”
Now, he’s going to take another step in his career.
Courter, who transitioned to Grain Valley High School last year as a teacher and coach so he could work from the same city he lives in, will take over as head coach of the softball team after just one year as an assistant to former head coach Garrett Ogle.
Ogle stepped down as head coach to take an activities director position at Odessa Middle School. The year 2023 will be Courter’s sixth as a head coach and seven years as an assistant. He spent five years as a head coach combined at Marionville, Mercer and Crest Ridge.
His longest stop as coach was at William Chrisman, where he spent six years.
“I haven’t led a softball program in about 10 years, but I don’t think it’s changed a whole lot,” Courter said. “For Grain Valley, you would consistently pencil them in for 20 wins and some conference championships."
“We haven’t gotten over the hump to make the final four. We happen to be in a tough area for softball. But I am fortunate that the administration put their trust in me and the coaches we have assembled to lead this program.”
The veteran coach said he is a player’s coach, one that can relate to the girls on the team.
“I have a good, positive relationship with them,” Courter said. “I think we have good communication with each other because I used to play, too.”
Courter will have a challenge on his hands in Year 1 as the Eagles graduated eight seniors from a team that finished 24-8 last season. Two of the players lost to graduation include Grain Valley’s two starting pitchers – Hailey Hemme and Amanda Brown.
The Eagles will likely be depending on quite a few underclassman to contribute to the varsity team this season. Courter expects a sizable turnout for tryouts in August, which will give him plenty of options to fill the voids left by the 2022 squad.
“We’re going to be very young,” Courter said. “We are losing some pretty key contributors. We also have McKenah Sears out with a knee injury. But we get Emma Jane Ogle back this year. We are also going to get a couple of girls who didn’t play last year, that will help us out this year. We have a lot of freshmen coming in. I think about 25 have expressed interest in coming in."
“I am expecting about 40 to try out in August, the numbers will be there.”
Grain Valley head coach Flip Courter will enter his first season leading the Grain Valley softball program in 2023 after spending one year as the assistant in 2022. Top photo: File photo. Bottom photo/photo credit: Michael Smith
by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
When I am struggling for a topic, which is often, I go to the Historical Society newspaper files. This week I turned to the 25-year old articles and I opened the file to an article entitled “Age before Beauty.” The headline was in reference to choosing an old building with historical significance over a beautiful new building. The building which currently houses our museum at 506 Main was purchased 25 years ago. So, over the next few weeks I’ll be writing about our “home".
Twenty-five years ago, Paul Morganroth was president of the Grain Valley Historical Society. About three years prior, the East Broadway Development Company had given the society a lot on Broadway Street, east of Buckner Tarsney. The land included an old Sni-A-Bar silo and some members had hope to include the silo as a part of the museum. The land was valued at $10,000.
Fast forward to 1998. The same development company that had given the site on Broadway offered to take back the land and deduct $10,000 from the $70,000 purchase price of the Main Street building. John Washburn was the building chairman. Over the previous three years, the society had raised just over $16,000 for construction of a new building.
Washburn immediately raised the fundraising goal from $30,000 to $60,000 in order to pay off the building and do the necessary renovations needed to make the building usable as a museum and meeting space. Over the next few weeks, I will be telling you the history of our building since its’ inception in the early 1900s.
Before the building became the Historical Society it was Campbell’s Sho-Me Gun Shop, circa 1998. Photo credit: Grain Valley Historical Society
Paul Morganroth, Harvey Kolster and Norma Goodman check out the original tin ceiling concealed by drop tiles. Photo credit: Grain Valley Historical Society.
Jackson County Assessor announces property value information will be available online June 9th
The Jackson County, Missouri, Assessor’s Office announced today that property value assessments for both residential and commercial properties can now be accessed via a new parcel viewer function at https://jcgis.jacksongov.org/parcelviewer/, beginning on June 9th.
In addition, traditional Property Value Notices will still be mailed out and will be arriving in mailboxes by June 15th. The Assessor’s Office encourages both residential and commercial property owners to review their statements and/or online assessment information carefully and reach out to the Assessor’s Office if they feel their property has been incorrectly valued.
On average, the Assessor’s Office has observed a 30% increase in real estate property values for single-family countywide, with some properties impacted more and some less. The office states there are two reasons behind the increase:
The Assessor’s Office has implemented several changes to make the assessment process they state as transparent and equitable as possible, including:
The Assessor's Office advises the parcel-by-parcel review is still ongoing. Any property owner who feels their property has not been valued properly is encouraged to contact the Assessor’s Office and file an appeal by July 10.
The best pop for your pop!
Whether your Pop is manning the grill of just enjoying a cold beverage at the end of the day, it’s time to think outside the bottle and choose the best pop for your Pop with help from Zevia! Zevia is a great way for the whole family to rethink their drink, cut back on added sugar and extra calories all while enjoying the flavors they crave. Wondering what all the hype is about and if you should make the switch? Your Hy-Vee dietitian is here to breakdown the why behind making the switch to Zevia today!
We have all heard of added sugars and know we should be trying to cut back – but it’s easier said than done! The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that consumers aim to limit added sugars to less than 10% of their total daily calories. However, we know that currently added sugars account for almost 270 calories, which is greater than 13% of total daily calories in the U.S. population.
Sugar-sweetened beverages make up the highest percentage of where added sugars come from in the typical American diet. One easy way to cut back is by swapping your favorite carbonated beverage with Zevia soda! It’s crafted with simple, plant-based ingredients and contains zero sugar and calories, helping your Pop and the whole family maintain their health goals.
Perhaps your Pop is not a pop drinker but instead prefers tea. Tea and coffee make up 11% of where added sugars come from in our diet. Switching to Zevia Organic Tea can help reduce added sugar while still enjoying a variety of flavors of soothing black, green and Earl Grey tea!
Zevia isn’t just for drinking – did you know you can incorporate it into your Pop’s favorite recipes? Give this recipe for Slow Cooker Café Rio Sweet Pork a try and enjoy it with the whole family this Father’s Day!
Slow Cooker Café Rio Sweet Pork
All you need:
1½ lbs pork shoulder, trimmed of excess fat and cut into quarters
1 (12-oz) can Zevia Zero Calorie Cola Soda, divided
½ cup brown sugar, divided
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 (4-oz) can green chilies
1 (10-oz) can red enchilada sauce
All you do:
Tip: A great way to shred meat is using a hand mixer.
Stay accountable for your health goals this summer with help from Hy-Vee dietitians and our new Healthy You subscription. The Healthy You subscription is a monthly subscription program in which you will have access to a Hy-Vee dietitian, receive personalized nutrition advice and coaching, as well as access to virtual Hy-Vee classes and other online resources. Ready to learn more? Reach out to your local Hy-Vee dietitian today or visit: https://www.hy-vee.com/health/hy-vee-dietitians/hy-vee-healthy-you-subscription.aspx.
The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.
by Michael Smith
Grain Valley 2023 graduate Mackenzie Keller had one last high school game before she begins her career at Moberly Area Community College.
She was the lone representative of the Eagles in the Mo-Kan All-Star game Monday at the Urban Youth Academy in Kansas City.
The game featured some of the best high school softball players in the Kansas City metro area from Kansas and Missouri. Team Kansas topped Team Missouri 7-5.
Keller had a solid game as she had a hard-hit ball that was caught by a Kansas first baseman. But her highlight play came in the fourth inning when a Kansas batter got a base hit. Keller, who was in left field, gathered the ball and used a strong and accurate throw to get an outfield assist as a runner was tagged out at third after trying to retreat to the bag
Overall, Keller said she had a positive experience.
“It was a blast,” Keller said. “It was fun to see the different types of athletes out there. I was kind of nervous at first because I didn’t get to play with any of my Grain Valley teammates, but I got to have the experience and everyone was nice and welcoming.”
The game gives players the opportunity to play with others who would normally be opponents during the fall season. For Keller, she was stoked to be able to team up with Ashton Ardnt of Blue Springs.
“We used to play in little league together,” Keller said. “It was kind of fun to play with her. Everyone else was a new face to me. It was fun to play with new people.”
Keller will now move on to play for Moberly Area Community College, where she will be an outfielder and pitcher for their softball team.
“I am excited for that as well,” Keller said.
Grain Valley 2023 graduate Mackenzie Keller played in her final high school game at the Mo-Kan All-Star softball game Monday at Urban Youth Academy. She will play softball at Moberly Area Community College this fall. Photo credit: Michael Smith
Summer vacation trip season has officially started and many of us will travel during the summer months for family vacations, college visits, weddings, reunions, or a romantic getaway. Vacations can be fun, but traveling can put you and your family at risk for identity theft and credit card scams.
Fortunately, in our digital age, your smartphone can play a big role in helping protect you from the dangers of cybercrime when you travel. Want to keep you and your family safe? Check out these quick and easy tips to keep you out of the crosshairs of criminals.
Use the hotel app to unlock your room. If you're staying at a major hotel chain this summer, download their app and enable the feature that will let you store your room key on your phone. Room keys are easy to lose and steal. If a criminal steals your card and knows your room number, you are in trouble. Room keys stored on your phone are safer and give you one less thing to worry about.
Pay for everything with your smartphone. Apple Pay and Samsung Pay are two of the most secure ways to make payments. For the gas pump, you can avoid credit card skimmers designed to steal your credit card information. For shopping, your information is encrypted, meaning criminals won't be able to wirelessly steal your card information. If you don't have Apple Pay or Samsung Pay, your debit/credit card should allow you to tap to pay at most major retailers. Use it and stay safe.
Emergency apps and Road Assistance apps are a must. Emergency apps keep you alerted to the weather in your area, and road assistance apps can help you quickly identify a service provider in the area. Mishaps occur on the road, so you need to be able to contact someone if you're stranded.
Use AirTags and SmartTags to track family members. Yes, there has been a lot of negative press about AirTags and SmartTags being used to track victims by their abusers, but you can actually use this technology to track family members. Obviously keeping your eyes on family members is the best option, but if an emergency happens, a tag can help you find your loved ones quickly.
Use AirTags and SmartTags To Track Your Luggage. Lost luggage is always a risk when you're on the road, which is why you need to place an Apple AirTag or a Samsung SmartTag in your luggage. You can't control if your luggage will make it to your destination, but at least you will know where in the world it is at all times.
Turn on Find My Device to Keep Track of Your Devices. Find my device is available for every device out there which helps to keep your devices out of the hands of criminals. GPS technology means that you can find your device within 5 feet of the location of the device or the person who has stolen your device.
I hope you can use these tips to help you stay safe when you're traveling. If you need further assistance, please reach out to me with any questions you might have. I am always happy to help!
Want to ask me a tech question? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. I love technology. I've read all of the manuals and I'm serious about making technology fun and easy to use for everyone.
Grain Valley News
Grain Valley News is a free community news source published weekly online.
PO Box 2972
Grain Valley MO 64029