Wright City R-II celebrates budget that includes pay increases, money for projects

By John Rohlf, Staff Writer
Posted 7/17/23

The board voted unanimously June 29 to approve the fiscal year 2024 budget.

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Wright City R-II celebrates budget that includes pay increases, money for projects


The Wright City R-II school district is expected to have more than $9 million in its capital projects fund at the end of the fiscal year 2024 after having less than $1 million in the fund a few years ago.  

The board voted unanimously June 29 to approve the fiscal year 2024 budget. The budget projects the district will have over $9.1 million in the capital projects fund at the end of fiscal year 2024. This includes the $2 million donation from American Foods Group that will go toward the high school football stadium. 

Wright City R-II Superintendent Chris Berger said the district’s wise use of the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds played a large role in building the capital projects fund balance. 

Berger also touted the money available in fund three, which is the debt service fund. 

“That money’s unrestricted and that could subsidize other projects in the future along with the equity we’ve built in fund three to potentially bring another no tax increase to our patrons sometime in the near future,” Berger said. “That’s in the cards for any district that’s growing.”

Berger added the district puts potential upcoming projects in the district’s master plan. 

“Part of building equity in fund three and coming back to our folks to go back out for other projects is in the plan and it’s inevitable for any district to grow,” Berger said. 

Wright City R-II Board of Education Secretary David Mikus asked Berger how he felt about the recent mandate from the Missouri Tax Commission that Warren County increase assessments by 8 percent

Berger said the announcement late into the budget planning process made it difficult to adjust the budget. He said this late in the game, they could not make radical adjustments to the fiscal year 2024 budget. 

“It’s going to be more important moving forward that we’re in constant communication with our assessor … We would say that because now we’re so heavily funded locally,” Berger said. “We have a good relationship with Katie (Smith) and I expect that will continue. I know that’s going to have to be better and I know we’re going to have to have two-way communication more frequently as we’re running the budget.”

Board President Austin Jones said he thinks the Hancock Amendment will temper what the 8 percent increase gives the district. 

“Our patrons don’t need to be spooked by it,” Berger said. “There are protections from any public entity getting a windfall of money.”

The budget includes a 5 percent increase for certified and non-certified staff after increasing salaries by 4 percent during the 2023 fiscal year. The 5 percent increase is projected to cost the district over $462,000. The district is allocating an additional $800 for those on year 20 or higher on the salary schedule, which is budgeted to cost $14,000. 

The budget also allocated over $508,000 in staffing increases. The cost covers the additions of two positions at East Elementary: a librarian and interventionist and assistant principal and interventionist. It also covers two positions at West Elementary: a STEM teacher and a fourth grade teacher at West Elementary. The fourth grade teacher at West Elementary was already in place in fiscal year 2023 but was not part of the initial budget. The cost will also cover the additions of an ELL position at the high school and a high school and middle school P.E. teacher. 

The district is also budgeting over $221,000 for vertical and horizontal movement, $102,700 for market value increases and $78,000 for insurance. The market value increases include impact team leaders, summer school, maintenance director, athletic stipends and counselor. 

The district is increasing pay 2 percent for high school coaches and 1 percent increase for middle school coaches to the current year’s base pay.

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