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Joplin Schools Will Not Fund Salaries of Bright Futures Employee - KOAM TV 7

Joplin Schools Will Not Fund Salaries of Bright Futures Employees

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JOPLIN, MISSOURI -

In January, Bright Futures Joplin partly separated its budget from that of the school district, hoping to be financially independent. They did, however, agree that the district would pay the salaries and benefits of 2 employees until June. That deadline is approaching and the school board discussed whether to continue funding the positions at tonight’s meeting.

They had three options, to continue funding the 2 positions, to only fund 1 position and offer the money as a loan, or to not provide funding.

Bright Futures asked that the school board continue to fund the two positions. Superintendent Norm Ridder and his office supported the second option saying it was a good compromise to keep the position up and running while allowing Bright Futures to work towards financial independence.

“The bottom line is that for Bright Futures to be able to have the effect that it needs to have, it needs to be able to stand itself so I think that's part of the intent there,” says Ridder.

The board voted 5 to 2 against providing that money, acknowledging that what the program does is great for the community, many saying they just didn’t feel comfortable providing the loan for the administration rather than the activities of the program.

They say that this not see this decision as an ending to the program.

“We just changed the way that they are going to be operating, we honored their memorandum of understanding that they provided in January that they wanted to be a separate entity. I’m happy to continue to get their support in our district because they’ve done a fabulous job getting volunteers and now they can use more volunteers,” says President of the Joplin School Board Jeff Koch.

He adds that school district will continue to provide the resources with donations given to the district, while Bright Futures will provide the labor. He says the main benefit is that Bright Futures won’t have the school district hanging over them and that they will be able to make decisions independently.

“We want to focus on our students  and this effort is going to continue but it’s not going to be the school that’s kind of a little clunky and policy driven, Bright Futures has got more leeway to be able to fill those needs,” says Koch.

Several people spoke in favor of Bright Futures at the meeting, many leaving the meeting disappointed after the vote.

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