Discussion over financial reports was the major focus of the last Neosho Board of Education meeting in 2017 as the board met in regular session on Tuesday at the district administration building.

Discussion over financial reports was the major focus of the last Neosho Board of Education meeting in 2017 as the board met in regular session on Tuesday at the district administration building.
Members Steve Douglas, Board President, along with members Brett Day, Jonathon Russell, Kim Wood and Stuart Puckett were present. Dan Haskins was present via a computer video and microphone hookup. Member Keri Collinsworth was absent.
The board approved the agenda as well as the consent agenda, which included a new vendor list, 2017 policies and procedures, employment matters, and more.
One item, the approval of an audit, was included but Douglas said, "I'm hesitant to vote on something I haven't yet seen. We will discuss it later."
December recognitions were made for the Student of the Month, Employees of the Month, and Patron of the month. Grayson Crane was named Student of the Month. Crane is the son of Amy and Garrett Crane. He is a preschool student at the Field Early Education Center in Neosho. Neosho Superintendent Dan Decker read a statement from Cranes's teacher, nominating him for the honor. "He's a fun little guy to have in class. He looks for ways to help his teacher and others. Grayson would like to be a teacher when he grows up. Congratulations, Grayson."
Tamie Williams, librarian at George Washington Carver Elementary, was named the December Certified Employee of the month. Custodian Lyndell "Lucky" Ulmer, who formerly served at Goodman Elementary School and is now at Neosho High School, was honored as the Classified Employee of the Month. Decker said Ulmer is known for giving a hand when it's needed.
The December Patron of the Month is Walgreen's of Neosho. Manager Kevin Foote was present to receive the honor,
In other action, the board named Brenton Cole, Neosho, as the nominee for the MSBA Future Builders Belcher Scholarship.
The board also heard a request for a new art position.
"We talked about this at the work session," Decker stated. "Due to the number of students at Neosho Middle School, it was decided to add an art position for the second half of the school year."
Douglas responded by telling board members, "The recommendation says nothing about benefits or the amount of compensation."
Middle School principal Charity Williams told the board.
"We have been trying to look for alternative plans,” Williams said.  
She explained that if students opt out of band classes, there are few alternatives because current art classes are full. Students new to the district face the same dilemma. She stated that the new art position would be for a half-time art teacher who would serve at Central, since one of the current art teachers divides time between the two schools.
Another request to approve a social worker position also was on the agenda.
Consideration of whether or not to approve the two positions led to a discussion about financials.
Douglas stated, "I will vote 'no' because we have had no financials for several months. We have these hot spots that come up and we're fighting fires."
Douglas also stated a need for planning ahead.
The superintendent responded, "We were told last spring we would not hire (for) any new positions, that we have a (hiring) freeze on. We do have planning. The only time we bring it to you is when it affects student safety and student needs."
"You're missing the point of the need," Douglas replied. "I put out to the media that there would be financials this month. And there aren't. That was my word I gave. It's nothing to do with need. We have to get our house together, financially speaking."
Russell said, "I understand what's going on with the financials. We need to get them in order. I feel like as a board member. It's irresponsible to vote for a position with no dollar amount."
"I want to do what's best for kids," Douglas said. "And what's good for kids is to have solid financials."
A motion was made to table the employment positions for further discussion.
Although the agenda called for financial information along with cash flow and investment reports, there were none due to the illness of the accountant.
After requesting that members email any input for the January, the meeting adjourned and members went into closed session.
The next regular meeting of the Neosho School Board will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2018. Board meetings are normally the third Monday of each month. The change is due to Martin Luther King's birthday holiday.