Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Joplin R-8 Board caps graphic designer costs at $12,000

How important is a graphic designer to the Joplin R-8 School District?

Director of Communications Kelli Price told the board tonight that for the lack of a graphic designer, a high school student handbook has been delayed.

That did not sit well with board member Chris Sloan, who noted that an e-mail had been sent out that indicated the handbooks were not ready "as a result of staffing changes," a direct reference to the board's decision to remove the graphic designer position from this year's budget.

"You had all summer long to get that going. That ball falls in your court."

Price defended by herself, not only by citing not having a graphic designer, but also said the high school did not get changes to her on time.

The showdown over student handbooks came as Price brought the scaled down version of the request to hire a graphic designer that was narrowly rejected by the board at its August 9 meeting.

The original proposal was $50 an hour with a cap of $18,000, the amount the district budgeted for graphic design work. The graphic designer who submitted that bid was Christina Williams, the same designer whose position was eliminated during the budget cut.

Board members asked Price to return with a new proposal. Williams agreed to cut her cost per hour to $45, with the cost capped at $16,200.

During discussion, some of the same points from two weeks ago were raised, including board membe Debbie Fort's displeasure with paying a graphic designer more than twice what a classroom teacher makes per hour.

"We're not employing a teacher; we're employing a graphic design artist," board member Sharrock Dermott countered. "This appears to be the going rate."

Fort also noted she had heard from graphic designers who never heard the job was being bid and would have liked to have had the opportunity to bid on it.

Board member Lori Musser had a different problem. "I need to address the elephant in the room.This is a person whose position we have eliminated and now we're trying to bring this person back."

Price explained the bidding process, saying she had contacted three different advertising agencies and had asked the Joplin Advertising Federation.

CFO Paul Barr gave an impassioned defense of the way Price had handled the situation, saying she did things according to policy. It was noted that the only reason the matter was being brought to the board was because it has to make the decision on purchases and contracts totaling more than $15,000.

If the cost had been below that amount, since the money was already in the budget, Price could have hired Williams without having to go through the board.

Price said, "We know we need this service so we can be effective in our communication." The $63,000 a year communications director repeated her assessment from August 9 that she did not have the skill set to do what a professional graphic designer does.

Dermott said, "I congratulate her on her transparency."

Sloan amended Lynda Banwart's motion to accept the latest Price proposal to further reduce the cap on the graphic designer's services from $16,200 TO $12,000.

The amendment passed by a 4-3 vote, with Sloan, Musser, Board President Jeff Koch, and Jennifer Martucci voting in favor and Dermott, Banwart, and Fort casting "no" votes.


Anonymous said...

That face you make when you really want to spend other people's money, but restricted because it's other people's money.

Anonymous said...

I graduated 17 years ago from a nearby school and ours were basically copied sheets inside a yearly calendar/planner. The kids need rules, not a book to be sent to press. Type them out, spit it out of a copy machine, staple, and distribute.

Anonymous said...

Bad hair day.

shannbecker said...

But it's a new world and new media requires new skills. You know these kids only use their computers in class to submit their homework assignments? Teachers and staff are saving tons of money on ink and printing. I have had 2 graduate and 1 still at JHS since the tornado. A graphic designer is someone who knows how to communicate to a new generation. Sadly the board members sound like old dinosaurs in their comments. I am glad Mrs Price didn't use a memeograh (sp?) with purple ink that smells so good! Haha

Anonymous said...

Take the money out of Price's way overblown salary. For what she is making she should be doing the graphics. If nothing else let the students do the graphics. Learn a skill that can be used by the "new generation".

Anonymous said...

What is astounding is how Sloan spoke to just about everyone last night. Fort too. Thank goodness those boy scouts left before Barlass spoke and Price presented, because Sloan was a hideous example of "respect for others". Let alone a minister?! No matter how ardently you oppose something, there's a way to ask questions (even disagree with others!) and get your point across respectfully. This is not the way to do it.

Anonymous said...

Shocked no one pulled out the "bully card" on Sloan for speaking to a woman with such "aggression". Oh Lord, I'm triggered. No, I guess that is only reserved for when Fort or Martucci are questioned by males.

Anonymous said...

isnt there a class that teaches this type of function that could take these projects on as part of their curriculum? Then they could get more hands on experience---also it could be integrated into the photography and yearbook classes? OR DO THOSE CLASSES EVEN EXIST ANYMORE?

Anonymous said...

Nice using "they didn't have thier stuff done" card. And then throwing them under the bus. Yeah, if I'm a board member and tax payer, I'm not happy. Thank you Chris for standing up for that. As well as Lori and Deb for trying to keep Price from hiring her buddy.