Amendments to Summer School Handbook tops discussion at Trenton Board of Education meeting

Trenton R-9 School District

The Trenton R-9 Board of Education approved the final draft of the 2018-2019 school audit on Tuesday evening.

Bob Conrad with Conrad and Higgins said the district was “in good shape.” Information presented included that the district’s retirement is 84% funded, which Conrad called “excellent” and “healthy.” The district has more than 11 hundred students, and the average daily attendance was 1,083 students.

Catapult was approved as the summer school 2020 curriculum provider. After Summer School Principal Jackie Price and Superintendent Mike Stegman proposed changes to the summer school handbook, the board voted three to three on approving the summer school handbook as presented. The no votes came from Board President Doug Franklin and board members Marcie Cutsinger and Dorothy Taul. Board members Corey Leeper, Cliff Roeder, and David Whitaker voted yes. Board Vice President Brandon Gibler was absent.

The proposed summer school handbook changes included having one morning and one-afternoon bus stop for students or students being car riders, instead of allowing parents to call the school during the day to change students’ transportation plans and trying to relay the information to students. Price noted there would be an exception for students who move.

Other proposed handbook changes included setting a specific enrollment deadline and consequences for students’ behavior. The consequences involved being sent home for the rest of a day of summer school if sent to the office and sent home for the rest of summer school after the second office referral. Price noted she could add another referral before students have to leave for the rest of the five-week program.

Approximately 330 to 340 students from Trenton and area schools attended summer school at Trenton in 2019, and there werequite a few” discipline problems. About 25 to 30 students were seen in the office with some being seen multiple times. Taul noted the district’s discipline policy is not as strict for the regular school year.

Price said the summer school classroom dynamic is different from the regular school year, students can receive a monetary reward for attending summer school, and there were more students per classroom on average (27 average).

Stegman called the summer school classrooms “overcrowded.” Price explained there would not need to be a cap for the number of students for summer school if the district is able to hire as many staff as needed, but a cap might be put into place because of construction.

After asked by Whitaker, Price admitted that some of the students seemed to only attend summer school as free child care. Approval of the summer school handbook was tabled until the next board meeting.

McKenna Cox was approved as the recipient of the Missouri School Boards Association John T. Belcher Scholarship. Stegman noted there were five applicants for the $250 scholarship, and it was a close competition. Cox will go on to compete at a regional level for a $750 scholarship.

Spokesperson Dennis Gutshall gave a construction update and said he is satisfied with the progress made in the last month. The floor has been poured for the concession stand, the blockwork has started, electrical has been installed, and the sewer was connected. About 60% of the courtyard pad has been poured for the performing arts center, electric conduits have been installed, and stormwater pipe was installed.

Gutshall noted the performing arts center is ready for precast panel installation, which is scheduled to begin January 20th. He said that during installation, a 150-foot area around the construction will have to be evacuated for two weeks from 7 o’clock in the morning to 3 o’clock in the afternoon. The area will involve about 10 classrooms, but after school activities should not be affected. Gutshall hopes to have a plan in place by Christmas Break on what to do during the precast panel installation.

Filing dates were announced for the April 7th board election. Candidates can file at the Trenton R-9 District Office weekdays from December 17th to January 21st from 8 to 4 o’clock most days. Filing during Winter Break December 23rd to January 6th will be from 8 o’clock to noon. Filing will not occur when the office is closed on December 24th, 25th, and 31st and January 1st and 20th or due to inclement weather. Candidates will have until 5 o’clock to file on January 21st. Terms expiring at the April 14th board meeting are those of Doug Franklin, Brandon Gibler, and Corey Leeper.

Trenton High School Principal Kasey Bailey presented a guidance program evaluation. He noted there was room for improvement in getting more feedback on guidance programs Trenton R-9 provides. The evaluation suggested an action step of forming a group to provide feedback and that group meeting at least twice a year. Approval of a guidance program manual is to be considered at next month’s school board meeting.

Stegman reported the sprinkler systems in the school cafeterias and kitchens all passed tests.

Trenton Middle School Principal Daniel Gott announced a geography bee will be held at the school on December 18th for fifth through eighth grades. He said the top students will go to a final round, and one student will represent TMS at the state level. Gott also introduced TMS Students of the Month.

Following an executive session on Tuesday evening regarding personnel, the Trenton R-9 Board of Education accepted letters of retirement from five instructors.

The school district reports the letters are from Success Center instructor Ron Franklin; Trenton middle school art teacher Penny Roberts; fifth-grade math instructor Mary Woodson; fifth-grade social studies teacher Karla Lowrey; and from a fourth-grade teacher, Lisa Wallace.

Substitutes approved for December were Tenna Roberts and Ashten Whitaker.

Hired as paraprofessionals beginning after the holiday break were Amanda Spears and Alexandria Neighbors.