The Trenton R-9 Board of Education heard several reports on April 13, 2021.
One report was on the At-Risk Evaluation. Trenton High School Assistant Principal John Cowling said the Trenton High School/Trenton Middle School Academic Lab has served 40 high school students and eight middle school students this academic year. Four of the high school students are pursuing college credits. The other 36 students are in the process of recovering credits or have already recovered credits. Twenty-two credits have been recovered so far.
Cowling reported 34 students have attended the Success Center this year. Twelve students will meet the requirements to graduate through credit recovery this academic year, which is an increase of seven from the previous year. Students from the Success Center have recovered 156 credits so far this year, which is up 61 from the year before. Cowling notes students earned four and a half work-study credits.
Superintendent Mike Stegman gave the Safety Report. He said the district is looking into an intruder system and a newer camera system. Each classroom could have a box to activate for the intruder system. He is to give more information when he has it.
Stegman also reported on several other items. He said Trenton R-9 has continued to wear masks in its buildings as a preventative measure and to not risk an outbreak and quarantining issues regarding COVID-19 as Missouri Assessment Program testing in May. He does think the district has been a little more lax recently than at the beginning of the year.
Board Member Bill Miller said athletes at a middle school track meet recently were not wearing masks. He wondered why students were being required to wear masks when they were being exposed to COVID-19 in other places.
After Board Member Marcie Cutsinger inquired, Stegman noted the board would not have to approve the district any longer requiring masks.
He reported administration is working to fill teaching vacancies. He noted public education is facing a shortage of available teaching staff, and the shortage has escalated by increased stresses that have come from the pandemic. Neighboring districts are experiencing a similar situation.
The district does an exit survey with staff members when they leave. That information will be shared with the board once it is complete.
Stegman commented that he did not think some of the information board members may have heard is true about staff leaving. He said some paraprofessionals leave due to extra schooling, and some come back as teachers.
Summer school is scheduled to start on May 26th. Summer school enrollment numbers are down from past years. Stegman noted that at last count, 100 students had signed up. In 2019, about 380 or 400 students signed up. He said the lower numbers would allow the district to have smaller classes and better focus on academics. Other districts will be allowed to attend Trenton’s summer school.
Stegman mentioned Trenton R-9 has three years left in a contract with Catapult, which provides the summer school curriculum and incentives.
F. R. Bailey is donating $1,000 to the district, with $500 to go to each library. Stegman said Bailey started Bailey Photography in Chillicothe, and the business was sold. Bailey wanted to make the donation because he spent time taking pictures for the district, and wanted to give back.
Stegman said an open enrollment window for health and other Missouri Educators Trust Insurance Group offerings will be April 26th through May 7th. Gwendy Foreman with Hartford will explain the voluntary MET plans available to staff at the performing arts center on April 28th at 3:30 in the afternoon. The meeting is not mandatory, but Stegman hopes there is good participation.
A Missouri School Boards Association Regional Meeting will be in Bethany on April 22nd at 6 o’clock in the evening. Trenton board members were encouraged to attend. Board President Dorothy Taul said if six or more representatives attend for Trenton, the district will have a chance to win a $250 scholarship for a senior.
S. M. Rissler Elementary School students and staff helped present the school’s new mission statement to the board.
The Trenton R-9 Board of Education on April 13th approved health insurance choices for the 2021-2022 school year. The district will remain with the Missouri Educators Trust Insurance Group brokered by Gallagher Benefit Services, Incorporated.
Plan 12 will be provided to all full-time employees. The district’s $602 contribution per month per employee will cover the plan, which costs $557.78. Superintendent Mike Stegman reported that employees who qualify can put the remaining $44.22 into a health savings account.
Employees can buy up to PPO plans 8 or 3. PPO Plan 8 costs $667.72 per month, so the employee would pay $65.62 per month. PPO Plan 3 costs $772.17 per month, so the employee would pay $107.17. Those were the same plans as are currently offered.
Superintendent Mike Stegman noted there was a 3.2% increase in premiums, which he called a “moderate increase.” That means a $23 increase for Plan 12, $27.53 increase for PPO Plan 8, and a $31.83 increase for PPO Plan 3.
The district will stay at MET rates plus 12%, as Trenton R-9 was for 2020-2021. The goal is to be blended into the normal MET rate schedule. However, that cannot be done after only one year. Stegman said being in a cooperative helps keep the rates low.
The district’s usage after six months was running at 90% usage to premium.
Trenton Teachers Association President Charley Crimi said she received some comments from staff concerned about the increase in premium. She noted Plan 12 is basically catastrophic coverage.
The board-certified election results, the oath of office was administered to new members Bill Miller and Melissa King, and the board reorganized before approving other agenda items.
The board voted to keep Dorothy Taul as president and Brandon Gibler as vice president. The board also voted for Marcie Cutsinger to be treasurer and Susan Leeper to remain secretary. Board Member Corey Leeper abstained from the vote involving Susan Leeper. Taul will remain the Missouri School Boards Association delegate, and Gibler will stay as the alternate delegate.
An assistant instrumental music director position was approved as a Tier 4 extra duty position at $2,250. High School Principal Kasey Bailey reported the assistant could help with morning band practice and Saturday competitions.
Cutsinger said she thought the position was a “long time coming” and that it was needed a few years ago.
Corey Leeper said he was surprised Trenton R-9 didn’t have an assistant instrumental music director in the past. He agreed that the position was needed.
After Gibler inquired, Bailey said other school districts the size of Trenton had a position like this.
GEC grant applications were approved. One was from Sixth Grade English Instructor Kim Foster for $991.82 for books and other supplies for her classroom. Another was from Trenton Middle School Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America Sponsor/Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher Joy Bettis for $725.94 for cooking supplies. Third Grade Teacher Marcie Stegman’s grant application was for $943 for manipulatives to teach phonics skills.
The board scheduled a retreat in the BTC Bank Conference Room on April 19th from 6 to 9 o’clock in the evening. Stegman said no action would be taken at the meeting, and the only discussion would take place. Food would be provided. A virtual live presentation from the MSBA is scheduled for 6:30.
After some discussion, a few board members said they did not think they could attend at that time. Gibler suggested keeping the board retreat Monday, but changing the date it if there was another date where more members could attend.
The board entered into a closed session for personnel and student matters.