Princeton Board of Education approves football coop with Cainsville

2023 Princeton R-V or (R-5) School District website
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The Princeton R-5 Board of Education on May 13 approved an increase in insurance premiums for the next school year.

The base PPO plan will cost $708.58, reflecting a 17% increase from the previous year. The cost will be fully covered by the district.

The base HSA plan will cost $602.74. The district will contribute an additional $105.84 to each employee’s HSA account.

The board approved participation in the Career Ladder Program for the next school year. The program provides salary supplements for teaching staff, compensating them for additional responsibilities and voluntary efforts that are not already compensated.

The Career Ladder Program operates as a matching fund initiative with up to 60% of the additional salary supplements funded by state grants. The remaining 40% and any related benefit costs are covered by local revenue sources. The grant is subject to annual appropriation.

The board approved a proposal by Quality Network Solutions to maintain the district’s networks, computer hardware, software, and firewalls. The three-year agreement will start on July 1 with an annual fee of $27,832.

Princeton R-5 previously shared a technology director with three other districts. However, the district decided to seek additional resources to address its technology needs because of the increase in devices and network complexities.

The district will continue to employ part-time on-site support, including Kami Stark and Rob Koon.

The board approved an invitation for Cainsville to participate in seventh through 12th-grade football through a cooperative agreement with the Missouri State High School Activities Association. Princeton previously had a coop with North Mercer and, more recently, with the addition of Newtown-Harris.

High school football coops are permitted with a maximum of three schools, provided the total enrollment for ninth through 11th grades remains less than 150 students.

Participation from Mercer has declined in recent years, and only two students participated last year. Upon reviewing next year’s anticipated participation numbers, it was discovered Mercer would not send any athletes.

With that information, the athletic director contacted Cainsville. Cainsville indicated it has several students interested in playing. The coop agreement is valid for one year.

The existing coop agreement with Mercer will expire this school year.

The board reviewed a recommendation from school administrators to implement a process for random drug testing of students. The Princeton School District reports it is committed to deterring and preventing student drug use with the recent legalization of marijuana and the continued rise of drug use and abuse among youth.

Under the proposed program, students in seventh through 12th grades would be required to consent to random drug screenings as a condition for participating in all extracurricular activities. Students who test positive for drugs or violate the screening process may face suspension or exclusion from those activities.

The sanctions in the proposed policy focus solely on limiting opportunities for participation in extracurricular activities. Any violations of the district’s discipline policy regarding drugs and alcohol will be subject to consequences as outlined in the policy.

The board will review additional information at the June 10 meeting to discuss and assess the proposed drug testing program. Community input is encouraged during the evaluation period, and everyone is invited to provide feedback to board members or administration.

Princeton R-5 reports several neighboring districts already have established testing programs in place, including South Harrison, Milan, Brookfield, King City, Putnam County, Green City, Stanberry, Worth County, and Albany.

During public participation, a community member expressed gratitude for Princeton R-5’s efforts in recognizing and appreciating school bus drivers. A concern was shared about student safety, specifically regarding interactions between student vehicles and school buses in the afternoon.

It was announced the last day of school will be May 17, and it will be an early out at 12:30 p.m.

A special board meeting regarding the budget is planned for June 25 at 5:30 p.m. There will not be a July board meeting.

After a closed session, it was announced the board approved an extra duty assignment for Dr. Meridith Ussery as the district special education director and junior high and high school special education supervisor. An extra duty assignment was also approved for Lori Puls as the elementary school special education supervisor.

The board approved all non-certified staff for the next school year.

Resignations were accepted for Assistant Football Coach Scott Ussery and Junior High School Girls Basketball Coach Derek Power.

The retirement was accepted of Cook Meri Power.

The board approved hiring Tammy Schwartzkopf as the Parents as Teachers coordinator and Ranae Shahan as the extra duty prom coordinator.

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