Trenton Board of Education denies request for waiver regarding student walkout

Trenton R-9 School District

The Trenton R-9 Board of Education Tuesday evening denied a request for a waiver from student conduct policy.

The board unanimously denied Trenton High School student Emma Gilham’s request for a waiver from Board Policy JFC in regard to a student walkout planned this Wednesday morning. Gilham told the board the walkout was to urge Missouri and national lawmakers to take action on gun violence. She noted she and several students planned to leave their classrooms at 10 o’clock, go to the school courtyard for 17 minutes, and then return to class.

Gilham also said she and several students have contacted legislators about taking action on gun violence and encouraged other students to also contact legislators. Board member Dorothy Taul said she originally thought the student walkout was a “good deal”, but she received many calls asking her to vote no on the waiver request. Taul said she thought those who lost their lives in a shooting at a high school in Florida could be honored with a moment of silence in Trenton R-9 classrooms instead of a walkout.

Board member Brandon Gibler said he voted no because he believed the school should remain politically neutral. Superintendent Dan Wiebers said he was glad Gilham had brought the walkout to his attention. He added that he wants to keep the students safe.

Board president Doug Franklin said students who leave class would be told to return to class, the superintendent would be notified, and when students returned to class, they would receive two times the amount of time out of class in in-school suspension as a punishment.

Gilham suggested the board policy on student conduct be added in the student handbook for next school year.

The board approved salaries for certified and non-certified staff as well as the district secretary and district bookkeeper for next school year. Five hundred dollars will be added to the base certified staff schedule, and $50 will be added to each column from masters to the right which will make the base salary $31,700. Non-certified staff will receive a 50 cents per hour raise.

Superintendent Wiebers said these raises, as well as a two percent increase in health insurance costs and administrator, raises set at the February board meeting will cost the district $210,015.92.

New employees to the district who fill the district financial secretary or district secretary positions will be placed on a special salary schedule. These employees will be paid according to the first step of the first column of the certified teacher salary, which is $31,700. The employees will follow column one of the salary schedule for 15 years, and then they will receive a three percent increase for each year beyond that unless salaries are frozen.

Board member Brooke McAtee voted no on the district secretary and bookkeeper salary schedule, and board member Corey Leeper abstained.

The board approved the addition of a fifth first-grade teacher for next school year. Rissler Elementary School principal Jennie Boon reported the cost to the district would be $44,079. She added that a classroom is already available to use. There are currently 87 students enrolled in this year’s kindergarten class.

Superintendent Dan Wiebers announced four days Trenton R-9 classes will be in session to make up for weather days on January 11th as well as February 7th, 20th, and 22nd. Students and staff will attend school April 3rd as well as May 16th through 18th. Wiebers said May 18th will be an early out.

The board approved nominating board member Dorothy Taul to serve on the Missouri School Boards Association Board of Directors. Taul abstained from the vote.

Four Missouri School Boards Association policies and two procedures were approved.

The MSBA recommended one more procedure and two forms, but Wiebers said district administration did not support approving them. Wiebers informed the board that the MSBA Spring Regional Meeting will be held in Milan April 25th. The district will register any Trenton R-9 board members interested in attending.

The board approved recognizing a Teacher of the Year to be entered into the Regional Teacher of the Year program. Wiebers said a teacher, career technical educator, counselor, or library media specialist from the preschool, Rissler Elementary, the middle school, and the high school would be selected to be considered as the district’s nominee.

The nominees would need to complete the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Regional Teacher of the Year. The board would then read the applications and select the district’s nominee. Wiebers said nominees cannot be nominated more than one year in a row, and the district Teachers of the Year cannot be nominated again. Board member Brooke McAtee said she would like to see district employees outside of the certified staff get recognized.

Rissler principal Jennie Boon and assistant principal Kayli Burrell gave a presentation on dyslexia. They reported all kindergarten through third-grade students will be screened as well as struggling readers in fourth through 12th grade and English language learners.

Board member Dorothy Taul suggested that the principals make a list of fundraisers the schools do and present that information to the board.

Trenton Middle School principal Daniel Gott recognized the March Fairness Students of the Month.