Trenton Board of Education reviews scholarships, contracts and discusses future plans

Trenton R-9 School District
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At the Trenton R-9 Board of Education meeting on May 15, Superintendent Daniel Gott reported on the scholarship money awarded to Trenton High School seniors recently.

He said $77,239 was awarded to seniors in external scholarships and $87,874 in institutional scholarships. Additionally, $278,640 was awarded to students who qualified for the A+ Program and plan to attend an A+ school. Gott said that amount represents the value of a two-year education at a community college for all seniors who will use A+.

Gott noted the information was provided by Root Ed and congratulated the recipients, thanking the donors.

He also reported that the district provides an 18-month Missouri Retired Teachers Association membership for its retirees, including both certified and non-certified employees. An open house for retirees will follow a staff meeting on May 17 in the THS Commons at about 2:45 p.m.

Toward the start of the meeting, the board recognized employees who will retire at the end of this school year: Tammy Ockenfels, Dana Creason, Sonci Jones, Tamara Leafgreen, Tyann Cox, Bart Boyd, Tonya Patridge, and Muriel Moyers.

Rissler Elementary School Principal Susan Gott presented the Title Program Evaluation, reporting that 129 students are served in kindergarten through fourth grade. Program goals include raising achievement in math and reading skills, promoting positive attitudes toward these subjects, and providing successful experiences in reading, writing, and math. Other goals are building self-esteem and confidence, enabling parents to be partners in reading and math, providing quality materials in the classroom and at home, and maintaining highly trained teachers and support staff. The Title 1 budget is $451,559, Title 2 budget is $66,171, and Title 4 budget is $53,979.

She also presented her principal’s report for Rissler, noting many recent events, although some park events were missed due to rain.

Trenton Middle School Principal Mike Hostetter reported that Missouri Assessment Program testing is completed, with a MAP representative observing the testing. The representative noted that TMS would have received an 11+ on a scale of one to 10.

THS Principal Chris Hodge reported that the average daily attendance had been corrected, with monthly percentages increasing. As of May 15, the May ADA for THS was 94.44%. He also reported that Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America Sponsor Jaya Lloyd was selected for the National Spirit of Advising Award for Missouri. THS has completed End of Course testing.

Director of Academics Dr. Johannah Baugher reported that the curriculum was recently finalized for several subjects across different grade levels. The 2024-2025 Mentoring Program schedule was also finalized, with the addition of Year 4 and a total of 17 program participants. A partnership with I Am Noticed, LLC has been finalized to provide professional learning opportunities within the Mentoring Program through two, three-hour workshops.

Baugher also reported that Rissler staff members are invited to a two-hour small group literacy instruction workshop on May 20. This is the final component for launching the preschool through fourth-grade literacy framework for next school year. Plans for next school year’s convocation and in-service are underway, with new staff orientation scheduled for August 14 and district convocation on August 15. A preschool through 12th-grade paraprofessional training is scheduled for August 19 and will be in-house.

The board approved a perimeters resolution, insurance contract, and bond issue contract related to the $3.5 million bond issue approved by voters in April. The perimeters resolution authorizes Stifel to go to market on May 21 and sell bonds, setting parameters for the investment firm to meet. Dr. Brent Blevins from Stifel reported that a rating call with the district was held last week for the underlying rating through Standard and Poor’s. While results were not expected until May 16, Blevins anticipated that Trenton R-9 would receive an A+ stable rating, placing it in the top 25 in the state. He noted that this would significantly benefit the district.

Blevins mentioned that the market has been stable recently, and he anticipates good pricing. Closing is scheduled for June 11, and there might be an extra $40,000 to $50,000 that could go into construction. The bonds will have a 10-year call, which could save the district additional money in 10 years.

The insurance contract is with Veregy and involves the roofs at the schools. The bond issue contract, also with Veregy, involves HVAC and phone systems.

Superintendent Gott reported that two bids were received for doors, but the company that submitted the best option could not do the work until next year. As a result, the doors were removed from Veregy’s scope of work, and Trenton R-9 will have to go out to bid again on the doors.

The board approved a bid for speech therapy from Inspeech at $70 per hour, one of three bids received. Gott reported that the district had been working with Dot Com Therapy, now Huddle, whose bid was submitted. The person the district had been working with through that company has now joined Inspeech, and the rate is less than what the district has been paying.

The board approved an occupational therapy contract with the Terwilleger Therapy Team for $65 per hour for direct OT services. Board Member Dorothy Taul abstained from the vote. The other bid, from Wright Memorial Hospital, was for $80 per hour. Gott noted that while the district had no problems working with Wright Memorial, it would be financially better to switch to Terwilleger, which has received good reviews.

The board approved an orientation and mobility contract with Jessica Hall for $125 per hour. Gott noted that Hall works with visually-impaired students and has done a great job.

A contract with NLS Education was approved for $85 per hour for professional services, mostly involving Braille training for students.

The board approved changing the current behavioral support aide and focus room position to a certified behavioral specialist position. Gott reported that Trenton R-9 has sent two students to the KVC Academy of Cameron for behavioral support, but KVC is closing. The district will save about $76,000 with the closing, but Gott felt it necessary to have a plan for those students returning to the district. Support will be needed for students currently enrolled and those at Rissler Elementary School who require behavior intervention. A special room will be designated at Rissler for these students.

The board approved Baseball Coach David Shockley applying for an MFA Incorporated Charitable Foundation Grant for $2,000. Board Member Andy Burress abstained. The grant money would allow Shockley to buy 20 to 25 team bags. It is a non-matching grant.

Approval was given to Art Teacher Lori Duff applying for a GEC Community Foundation, Incorporated Grant for $1,000. The funds would allow her to buy materials for her Art 2, Art 3, and Ceramics classes.

The Professional Development Plan for 2024-2025 was approved. Dr. Baugher reported that the plan complies with the existing Comprehensive School Improvement Plan.

The board approved a Missouri School Boards Association update involving the use of AI for students and faculty.

Gott inquired if the board would consider having only one meeting in June instead of two. Typically, there is an extra meeting for budget matters in June, and the board does not generally meet in July. However, if there were only one meeting next month, June 27 would be best, near the end of the fiscal year. The budget meeting is usually in the morning, but if there is only one meeting, an evening meeting might be better. It was decided to have the next meeting on June 27 at 5:30 p.m.

The board entered into a closed session for personnel.

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