Trenton R-9 Board of Education approves update to current school calendar

Trenton R-9 School District

The Trenton R-9 Board of Education approved an update to this year’s school calendar and the school calendar for next school year at a meeting Tuesday evening.

The calendar updates for this school year include Trenton R-9 being in session March 15th and 18th, April 22nd, and May 17th, 20th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, and 24th.

March 18th would be an early out, and there would not be any Parent/Teacher Conferences. Director of Supportive Services Kris Ockenfels said Tuesday was the 12th weather day of the 2018-2019 school year. If there is a 13th weather day, Trenton R-9 would need to make up that day April 18th. A 14th weather day would be forgiven, as only one school day has to be made up for every two weather days after six weather days.

Trenton’s last school day is now scheduled for May 24th, and it will be an early out with Summer school scheduled to begin May 28th.

After several attempts to approve the 2019-2020 school calendar, it finally was approved on a vote of six to one with one contingent approved and another contingent tabled. Board member Cory Leeper voted no on the final vote.

The approved contingent adds five minutes to each school day at Rissler Elementary School. Rissler’s school day will be extended to 2:55 to allow enough total hours to build in weather days. Teacher contract times would not be affected, and bus times and routes would be adjusted to minimize changes.

The tabled contingent would allow district non-certified staff employed on a school day based contract to be paid for a regular day in the occurrence of a weather day that would not have to be made up due to new Department of Elementary and Secondary Education calendar requirements.

The same staff would be paid for the two hours lost for early outs and late starts due to weather. Board member Marcie Cutsinger said she wanted to get input from the community on the tabled contingent and revisit the matter later.

The first vote for the calendar only included approval of only the contingent involving extending Rissler’s school day and was rejected on a vote of three to four. Board member Brandon Gibler moved to approve the calendar with both contingents, but the motion died for lack of a second. Board member David Whitaker said he would feel better if the non-certified staff would be paid for the extra five minutes rather than paying them for days when they do not actually work.

Director of Supportive Services Kris Ockenfels mentioned paying the non-certified staff for an extra five minutes each day for the whole school year would be the equivalent of two days of school. Cutsinger said she was worried that the non-certified staff might end up being paid for not coming to work and then get paid again if some weather days had to be made up. Gibler asked the school principals what they thought about the matter. Trenton Middle School Principal Daniel Gott said it is difficult to find and employ good non-certified staff, and those staff members have been losing money during the weather days this year.

The 2019-2020 school calendar for Trenton R-9 includes 170 days. The first day is scheduled for August 14th, and the last day would be May 15th, 2020. The 2019-2020 calendar includes 1,091 hours of instruction for Rissler and 1,130 hours for middle and high schools. Up to 58 hours are built into the calendar for weather. That includes eight full days and three early outs or late starts.

Superintendent Dan Wiebers reported the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s calendar requirements for next school year say a district only has to have 1,044 hours of instruction. There is no requirement for the number of days a district may be in session.

The Salary and Welfare Committee were not able to present its recommendations to the board Tuesday evening. Wiebers said they wanted to talk with board members more before making a presentation. A special board meeting will be held the evening of February 26th at 5:30 for the Salary and Welfare Committee to share information. Then the board will vote on recommendations in March.

Athletic Director Wes Croy reported Senior Night for basketball was originally scheduled for Tuesday but has been rescheduled for Thursday against Wellington. He also reported that three male wrestlers qualified for state and will leave for competition Wednesday.