The Trenton R-9 Board of Education reorganized the evening of Tuesday, June 9, 2020, after certifying the results of the June 2nd election, and incoming board members receiving the oath of office. Board Secretary Susan Leeper administered the oath of office to Andy Burress and incumbent Corey Leeper. Incumbent Brandon Gibler was absent.
With Gibler and former Board President Doug Franklin both absent, Cliff Roeder ran the meeting until a new president was elected.
Dorothy Taul was elected as president, and Gibler was elected as vice president. Others elected were Cliff Roeder as treasurer, Susan Leeper as secretary, Taul as a Missouri School Boards Association delegate, and Gibler as a MSBA delegate alternate.
The board approved bids for fuel and dairy. Trenton MFA was the only bid to be Trenton R-9’s fuel supplier for 2020-2021. It included three amounts: $1.17, $1.31, and $1.28. Burress abstained from the vote on fuel.
Anderson Erickson was approved for dairy. It was the lowest of two overall. The other bid was from Central Dairy. AE’s bid includes 25.5 cents for skim milk, 26.1 cents for 1% milk, 27.3 cents for chocolate milk, and $9.25 for cottage cheese.
The board approved handbooks for the high school, middle school, Rissler Elementary School, and preschool. Changes for the THS handbook included updates to parking discipline, the food policy, and opting out of finals.
Changes for the TMS handbook included updating the name of the activities director from Wes Croy to John Cowling and the 2020-2021 school calendar.
For Rissler, standards-referenced grading will be used for English Language Arts only. Some changes involved arrival and dismissal procedures and visitors.
Changes for the preschool handbook included updating staff information.
A Plus Program, Activities Program, and technology evaluations were presented. THS Assistant Principal John Cowling said the state waived the End of Course requirement for math for A Plus students and cut tutoring hours for seniors this year only.
Corey Leeper asked if A Plus students would get credit for the days they were not in school. THS Principal Kasey Bailey said the district gave students credit for the days they were not in class to benefit the students.
Athletic Director Wes Croy reported the numbers are stable for athletics and activity participation at the high school and middle school. Taul thanked Croy for his work as athletic director, since the evening of Tuesday, June 9th was his last board meeting in that position.
Director of Supportive Services Kris Ockenfels reported that beginning August 1st, Trenton R-9 will use Mid-States Services for all of its internet needs. It is currently using MOREnet and Mid-States. Ockenfels noted the district is getting ready to upgrade 1,000 iPads for students and staff.
Board Member David Whitaker asked if Chromebooks had ever been considered. Ockenfels said a pilot program was held in the past with Chromebooks, but teachers wanted iPads. He noted the district does have Chromebooks. He added that he believed the district could make any technology effective.
Whitaker commented he did not think the district was effective with technology when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. He had seen that other area districts were using Chromebooks.
TMS Principal Daniel Gott said he thought problems with technology during the pandemic were mainly because the iPads were outdated, and that is why it is important to get new ones.
Taul acknowledged there were problems with technology, but Trenton was not the only district that had problems.
Ockenfels also presented information on summer maintenance projects. They include a special education office remodel at Rissler, bus barn HVAC, middle school and high school gym floors, carpet in the Music Building, concession stand concrete, Brown Memorial Bench at Rissler, Rissler playground border, and the courtyard at the high school and landscaping and chip paths following construction. Ockenfels noted the a new discus ring is a multi-phase project involving donations and memorials.
A tour of construction at the THS/TMS campus was held at the beginning of the meeting.
THS Principal Kasey Bailey talked about graduation. He said he will send seniors an email with a link where they can download the ceremony’s video stream that was originally aired Saturday, June 6th.
No preliminary budget was presented at the Trenton R-9 Board of Education meeting the evening of Tuesday, June 9th. Superintendent Mike Stegman reported that was because things are “fluid” due to the pandemic.
The district has used more than $297,000 in COVID-19 funds. Trenton R-9 has purchased things including cleaning supplies and masks.
The county also has some COVID-19-related funds, and the district plans to apply for some.
Stegman noted the budget is heavily staff-oriented, but the he does not think the district is in a position to have to make cuts at this time. He thinks the district will be okay in the short-term, but he is unsure about the long-term.
Board Member Cliff Roeder commented the district should not be afraid to make budget cuts. He wants the district to be proactive.
Board Member David Whitaker said people come to the board for money, and the district needs to be as efficient as possible. The number one priority should be education and students. He noted that cuts are happening at the state level. He added that the district has good reserves, but that could change quickly.
The final June board meeting will be held the morning of June 26th at 7:30. The purpose of the meeting is to close out the 2019-2020 budget, approve the 2020-2021 budget, and approve final bills.
No meeting will have to be held in July because the board gave permission for bills to be paid.
Stegman said the district needs to have a conversation about what school opening will look like. School is scheduled to begin August 24th. Whitaker commented he was not sure some students would be ready to move on to the next grade when school is scheduled to resume. Stegman said the district is figuring out how to make up for time lost.
Some colleges have moved up their start date, so the semester ends at Thanksgiving. Stegman has not heard much about schools doing that at the kindergarten through 12th grade level.
The district has filed an Alternative Methods of Instruction Plan with the state. Stegman called it a “work in progress.” He noted the district had to file a waiver for days off due to the pandemic.
Stegman discussed health insurance. He said the board previously voted to provide employees with Plan 12 through the Missouri Educators Trust Insurance Group for about $535 and allow employees to buy up, with the district paying a maximum of $602.
It was determined employees could not take the extra money to go towards dental and vision, but it could be put into a Health Savings Account. However, an employee cannot have a HSA with a flex plan. Stegman explained the district’s health insurance will start July 1st, and the flex plan starts January 1st.
He said staff members should take Plan 12 and get a HSA if they qualify or take Plan 12 and buy up to $602.
The Trenton R-9 Board of Education took action on personnel during a closed session the night of Tuesday, June 9th.
Robert Deaver was hired as a Trenton High School science teacher for next school year.
Multiple coaches and sponsors were employed for 2020-2021. They included Kayce Terhune as girls wrestling coach; Travis Mullenix for boys golf; Joel Hultman, boys baseball and Corbin Coe as assistant for boys baseball; Dave Sager, boys tennis; Chris Parks, girls track; and Dave Burkeybile, mascot sponsor. For the middle school, Luke Lewis as football assistant; Amanda King, girls track; Jon Guthrie, boys track and summer weights; Shanin Parks girls and boys track assistant; and Sheridan Mounce, cheer coach. For the high school, Brenda Thorne for student council; Kayce Terhune, color guard; Amos Dickson, freshman class sponsor; and Amber Sprague and Tristan Dugan, Rissler yearbook sponsors.