While tackling busy agenda, Trenton R-9 Board of Education hears concerns regarding Kids Wrestling Club

Trenton R-9 School District

The Trenton R-9 Board of Education were provided with information on various topics the evening of February 9th.

Spring parent-teacher Conferences are scheduled for March 11th. School will be dismissed early that day, and the conferences will be held virtually. There will be no school March 12th or 15th.

Superintendent Mike Stegman reported the dates of the conferences could change if the district needed to add hours somewhere to make up for snow days. He noted virtual conferences were held in the fall and were successful.

Stegman commended Director of Supportive Services Kris Ockenfels for dealing with adverse weather decisions. Stegman said the district watches the weather for a week out, and he knows Friday is expected to be very cold.

Lyn McAtee and Ben Thomas from the Trenton Kids Wrestling Club spoke about their program not being allowed into Trenton R-9 buildings during the pandemic. Ockenfels noted other outside groups were also turned away.

Thomas said he was angry that the season was canceled, and members were not able to participate. The club allows participants to wrestle for free.

McAtee said the wrestling club wants to maintain its partnership with the school district. He noted the club has given back money to the school and most of the children who participate in the club are from the district.

McAtee mentioned the club was not able to hold its tournament this year.

He said the wrestling mats for the district were falling apart and hard to clean. He would be willing to help the district get new mats.

Board Member David Whitaker said he had no problem with the club coming when the school wrestling is done for the season. Board President Dorothy Taul noted she thought the board previously made the decision to not allow outside groups into district buildings to ensure safety and follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

Stegman explained alternative methods of instruction days. He said AMI days have not been held every time there has been inclement weather because there is a limit of 36 hours or five school days that can be used for AMI for inclement weather. The district has already used three. It is required the district have 1,044 hours of instruction per year. If Trenton R-9 used three more days for AMI, it would have to make up about one and a half hours of school, which Stegman said could be done on a day originally scheduled as an early out.

He reported Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief 1 funds came about a year ago to help pay teaching salaries when the district was not in school due to the pandemic and recover from a state funding cut. They were also used toward COVID-19 supplies and technology.

The district could receive $1.1 million in ESSER 2 funds. The funds could be used to pay off iPads or for HVAC work. The funds have go to toward COVID-19-related expenses.

The Missouri Educators Trust Insurance Group will offer a free biometric screening at Rissler and the Trenton Middle School/High School Media Center March 11th. About 100 staff members have registered.

Stegman said he wanted to have a board retreat or meet with board members individually. It was decided to hold off on having a retreat until new members take office.

Seven candidates filed for two positions: Emily Lasley, Melissa King, Bill Miller, Michael Voorhies, Joshua Shuler, Jeffrey Spencer, and Shaun McCullough.

Election day will be April 6th. New board members will be sworn in at the April 13th meeting.

Trenton High School Principal Kasey Bailey gave the Vocational Report. He noted 87 students were enrolled in the first semester for Ag Sciences, 78 for Family and Consumer Sciences, and 85 for Business. For the second semester, 92 students were enrolled in Ag Sciences, 84 in FACS, and 80 in Business.

The Trenton R-9 Board of Education the evening of February 9th voted to make non-certified staff essential workers, adopted the 2021-2022 school calendar, and heard a presentation regarding salary and welfare.

The board voted to make non-certified staff essential on a split vote of six to one. Board Member Marcie Cutsinger voted no.

Certified staff were made essential at last month’s meeting. Superintendent Mike Stegman reported this means that if staff members are on COVID-19 close contact lists, they would still be quarantined but could come to work if they were asymptomatic.

Board Member David Whitaker and Stegman said they believe all district employees are essential.

Cutsinger expressed concern for having staff members, such as paraprofessionals, being with their children if the children have COVID-19 and then being around developmentally disabled children.

Board Vice President Brandon Gibler said he thought each staff member on a close contact list should be considered on a case by case basis.

The first day of school for the 2021-2022 school year for students is scheduled for August 24th. That will be after new staff orientation August 16th, an all-staff workday August 17th, and professional development days August 18th and 19th. The last day of school is scheduled to be an early out May 18th, 2022.

The 2021-2022 school year includes 170 student days, 175 teacher contract days, and 176 new teacher contract days. Eighty days are scheduled for the first semester, and 90 days are planned for the second semester. No school is scheduled for students September 6th, October 15th and 18th, November 1st, November 24th through 26th, December 23rd through January 4th, January 17th, February 21st, March 11th and 14th, and April 15th and 18th.

There are 47 built-in weather hours, parent-teacher conferences each semester, and seven early outs. There are also six certified professional development days and one all-staff workday.

Director of Supportive Services Kris Ockenfels recommended the calendar after surveying the teaching staff.

The Salary and Welfare Committee’s salary proposal involved extending all master columns on the certified staff salary schedule down to 30 years of experience and continuing the increase of $800 per year after 15 years of teaching.

One proposal involved adding $1,200 to the base salary, which would make it $34,200 for a teacher with a Bachelor’s Degree. That proposal was based off the average percent increase of administrative salaries last year.

Another proposal involved adding $1,000 to the base salary, which would make it $34,000. A third proposal involved adding $750 to the base salary to make it $33,750.

Board Member Cliff Roeder asked why not all of the columns could be extended, including those for certified staff with a Bachelor’s Degree. He said he had heard some teachers say it was not worth getting a Master’s Degree because of how much it costs.

It was noted some teachers are frozen at a certain pay level because the pay columns for someone with a Bachelor’s Degree stop at 15 to 18 years depending on if they have extra credit hours and how many credit hours.

Salary and Welfare Committee Member Taya Ray said the original purpose of having columns stop was to encourage teachers to continue their education. She noted it can now take about $20,000 to get an advanced degree.

The committee’s welfare recommendation involved protecting plan time and wanting fewer meetings. The committee reported plan times are being used for staff meetings, Bridge meetings, and professional development, but teachers need the time to plan to be prepared to give students the best education.

The recommendation also involved wanting a stipend for extended work time spent due to COVID-19. It was noted Rissler Elementary School teachers are required to work from 7:30 in the morning to 3:15 in the afternoon every day, which is an additional 15 minutes above the time it says in the handbook. The extra 15 minutes is used for supervision.

The board will revisit the salary proposals and welfare recommendations later.

The board approved early graduation for four Success Center students. Those students are Eric Hines, Katelyn Rossell, Emma Dodson, and Noah Curtis. Trenton High School Principal Kasey Bailey reported the students have completed all requirements for graduation.

Ockenfels was made chairman of a facility naming committee to discuss options in renaming the tennis court facility. Ockenfels noted the shelter house is already named in honor of two deceased students.

A resolution was approved adopting the Grundy County Hazard Mitigation Plan. Stegman noted Trenton R-9 had to adopt the plan in order to get help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency if needed if a disaster happened.

The board approved summer school being held May 26th through June 30th. Stegman noted the dates might have to be adjusted if the district needs more make-up days at the end of the year. The district is in talks with area schools to see how many would want to come to Trenton R-9 for summer school.

An adjustment was made to the 2020-2021 school calendar which formalized the movement of two days canceled prior to Thanksgiving moved to the end of the school year. The days off November 23rd and 24th have been moved to May 20th and 21st.

The board adopted a building use schedule for the performing arts center. Ockenfels said fees would be involved if a non-profit organization wanted to rent the PAC. Those fees would include $200 for the first four hours.

A PAC manager position was also added to the extra duty schedule tier three. The board voted six to one on the matter, with Whitaker being the no vote.

Ockenfels said an extra duty stipend of $3,000 would go to someone to run the lights, sound, and stage for the PAC. There could be a back-up person, which could be a student being mentored.

He noted other schools with PACs have extra duty contract stipends.

Whitaker wondered if the district would use the PAC enough to pay someone a stipend. He thought it would be best to make the position paid hourly.

The board moved into a closed session for personnel.