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April 21, 2019

4/17/2019 10:43:00 AM
Unit 2 looks at staff additions, OKs 2nd officer
A new teacher, a new school resource officer, a new administrator and a new class are among the items Robinson Unit 2 is looking at for the upcoming school year.

Unit 2 board members Monday reviewed ideas presented by the program evaluation committee to consider for inclusion in next year's budget.

Taking into consideration input from faculty and administration, they selected three positions they will consider adding.

In a separate matter, the board approved an intergovernmental agreement with the City of Robinson to add a second school resource officer.

The board considered for reinstatement eight positions or programs previously cut because of financial concerns.

It was hoped to keep the cost of the potential additions down to as close to $100,000 as possible, although it was said the district could go as high as $200,000 while keeping the budget in the black.

"These are all worthy things that would be helpful to have," Superintendent Josh Quick said of the items considered. "But we can't do them all. We can't afford them all."

"If money was no object, I think we would do everyone of them," board President Dennis Inboden added.

Members approved adding a new teacher at Robinson High School. This was considered necessary by fall of 2020 because of the unusually large class of students now in seventh grade at Nuttall Middle School.

Unit 2 will also offer to increase an existing half-time art instruction position to full time. The district has one full- and one half-time art teacher splitting their time between the four schools.

The board will also consider restoring the NMS assistant principal position as a part-time job, to be combined with a part-time athletic director position.

Board members praised NMS principal Craig Beals, but as Inboden pointed out, "he's absorbed about three people's jobs." Adding an assistant to handle disciplinary matters will free him up to focus items such as curriculum.

Meanwhile, AD Kelly Brookman performs athletic director tasks such as scheduling. However, because she is not an administrator, she cannot handle disciplinary matters for coaches or student athletes. For the past few years, that duty has fallen on building principals.

Combining the assistant principal job with a part-time AD position will take the burden off their shoulders.

A job description for the position will be written, Quick said.

It was pointed out that while the district will seek to fill these positions, there is no guarantee it will. It also was pointed out that the three positions chosen will have an impact on every school and every student in Unit 2.

As for the school resource officer, the agreement means Unit 2 should again have an officer present in one of the four schools full time every day.

Unit 2 will reimburse the city for the salary of the full-time SRO. It will also pick up part of the check for the officer who is already working at the schools when scheduling permits.

Originally, the city provided an officer whose sole duty was to work in the schools. Unit 2 paid part of his salary. Later, when the district fell on hard times, the city shouldered the full cost of keeping an officer in the schools.

The city still provides an SRO, but he also has other duties. Robinson police also help at the four schools when students arrive every morning, a service offered at no charge to the district.

"We're very appreciative for what they've done," Inboden said.

In other personnel matters, the board hired Brenna Keeler as a language arts teacher at NMS, Sharon Monts as an English teacher at RHS and Blake Reynolds as a band teacher at both schools for the 2019-20 school year.

Members also approved the reassignment of Elizabeth Richardson to Spanish teacher at RHS pending licensure and accepted Aaron Peternel as a volunteer at RHS.

In a related matter, Quick told the board an RHS business teacher is taking training as part of the Amazon Future Engineer program. In return, the school will be required to add a computer coding course.

Also Monday, Quick updated the board on several items, including the impact of the state boosting the minimum wage to $15.

Fortunately, the increase is being implemented in stages. As most Unit 2 workers earn more than $9.25 per hour, it will only cost the district $3,000 to be in full compliance. If the minimum wage had jumped to the full $15 per hour, it would have cost $300,000.

More financial matters, such as amendments to the 2018-19 budget, will be on the agenda for the May 20 board meeting.

Meanwhile, the Illinois State Board of Education has approved the full 130-page bid packet for services interested in taking over food services for Unit 2. Quick said he hopes to go out for bids soon.

Quick also is continuing work on plans to increase security at Robinson schools.



In other business, the board:

• Learned approval was granted to annex a property formerly in Palestine Unit 3. The parcel was one of only two properties west of Illinois Route 1 in the Palestine district. The family living there has two children, one of who will start preschool in the fall.

• Set 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 26, as the time and date for a special post-election re-organizational meeting.

• Approved the amended 2018-19 school calendar. The last student attendance day is Monday, May 20. The year ends with a teachers' institute the following day.

• Approved a tentative 2019-20 school calendar pending the finalization of attendance day requirements by the state. The year is scheduled to begin Aug. 15 and end May 21.





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