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  • Fairbury News staff

Ag shop addition possible

The south end of the current PCHS ag shop where an addition is proposed.

Construction of an additional shop classroom for high school agriculture and IT courses is a possibility at Prairie Central.

The district’s Board of Education heard information from Superintendent Paula Crane during the regular August meeting about using ESSER III grant funding for this. The school has a few years to spend the money.

“We have a very robust program but space is something we definitely need out there,” said Brian Quam, director of curriculum, instruction and technology for grades 7-12.

Quam said certification programs are possible in some vocations to help out local employers. Crane feels the school can meet the needs of students by adding courses to encourage kids to stay in the district later.

“We have to get them trained so they can go out and provide the work force,” she stated.

The proposal for additional space in the ag shop is exploratory at this point. This idea utilizes current green space just south of the building and two memorial trees would need to be relocated. Crane feels this would be justified for the funding since it entails providing extra curriculum options and spacing kids out.

“I’m all for it,” said board president Mark Slagel.

Board member Tim McGreal believes the trend of less college will continue. Graduation requirements will soon be changing, requiring more science lab courses. Agriculture courses could meet this requirement for the population of students entering the workforce after high school. Preliminary drawings have been produced and the board would like further information on the proposal.

Adding a gym to Prairie Central Elementary was another talking point at the meeting. Funding needs to be secured for the project and Crane asked the board to hold a finance committee meeting to further discuss the option. The Building and Grounds Committee will meet once a budget is in place to determine options. Crane said this is a needed project as there are issues with cafeteria space and a new mandate of an additional 30 minutes of activity time.

“If we build a gym, I hope it’s good for at least 30 to 40 years,” noted board member John Wilken.

Member Lori Schahrer said this needs to be a better vision than just getting a gym there, but should also be a for multi-purpose use.

The director of curriculum and instruction for K-6, Codi Conway, reported everything is going well at the elementary buildings with collaborations taking place at all four buildings.

“We had a lot of people step up, including administrators, in leading different sessions,” she said.

Quam summarized the two days of teacher institutes, with one day being more building specific and the other with a district focus. The First Baptist Church let the school use their facility on Tuesday and high school and junior high staff did trauma training.

During her superintendent report, Crane updated the board on roof work at the Upper Elementary which is substantially finished. Some pieces will have to be custom made and a tree poked a hole in the U.E. roof due to strong winds. The area has been cleared and patched. Crane said open houses went well as teachers had a chance to talk more with the kids since the times were spread out.

A Memorandum of Understanding with the PCEA was approved by the board after an executive session. This is regarding sick leave for employee who contracted COVID-19 at school and leave for travel time for those employees wishing to get vaccinated.

The following personnel matters were approved:

· Accepted the resignation of Lindsay Donovan, PCP East Interventionist, effective immediately.

· Accepted the resignation of Paige Weigand, PCJH Cheer Coach, effective immediately.

· Accepted the resignation of Josh Creek, Freshman Class Sponsor, effective immediately.

· Accepted the resignation of Tonya Chester, PCE Head Cook, effective immediately.

· Accepted the resignation of Bill Casner, JH Wrestling Coach, effective immediately.

· Appointed Emily Lanz as Assistant HS Volleyball Coach, effective the 2021-22 school year.

· Appointed Kirsten Smith as Varsity Volleyball Coach, effective the 2021-22 school year.

· Appointed RJ Bachtold as Varsity Baseball Coach, effective the 2021-22 school year.

· Appointed Ryan Rafferty as Auxiliary HS Baseball Coach, effective the 2021-22 school year.

· Appointed Jace Weaver as Bus Monitor, effective the 2021-22 school year.

· Appointed Sarah Devine as 6th Grade Teacher, effective the 2021-22 school year.

· Approved a transfer for Elizabeth McDonald from 6th grade teacher at PCUE to 4 th grade teacher at PCE.

· Approved a transfer for Taylor Langel from 6th grade special education teacher to 6th grade classroom teacher.

· Approved a transfer for Tracey Devine as interventionist from PCP West to PCP East.

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