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  • Fairbury News staff

Fees, projects discussed

Fees were discussed by members of the Prairie Central Board of Education during the group’s regular April meeting.

Registration and course costs were decreased for the junior high and high school. Superintendent Paula Crane told the board substitute bus driver pay has been increased a bit as well as for ticket takers at games.

There is no fee for preschool and ECSE is separate. Also, the technology fee was not moved since it is a big expense for the district. Music would include one cost for both band and choir instead of two separate fees.

“The changes you made appear to be thoughtful and balanced,” said board member John Wilken.

“I think you changed where it makes sense,” added board member Ted Bachtold.

During her superintendent report, Crane updated the board on maintenance projects, including planned work on heating units before next fall. Outside doors will be added to the yearly list for replacements as they are breaking down.

“A lot of them are not sealing well,” Crane observed.

Outdoor lighting seems to be a big issue, trees need to be taken down and wood chips added to playgrounds.

“We still have roof leaks we are dealing with on an ongoing basis,” Crane explained.

In another matter, the board learned additional grant funding will be received through the federal government for pandemic recovery. Work is underway on the ESSER II grant which will include technology, additional PPE, credit recovery programs, reading and math curriculum and interventions and data collection software.

Additional paraprofessionals and interventionists would be added to help at the grade school level along with personnel to oversee the program. ESSER II funds can be spent through Fiscal Year 23 with ESSER III being spent through Fiscal Year 24, although the latter has not yet officially be announced.

“We’ve actually got three years here to get kids back on track,” said Crane. “This program is really going to focus on K-6.”

With much planning left to do, board president Mark Slagel suggested drawing up something official for the next meeting so the board can vote on it.

Crane also presented a graduation update to the board as the high school ceremony is planned for May 22 with a rain date of May 29 on the PCHS football field. Practice will be May 21 on the field. Seniors will get two bleacher tickets each and other guests may sit on the track by bringing their own lawn chairs or can stand or sit around the fence.

“We’ll have enough space,” Crane stated.

Board members learned that 72 percent of certified staff members are fully vaccinated currently with 37 percent of non-certified staff vaccinated. Crane said paraprofessionals are around 41 percent vaccinated.

Following an executive session, the board appointed RJ Bachtold as PCHS special education teacher, effective with the 2021-22 school year and appointed Tyler Webster as maintenance director, pending contract agreement, effective July 1. Resignations were accepted from PCE paraprofessionals Bethany Meiss and Christine Palmore, both effective at the end of the school year.

The district accepted the resignation with the intent to retire at the end of the school year of Rebecca Bounds, a sixth grade teacher. Vincent Hannibal, PC West custodian, also plans to retire effective Dec. 31. Hannah McDermaid was transferred from HS dean of students to PC Upper Elementary principal effective July 1, pending contract agreement and Brooke Welborn was transferred from PCP West to PC Elementary, effective with the 2021-22 school year.

Also at Thursday’s meeting, the Prairie Central Board of Education:

-Changed the FY22 school calendar to add one day on the end to correct an error.

-Approved a van purchase which will be used for pupil transport. This is in lieu of a previously approved purchase.

-Accepted a bread bid from Aunt Millie’s Bakery.

-Discussed summer help for maintenance including mowing and other outdoor work. Additional help will be hired as in the past.

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