District discusses first month of new school year
By ERIN SANSON
The Carlinville School Board met at the Intermediate School on North Broad St. for their Sept. 12 monthly meeting. Several items were discussed including new staff members, bus routes and shortages, and a presentation by the Intermediate School students was viewed.
A district spotlight was placed on the newly hired staff for the 2022-23 school year. Three staff members were hired mid-year of the 2021-22 school year. Michelle Barker and Iris Dunham were both hired as Middle School paraprofessionals. Carrie Ernst was hired as a District Fiscal Assistant.
Max Rogers, Cecelia Bloome, Jamie Emmons and Matthew Murphy were hired as teacher residents. Ellen Etter was hired as a middle school career and technical education (CTE) teacher. Lydia Armour was hired as the music teacher and band director for middle and high school.
Ryan Bowman was hired a High School Math Teacher, Donna Carty and Tessa Chowles were hired in the High School Cafeteria.
Erin Emmons was hired as a Primary School Teacher. Martina Helms was hired as a Primary School Custodian.
Whitney Roberts was hired as an Elementary School Nurse. Madi Whittington was hired as the district speech and language pathologist. Jessica Ryan was hired as a social worker. Sandra Stiegemeier was hired as an Assistant Principal for grades six through 12.
Intermediate School Presentation
A video was directed by, produced by, and starred a variety of Intermediate School Students telling the board about Carlinville Intermediate School. Students and teachers were both asked what they liked about the Intermediate School and what was taught at the school. After the executive session, board members were invited to take a tour of the school to see the improvements made within the year and to see the classes and things the students enjoyed so much.
The board was presented with the districts six-day enrollment figures at the meeting. There were 1,254 students enrolled district wide for the first six days of the 2022-23 school year. Enrollment numbers have been trending downwards in recent years though there were 11 more students this year than in the 2021 six-day enrollment. More students were enrolled in the primary and intermediate levels this year. There was one student more in the Middle School than last year. The High School enrollment went down slightly, from 404 to 398, losing six students overall.
Per an August 12 report, the per pupil spending in the Carlinville School District is spending $11,560.93. The High School and Primary School have the highest expenditures, both have an expenditure over $12,500. The Middle and Intermediate School have expenditures of $10,301.41 and $10,100.12, respectively. Superintendent Becky Schuchman said that the High School had higher expenditures due to extra costs such as science labs or vocational classes. Primary Schools have a high expenditure due to money being spent on early intervention resources. Schuchman also said that the expenditures look high in this year because the district received grants and federal money that they had to spend.
A lengthy discussion regarding buses, bus routes and driver shortages was held. Transportation Director Jim Roth was at the meeting to answer board questions. Roth said at the moment there were five people in the process of getting their bus licenses but that the district was currently short one and a half drivers.
Board member Molly Rosentreter brought up concerns she has heard regarding pick-up and delivery times for the buses. She said there were concerns over the students who lived in the country getting picked up first and dropped off last. There is a feeling that the trip, which could potentially be up to an hour and a half, was too long of a time for children to be on the bus.
Roth replied that they had to build the bus schedule “to flow” and the routes they have are the most efficient routes to get children to and from school. Roth also said that the bus drop-offs depend on the train schedule as multiple trains can slow the buses down. He stated that he was not aware of any students not being able to get to school in time for breakfast and that the buses are getting students to school as soon as they can so they have the opportunity to eat if they need to.
The motion was made to reject the bidding of buses in October. The district has two buses that were supposed to be delivered in September or October but had to be pushed back to December due to supply chain and demand issues. As such, Schuchman said that the buses could be bid but the price and the arrival date of the buses would not be firm and could change. The board discussed lease-to-own buses, which Schuchman did not recommend as they would cost more in the long run than waiting to purchase a bus. Roth joined the conversation to say that the current bus fleet could run for another four years and he would, at this point, be comfortable running the buses for another five years. He pointed out that new buses were not urgent at this point but would always be useful to have.
The board accepted the resignations of Ciarra Ciesler as a bus driver and Paige Vinyard as the High School Softball Coach. They also accepted the request from Wendy Vance to retire at the end of the 2025-2026 school year.
The board approved the employment of Alan Cooper as the middle school assistant boys’ basketball coach and Justin Reynolds as a Pre-K paraprofessional. Samantha Bomkamp, Kimberly Gwinn, Donald McLean, Amanda Roberts and Paula Beard were approved as substitute bus monitors and drivers.
A motion to table the water line bids for the vocational building at the High-Middle School complex was approved.
The motion to approve the District’s Section 125 Plan with American Fidelity was approved for the 2022-23 school year.
The School Board adjourned until Monday, Sept. 26 at 6:45 p.m., at which time there will be a Fiscal year 2023 Budget Hearing followed by the Board of Education meeting, located in the High School media center.