Board agrees to buy books for junior high library

Robert Blackford/Editor

The Mercer County School board agreed to allow the new district's librarians to use $20,000 to purchase books for the junior high library. Interim Superintendent of Schools Bill Rees asked that the bill come due on July 1.

As many books as can be spared have been culled to send to the library. This includes moving some books back from the individual classrooms to the library. The library will dial back on some of the software it would like to have to purchase books for the junior high facility in Joy.

The junior high library has about 2,000 books with a goal to have about 8,000. The $20,000 will purchase about 2,000 books for the library.

Aledo School District's technology coordinator Kim Sheese gave a presentation on student management software and the pros and cons for the service for the district. Sheese said it would take about $21,000 to get the program up and running. All the teachers, secretaries, administrators and counselors will need to be trained on the software.

It will also have the capabilities to track the school's lunch program.

Sheese said the funding would come out of the technology budget.

Sheese made note that there will be three graduation requirements for students entering the consolidated district for three years.

Board member Steve Willits asked, "How secure is the data?"

Sheese said the same firm sells systems for banking and hospitals.

She noted that they will be converting data from two districts into one system.  The board may vote on the proposal at its next meeting.

Junior high curriculum

The new district will go with an eight period day for the junior high students. They will use the Positive Behavior in School (PBIS) system to help improve the student's behavior in school. There will be a librarian there each day. There will be a study hall at the end of the day. The seventh and eighth grade band will perform as one group. The Explorer's class will be offered and will meet the last period of the day.

Handbook

Board member Steve Willits had several questions about the high school's handbook as it was presented.

Willits was concerned that Saturday detentions might have a detrimental effect on the education of the students continuing the student's "downward spiral." He was also afraid that student's who bring a pocketknife to school accidentally could be unfairly punished. "This is a rural community." Willits noted that he didn't want to see a student expelled for something like this.

He was told that administrators have the ability to adjust punishment to fit the offense.

The district considered consolidating a pair of bus routes until Rees reminded them that the state was reimbursing the district 80 percent of its cost this year. "We should run the bus system like we are now while the state is funding 80 percent of the cost and reduce it next year."

The board decided against lengthening the student's school day. Reese said he opposed it primarily because he didn't want bus drivers to pick up or drop off students in the dark.

Aledo Superintendent Alan Boucher agreed adding that it would make the day longer for the younger students. He noted that he didn't want to have to pay the teacher's for a longer day as well. The board will look at the after school program which has been successful at Westmer for the past couple of years and the possibility of implementing it.

In other news:

* There was some disagreement over whether the statistics class should be a quality points level course.

* The board discussed the number of students attending classes in the Quad Cities and their busing requirements. The board also learned that it would need about three shuttle buses to use within the district.

• The board learned that several staff members and students have signed up to work on the summer work crew.

• The board agreed to IHSA membership.

* Rees announced that the board will have closed session meeting on the Wednesdays it does not have board meetings to discuss collective bargaining agreements.