Belleville District 118 school offices to have panic alarms installed over the summer

News-DemocratJune 18, 2013 

To enhance the safety and security of Belleville School District 118 students and staff, panic alarms will be installed at all schools within the district, according to Superintendent Matt Klosterman.

"This is the next step in the school safety plan," Klosterman said. "It's another added layer of security for our students and staff."

District 118 school board approved the $25,950 cost during its meeting Tuesday night. Pass Security in Fairview Heights will install the panic alarms in 11 school offices and the administration building over the summer, Klosterman said. In addition, building principals will each receive a remote panic alarm they can carry with them.

"It works very similar to a silent alarm at a bank," Assistant Superintendent Ryan Boike explained.

The school board also approved hiring four new teachers and reappointing two others for next school year. The reappointments were Claire Smith as a sixth-grade teacher at Douglas Elementary; and Kortney Moll as an early childhood teacher at Westhaven Elementary.

The four new hires to fill vacancies within the district were Janet Henry, fifth grade teacher at Abraham Lincoln Elementary; Lindsay Kania, third grade teacher at Abraham Lincoln, Kristina Rapps, eighth-grade science teacher at West Junior High and Victoria Taylor, third grade teacher at Union Elementary School.

In addition, the board appointed Matt Hill to a full-time position as the district's computer technician. Hill has worked part time for the district the last three years. "Technology is a huge part of the district, and it's only growing," Hill said. "I'm looking forward to what we can do."

School board members approved the student materials fee of $55, which is the same price as last school year, according to Klosterman. He said the fee helps offset the cost of materials purchased yearly by the district.

The materials fee is waived for students who qualify for free and reduced lunches, Klosterman said, which is approximately 60 percent of the district's students.

The school board is expected to discuss the district's student lunch and breakfast prices as well as the cost for latchkey at the meeting next month.

At Tuesday's meeting, Boike announced the district has received a $50,000 matching maintenance grant from the Illinois State Board of Education. The district will put the grant money toward the roofing portion of the project at Washington Elementary this year, Boike said. The total cost of the roof project is estimated to be $230,000.

In addition, the district was awarded a $38,000 grant from the District 118 Foundation. Klosterman said this grant will be used to purchase promethean boards for the classrooms at the district's two junior high schools -- Central and West junior highs.

At the onset of the meeting, Klosterman told board members the district has received preliminary results on this year's Illinois Standards Achievement Test, which are currently under review by school principals.

With the adjustment of the cut scores earlier this year by the state board, Klosterman said the results are lower than in year's past.

"It's going to be a shock when test scores come out, not just for us but across the state," he said. "The projected 10 to 20 percent decrease in scores was realistic."

The annual Illinois School Report Cards, which include test scores from the ISAT, are typically released to the public in October.

Contact reporter Jamie Forsythe at 239-2562 or jforsythe1@bnd.com.

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