Parents of Belleville District 201 students will pay more for their kid’s school lunch next school year. The school board approved a 10-cent price increase for lunch and breakfast at its meeting Monday night. The maximum cost is $3 for a hot lunch tray.
Brian Mentzer, assistant superintendent, said the cost increase was necessary because of new nutrition standards, which include all foods being trans-fat free and changing serving sizes based on grade. Fruit and vegetable servings have a minimum but no maxiumum and also must serve a variety of colors and types during the course of a week.
▪ In other district business that Superintendent Jeff Dosier expressed great excitement about: re-hiring teachers let go in earlier reduction in force efforts.
Teachers Jeff Heidorn, special education at Belleville East, Bryan Edgar, alternative education, and Jonathan Thurston, a social studies teacher at Belleville West, were all hired back for their positions. Dosier said that does not yet hire back all the teachers let go in the RIF.
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Dosier said after the meeting that there are other open positions that remain at the high schools, and the district is working toward making more hires.
▪ Melissa Taylor, director of special services, reported that the district provided 1,390 PAARC tests, although some students took more than one test. She said she completed the corrections to the report on Sunday evening; corrections made necessary because of student movement to keep accurate the 100 percent participation rate.
She said the district is pleased about the announced changes to the testing, “but we would have liked for have seen them go further ... We’d like to see the test schedules aligned more with the typical high school schedule” so that students aren’t missing the next class when there is a two-hour test window and one-hour classes.
Taylor echoed educators at the meeting when she said, “it’s just crazy to me that we continue to go into these school years not knowing what these assessments will be.”
▪ ▪ Taylor reported a decrease in the number of suspensions for a specific type of student since she first arrived at the district. “Last year we suspended 16 (students with disabilities) more than 10 days,” she said. The district has 850 students with disabilities, and more than 5,000 students total.
▪ The board approved contracts for two English teachers on Monday.
▪ At Jason Karsten’s first school board meeting as principal of Belleville East, he not only got to brag about the baseball team’s win over Belleville West but also talked about the repaving of the school’s parking lot.
“The only negative comments are from the Class of 2015, who want to know why we’re doing it now,” he said.