A “baby” of Belleville District 118 is happy to be back, and brought her own babies along for the official school board vote to hire her on.
“I’m a baby of 118; I am so glad to be back,” said Monet Webster, who will be a first-year teacher of sixth grade at Abraham Lincoln Elementary. Her husband, daughter, son, mother and sister were also at the monthly board meeting Tuesday evening at district offices.
Other first-year teacher hires were Brittney Becker, sixth grade at Union; Tiffany Dunivan, first grade at Jefferson; Tamara Eisenberg, fifth grade at Abraham Lincoln; Ryan Enata, physical education for the district; and Alicia Parker, fifth grade at Abraham Lincoln.
Samantha Brandmeyer was honorably dismissed at the end of the 2014-2015 school year in reduction-in-force efforts. She was reappointed as a fourth grade teacher at Abraham Lincoln.
“This is my third year in the district and now my third school,” she told the board. She had a year of teaching elsewhere so she is considered a fourth-year teacher.
Two paraprofessionals were also reappointed from RIF efforts at the end of the year: Russell Lisun and Sarah Yoch were reinstated by the board.
Union School filled an administrative assistant position opened from retirements and moves within the staff. Robin Koderhandt will begin work at Union before school starts as part of the administrative staff.
The meeting did not start off on the jubilant hiring note; superintendent Matt Klosterman updated the board on the district’s finances.
“We’re hearing it may be all summer before we know what we could get” from the state, Klosterman said. He called it the “typical legislative report” but softened the news by saying the district has already received two tax payments.
In other board business:
▪ The board voted on a waiver to allow in-service training on a holiday. The district already has a waiver in place to allow classes on certain holidays, including Abraham Lincoln’s birthday on Feb. 12, but needed a public hearing vote to include the in-service training in the existing waiver.
“How does the principal of Abraham LIncoln school feel about that?” board member Judi Keplar asked Principal Ed Langen.
“I think Abraham Lincoln would be all for it,” he said.
The board unanimously agreed to allow the waiver to allow the half-day of in-service training.
▪ The board also unanimously agreed to add a walk-in freezer at West Junior High. The previous freezer has been demolished, along with the pad that it rested on. Ryan Boike, assistant superintendent, explained that part of the problem was the previous pad, actually made of two concrete pads, was not even. The lowest bid was from Session Fixture Co. in St. Louis, board member Gary Lawrence said. The cost is $41,431, of which 75 percent will be paid by a grant. The pad is a separate cost.
▪ Board member Keith Johnson spoke for the curriculum committee to request no change to material fees. Book fees remain at $55 as they have for several years.
▪ The board approved an affiliation agreement with Maryville University in St. Louis’ occupational therapy program. Much like student teachers, the affiliation would allow university students to get some of the necessary clinical experience, Klosterman said.
“They’d really go around with our employees in Occupational Therapy department to get experience,” he said, clarifying that the students would not be assigned to a school.