Education

BASSC reviews ‘withdrawal’ process, agrees to new hiring procedure

Representatives from the 24 districts that make up the Belleville Area Special Services Cooperative met Wednesday morning as the Governing Board on a range of topics, including losing one of the districts as a member.

O’Fallon Township High School District 203 has requested to leave the cooperative, a move that must first be approved by both the state and the other cooperative members.

Jeff Daugherty, executive director of BASSC, said after the meeting that if O’Fallon leaves the cooperative, it will take $65,000 with it.

Susan Sarfaty, superintendent of the St. Clair County Regional Office of Education, gave the governing board a quick overview of the withdrawal process, something “I have not yet done as regional superintendent” in about nine years at the post.

She said the Illinois State Board of Education has a procedural guidance document, and “it’s really confusing when 203 should do their plan in relation to the withdrawal plan.” Also, because one school district in BASSC is in another county, the process will have to involve the Clinton County Regional Office of Education as well.

Sarfaty said an assistant state’s attorney with St. Clair County will be reviewing the process.

In other business:

▪ After a long discussion, the board agreed that any future school psychologists hired would be for an 185-day contract; with the understanding that the district would pay the psychologists for any days beyond that. Current school psychologists work 200 days a year, including days that teachers and students are off such as Veteran’s Day, Daughtery said.

“In this department, there are 22 people — 13 of the 22 work 200 days or more,” he said.

It was also decided the existing school psychologists would be given an option to take a 185-day contract over the 200 days, if that’s what they currently have.

Daughtery said they do everything from prepare for Individualized Education Program meetings to coordinating pre-school screenings on those days students are not at school.

“Mine don’t do those things,” said Sandy Sweeney, director of special education at Mascoutah District 19.

But Whiteside School District 115 Superintendent Peggy Burke said the school psychologist in her buildings did do those things.

“I pay her for an additional 45 days ... she’s not a slacker, she’s working.”

Daugherty said, “I think we all understand that different districts have different needs.”

There was no dissent in opting for a 185-day contract for the new hires.

▪  Voted to continue health insurance through Coventry at a 5 percent increase in cost to maintain the same plan.

“Some of the others, Blue Cross or United Health Care, would have been a significant increase,” said Brian Arteberry, chief school business official with BASSC.

Contact reporter Mary Cooley at mcooley@bnd.com or 618-239-2535. Follow her on Twitter: @MaryCooleyBND.

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