The Belleville District 201 administration is serious about engaging with students over dress code concerns at the two high schools, but the superintendent told the board Monday night that some student perceptions are at odds with the available data.
Belleville East students in particular have been raising questions about how the dress code is implemented.
In November, Belleville East student Hannah Heins presented the board with a petition to change the dress code and specifically called out questions of gender bias.
“When you pull female students out of their class and dress code them for an above the knee dress while boys wear above the knee shorts, you teach her that the boy’s education is more important,” Hannah told the board at the November meeting.
Superintendent Jeff Dosier told the board Monday that the district’s Dress Code Committee had met, and had met with students at Belleville East over student concerns.
“I think Jason (Karstens) and I have learned it’s very enlightening to get students’ perspectives,” Dosier said. “I hated for the meeting to end.”
Dosier said a review of the available data suggest “some of the perceptions the students had didn’t necessarily pan out.”
Dosier said future meetings with students at Belleville West are planned. He made no reference as to what, if any, changes might be suggested to the dress code.
Belleville District 201’s data entry clerks have been keeping very busy the last few months to fulfil requirements for the Affordable Care Act.
Assistant Superintendent Brian Mentzer told the district’s board on Monday night that “a considerable amount of data” needed to be entered, and the payroll program software is still being refined to accommodate the process.
“We’ll be out before the deadline,” Mentzer said. “At the very latest it will be with the second March check.”
The required information is a 1095 form to the employee, which describes the insurance situation including the insurance values for all dependents. The district must also provide a 1094 to the federal government to show compliance with the employee information.
“With 450 employees ... that’s a thousand lives that we have to dissect with coverages,” Mentzer said after the meeting.
▪ The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers has announced which science classes will be tested this year, Melissa Taylor told the board. The director of special services said biology and AP biology classes will be tested in May and online.
“It’s supposed to be a single session,” she said.
Other board news
▪ The board agreed to a working cash bond of up to $9 million. Mentzer explained after the meeting that the money would be used to pay off other debt, and future revenue from property taxes would pay the bond.
“It winds up with what is essentially a net-zero change to our taxpayers,” Mentzer said.
▪ Standard & Poor has given the school an A rating, Mentzer told the board. It is a “continued” high rating, but the service did suggest “a couple of cautions” in the declining state revenue.
▪ Teacher Cyndi Oberle-Dahm informed the board about a state house bill proposed on Friday called the Illinois Global Scholar Certificate. If passed, the certificate would be voluntary for high schools to participate and would provide a stamp or seal on student’s diplomas if they had achieved certain criteria, including a capstone project. Oberle-Dahm, a Teachers for the Global Classroom Fellow, said it would not require any changes to District 201 curriculum.
Learn more about the program at www.illinoisglobalscholar.org.