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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Verona school board looks at construction options

Friday, February 1, 2013

A reception was held on Jan. 29 for Tony Simmons, who has been hired to serve as the superintendent of the Verona R-7 School District, beginning July 1. Simmons, at left, with his wife, Lori, greeted faculty and members of the community in the school cafeteria. Superintendent Bill Sweet, at right, provided introductions. Simmons currently serves as the junior high school principal for the Seneca R-7 School District.[Times Photo by Murray Bishoff]
The Verona R-7 Board of Education reviewed options for renovating the school library during its January meeting.

Architect Richard Werner discussed bid preparation for library renovations. The base bid would cover a new roof, painting the exterior and refurbishing the complete interior.

Werner planned to ask for three alternates. The first would give the cost to erect a masonry facade. The second would add a vestibule to the high school entrance, which now opens directly into the school hallway. The third option would provide a vestibule on the elementary school entrance.

The vestibules would include secure doors, cameras and an intercom.

Werner planned to return in February with cost estimates. Sweet anticipated the board will advertise for bids in March, target construction to begin in May and finish before school in August.

Superintendent Bill Sweet informed the Student Council sponsor Tabitha Farris requested a change in procedure for homecoming, which will be celebrated on Feb. 1.

This year the Student Council picked three boys and three girls as homecoming king and queen from the senior class. The student body votes to determine the winner. Each class would select a boy and a girl to participate in the homecoming royalty.

Last year only six students came to the homecoming dance, which was cancelled, Sweet said. The effort to increase student involvement appears to have worked, as more planned to participate in this year's dance.

Board members voted to accept the resignation of para-professional Amy Butler and hired Tanya McMillen to fill the vacancy, pending a background check. Crystal Cornell was hired as a custodian.

Lisa Hefner, a special education aide, was hired to serve as the girls basketball coach for fifth and sixth grades. Last year a student teacher in physical education took on the duties. An increase in participants made an additional coach necessary.

Special services director Shelly Gatton updated the board on her department's activities. Currently 76 students receive services, a number that could drop to 69 by March if students meet their goals. Gatton saw the potential for four students at the high school level to return to regular classrooms by the end of the year.

With two teachers and a part-time speech pathologist, Gatton said she would need a third teacher to sustain the work load next year.

Grant money is being sought for supplies. Gatton applied for $1,000 for a hand-held hearing device for Parents As Teachers, $1,500 to purchase three iPads and up to five AlphaSmart keyboarding devices, and $500 for a special education library at the high school.

The board approved the community relations report. According to a two-year-old survey, more than half of residents had a positive working relationship with the school.

At the recommendation of Arthur J. Gallagher and Company, the district's insurance carrier for worker's compensation coverage, the board passed a new policy on safety, security and communication. Sweet said the district did not have a written policy prohibiting unsafe behavior, such as horseplay or standing on chairs, desks or ladders.

The new policy designates supervisors to receive reports of unsafe conditions. Sweet said that by having all employees sign a policy outlining specific steps, the likelihood of worker's comp claims will help protect the district from worker's comp claims. Previously, no one signed off on worker's comp claims.

In recognition of School Board RecognitionWeek statewide, Sweet commended board members for the time and effort made in behalf of the district.

"The Verona R-7 school is one of the largest companies in the community and its success is due in no small part to the leadership provided by the members of the board," Sweet said.

Incoming superintendent Tony Simmons attended the meeting. Plans for receptions for Simmons to meet the faculty and the public were discussed.

The board will next meet on Feb. 21.

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