Monett School Board reviews SPO, SRO slots
Third resource officer needed after one goes back on road duty
Monett School Board members recently reviewed policy on school resource officers and school protection officers, slots filled by officers with the Monett Police Department and the district.
School Protection Officers are authorized by the district to carry concealed firearms and self-defense spray on campus, once they have successfully completed a Department of Public Safety approved SPO Training Program.
The district employs SPO Shey Snodgrass as a protection officer at Central Park Elementary and SPO Matt Houck as the School Care Coordinator at Monett Elementary School.
A school resource officer, by federal definition, is a career law enforcement officer with sworn authority who is deployed by an employing police department or agency in a community-oriented policing assignment to work in collaboration with one or more schools. The district employs SROs Jay Jastal at the high school campus and SRO Marvin McCracken at Monett Elementary School.
Jastal said there is a need for a third SRO to replace an officer that has returned to road duty.
Resource officers act as liaisons with local law enforcement agencies, providing basic information concerning students on the campus served by the officer. They present programs to parents on substance abuse topics such as tobacco, alcohol and other illicit substances, as well as violence prevention and safety.
SROs also gather information on potential problems such as criminal or gang activity or students who may be disruptive in school.
Bonnie Crawford, with Sapp Design, brought in an estimate of $541,800 of the $24,941,153 total project cost for renovations at Central Park Elementary which will be the designated early childhood facility. Improvements include refreshing classrooms, building a secure vestibule at the facility’s entrance, installation of a guardrail around the elevated platform in the gymnasium, where occupational and physical therapy will be given. The project also includes removal of playground structures, leveling the lot to prevent stormwater puddling, installation of age appropriate equipment, and replacement of current plumbing fixtures with child-sized and height fixtures that are also compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations. There is still approximately $200,000 cushion of remaining bond proceeds for unexpected expenses.
Board members approved the supplemental Bridges Math program for grades kindergarten through fifth, at a cost of $98,000.
Mark Bridges updated board members on Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) and end of course testing for the district, reminding officials this year’s tests will have no accountability purposes.
“We will use this year’s data as a baseline year and compare our evaluate data to see how strong the correlation is,” said Mark Drake, assistant superintendent and incoming superintendent. “We will also use the data to see how we can improve on our weaknesses.”
Board members approved a COVID stipend for substitute teachers, substitute custodians food service and coaches with hire dates before March 18, 2020. The amounts were calculated on the number of days worked by substitute personnel based on a 160-day calendar.
“We based the criteria on the added work load and the added risk,” said Kent Medlin, interim superintendent. “It is a recognition for those who steps in and the extra things they have done. Honestly, if they had not stepped in like they did, we would have had to close the doors.”
Medlin also brought the district’s sick leave pool policy to the attention of board members, advising them that decisions on the policy would have to be made soon.
When the policy was first enacted, district employees could “donate” one or more of their sick days in the event one of their co-workers had a catastrophic illness and used all of their own accrued days. Individuals had the opportunity to utilize up to 100 days if needed.
“However, this policy puts the district in a potentially libelous situation,” Medlin said. “Unfortunately, with the litigious nature of society now, as opposed to 15 years ago when the policy was put into place, this policy not only opens up the board, but individual board members as well.”
No action was taken on the sick leave pool policy, Medlin wanted to draw the board’s attention to the matter before new employee handbooks were developed.
Medlin said two Monett District employees had taken their 100-day maximum number of days from the pool.
“Several districts have transitioned away from the policy due to Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and other privacy issues,” Medlin said. “The Missouri School Board Association and Classroom Teachers Association (CTA) are for it. I have meetings set up with them next week. We have to be wise for the district and for our employees at the same time.”
The board re-instated incumbents Ken Gaspar and A.J. Bahl at the reorganizational meeting.
Bahl once again takes the reins as board president, with Brian Hunter named vice president; Lonna Norman, secretary; Tracy Wimberley, treasurer; Gaspar as Missouri School Board Association (MSBA) delegate; and Yesi Perez MSBA alternate.
Some upcoming dates to remember include:
May 12 - Baccalaureate, 7 p.m. Monett High School Performing Arts Center
May 13 - Senior Caravan, 7 p.m. at Broadway and Central
May 14 - Graduation, 7 p.m., Burl Fowler Stadium.
The next regular meeting of the Monett School Board will be at 6 p.m. on May 20, in the office of the superintendent.