By Stephanie Malench
The Triad School Board met on January 24 with many reports and a full slate of action items.
The common theme in the building reports was thanking the staff for being flexible and filling in vacant positions throughout the month, allowing in-person learning to continue when other area districts had to go to remote learning.
On February 9, the district will hold a substitute teacher training from 8:30 a.m. until noon at the district office, 203 E. Throp St. in Troy. Summer school will be held June 20- July 8 from 8-11:45 a.m. for students who have IEPs and are showing decline at the end of the 2021-2022 school year.
During the Technology Report, Director Mike Wielgus reported that 31 GB of data has been used on the five hot spots located on buses. The most common website searched is Google and the two most popular blocked searches were for Snap Chat and Tik Tok.
Director of Secondary Education Robert Winslow announced that the district has entered into two agreements to provide additional resources to students, as well as hiring an additional counselor at the middle school. After surveying student service personnel and over 150 parents, the district now offers a mental health tele-therapy service called Gaggle Therapy, which matches students with counselors licensed in the State of Illinois to offer weekly therapy sessions in a secure HIPPA compliant video call during hours convenient for the students so he or she does not have to miss valuable learning time in class to get needed help.
Winslow also said the district has entered an agreement with Favorite Helathcare Staffing to have a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) help the school nurses. The additional counselor and both agreements are paid through CARES III funds.
Director of Business and Finance Dr. Jason Henderson announced that the district is still on track to have the new roof installed on the high school during spring break in March. The new HVAC system will also be installed at this time. During New Business, Henderson explained the need for an emergency board resolution to use Health Life Safety funds towards a new elevator for the high school. The district has been informed that the parts for the current elevator are no longer available and the next time it breaks down it will not be able to be serviced. Because the installation process for a new elevator takes a month, if the order is not placed now it will not be able to be installed this summer and would have to wait until the summer of 2023.
Tailor-Made Physical Therapy is currently providing Athletic Training Services at the high school after the retirement of the long-time trainer.
Finally Henderson discussed the need for a resolution authorizing, directing and certifying a deficiency levy to the Madison County Clerk to pay the principle and interest on bonds back to 2014. Henderson explained that each year the county allots the exact amount of property taxes needed to the district to be able to pay its bills. Each year there is a shortfall of approximately $10,000-$20,000 from the .5% of property owners that do not pay their taxes. The shortfall is paid for each year with transfer out of the general fund.
Assistant Superintendent Kevin Fagan announced that the EPA has approved Triad for $790,000 to purchase an additional three 72-passenger electric buses. Edwardsville and Collinsville School Districts also received funding for one bus each. The new buses are power to grid models, so they can put energy back on the grid and the district can receive energy credits. Another potential uses for the buses is using the buses as generators for district buildings during a power outage.
The downstate buses might also be sent to partner district up in the northern part of the state during the summer.
As part of her Superintendent Report, Leigh Lewis recapped the changes in guidance from the CDC/IDPH on quarantine guidelines for those exposed to COVID, reducing the number of days some students and staff have to quarantine from 10 to five. Lewis also reported that the judge hearing the two lawsuits that Triad and other local districts are named in will not make a decision until at least January 28.
Lewis said “parents will be notified of the impact it will have on our local policies and procedures related to the district’s mitigation strategies” as soon as the district receives notification of the rulings.
The board then went into closed session and announced after that they have selected Dr. Jason Henderson as the next superintendent, effective July 1, 2022.
Henderson has been at the Triad District since being hired in 1994 as a THS mathematics teacher. He also coached tennis while a teacher at Triad. His first job as an administrator was in 2004 at THS as a part time assistant principal. He became the St. Jacob Elementary Principal in 2005. When the new elementary schools were opened in 2008, Jason became the principal of Silver Creek Elementary before taking a position as a district curriculum leader and then in 2013 Jason became the district’s Assistant Superintendent. He lives in Troy with wife, Gretchen, and his three kids.