District brings back 9 teachers

Following a public hearing last Thursday, at which only one resident spoke, the Vandalia Board of Education unanimously approved the sale of $1.88 million in working cash fund bonds.
That move, which effectively extends the district’s current bond level for one additional year (to 2022), will allow the district to reinstate several district teaching positions and programs that otherwise would have been eliminated.
The teachers whose positions were reinstated are: Jaclyn Daniels, Joey Daniken, Kelly Hardiek, Amanda Kamplain, Annette McClintock, Beth O’Brien Schmidt, Stephanie Smith, Kathleen Timmermann and Renee Whightsil.
Those reduction-in-force cuts would have saved the district $600,000 per year, according to Superintendent Rich Well, but would have increased class sizes and curtailed several programs.
“We’ll be bringing back the riffed teachers,” Well said. "(The bond extension) provides a little bit of a safety net – two years, maybe three. That’s important because we have students with needs that can only be met through small group attention or individual attention.
“It will allow us to keep our reading groups and our language arts minutes,” he said.
The lone speaker at the public hearing was Ken Torbeck, a parent and member of the Vandalia Band Boosters.
Torbeck announced that the boosters have raised the money to support the second band instructor position for the coming school year.
Torbeck said: “You’re bringing back every position but the band position. It’s time to do the right thing and bring back the second band position. We can’t continue to water down our classes because of what Springfield does to us.
“The music industry is huge, and it can be just as important to many kids as math and science.”
Well also announced at Thursday’s special meeting that Smokey Newsom has been hired as a member of the district maintenance staff. Newsom has been a custodian at the high school.
Also approved was the hiring of Larry Emerick as an administrative assistant at Jefferson Primary School.
After the retirement of longtime principal Donna Cripe at the end of this school year, Well has announced that he will serve as principal of JPS for 30 hours per week in addition to his superintendent duties.
Emerick will fill in for Well when he has to be out of the JPS building for superintendent duties.
An additional special meeting regarding a “parent/fan disciplinary hearing” was held Thursday. That hearing resulted in the individual being banned from school activities for a period of one calendar year.
And finally, another special meeting, which was to feature a “discussion of district band direction for 2014-15,” was canceled. “That meeting will be held at a later time,” Well said.

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