Security measures added at schools

The Vandalia Board of Education learned on Tuesday about additional security equipment being installed at two buildings in the district.
Superintendent Rich Well told board members that the new security equipment is being installed at entrances to the administration building and the Okaw Area Vocational Center.
That equipment will include security doors and video surveillance equipment for both buildings, the only two in the district that currently do not have those security measures.
Well said the district will also be installing red light warning systems at various locations of district buildings that would be activated in emergencies such as an active shooter.
He said that they learned during drills that students in high-volume areas, such as the gym, cafeteria or vocational work area, were unable to hear the audio lockdown warning.
The drills are conducted to teach students “to go to specific places and do specific things.”
Flashing red lights will be installed in those areas, as well as at the entrance of the vocational center, where students from other districts are dropped off and picked up.
Well said that in an active shooter situation, the flashing red lights at the OAVC entrance will alert bus drivers of a lockdown situation. Seeing that light, bus drivers are to drive off with the students.
He said that the district applied for safety grant funds to pay for these security measures, but didn’t receive a grant award.
“But we (the district safety committee) felt it was important enough to proceed with this,” Well said.
Other summer projects in the district include: moving the welding shop at the vocational center; a window project at Jefferson Primary School; flushing the heating and cooling systems in all buildings; and moving the high school computer lab.
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the board approved a number of hires, including a new district band instructor.
Melanie Schuette, an Okawville native who graduated in 2013 from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, takes over the band program for the district.
Schuette was a half-time teacher at Hamilton High School this past school year.
She will be involved in the hiring of a half-time band instructor, a position that the school board approved last month following the resignation of junior high band instructor Sara Berg and the earlier resignation of high school band teacher Tony Hicks.
Others hired by the school board on Tuesday include: Danielle Stone, Jefferson Primary clerk; Kelcie Matesa, high school special education; Emily Dees, high school language arts; Megan Byars, junior high language arts; Kari Hagy, junior high counselor; Tammy McKinney, first grade at Jefferson Primary; and Carrie Whitten, full-time district substitute teacher.
The board also approved the resignation of Michael Mabry, who last month was hired as a language arts teacher at the high school.
It also OK’d job title changes for two district employees, due to those employees completing certification requirements. Greta Krueger, dean of students at the high school for the past school year, is now the school’s assistant principal; and Lori Meseke’s title was changed from district business manager to chief school business officer.
The board also approved the following coaching assignments for the 2014-15 school year:
Fall sports
• Football – John Stout, head coach; and Jason Clay, Brian Buscher, Jeremy Curll and Mark Rinehart, assistant coaches.
• Tennis – Bill Blythe.
• Soccer – Walt Kinney.
• Golf – Brandon Taylor.
• High school volleyball – Allison Hall, head coach. The assistant coach post is still vacant.
• Junior high basketball – Todd Marquardt and Jim Dierkes.
• Scholar bowl – James Sanders.
Winter sports
• High school boys basketball – Brian Buscher, head coach; and Joe Schaal, Lucas Benning and Austin Wollerman, assistant coaches.
• High school girls basketball – Michelle McNary, head coach; and Jim Dierkes, assistant coach.
• Wrestling – Jason Clay, head coach; and Matt Shroyer, assistant coach.
• Junior high basketball – Mark Rinehart, seventh grade boys; and Nick Casey, eighth grade boys.
• Junior high volleyball – Tammy Isaiah, seventh grade girls; and Allison Hall, eighth grade girls.
• High school cheerleading – Tracy Alstat.
The junior high cheerleading coaching position is still vacant.
Spring sports
• Boys track – Jim Dierkes.
• Girls track – Gena Nance.
• Baseball – Head coaching position still vacant; and Mark Rinehart, assistant coach.
• Softball – Head coaching position still vacant; and Jeremy Curll, assistant coach.
• Junior high track – Brandon Taylor and Todd Marquardt.
The board is scheduled to act on volunteer coaches at its July meeting, Well said.
Also at Tuesday’s meeting:
• The board voted to increase district lunch and breakfast prices by 10 cents.
Well said that according to federal guidelines, the district’s meal prices “are supposed to be higher.”
The 10-cent increases, he said, are a step in getting to the levels set by the federal government.
In grades K-4, breakfast is now $1.50 and lunch is $2.25. In grades 5-12, the fees are $1.50 for breakfast and $2.50 for lunch.
• Well reported that a student had driven into a corner fence post when there was snow on the ground, causing $800 in damage. He said the student is reimbursing the district for the repairs.

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