Construction Update, B-PC High School
Good progress is being made on renovations at B-PC High School. Ceilings are being installed, casework has started to come together, and classroom furniture is anticipated next week. We are cautiously optimistic that we will have occupancy for staff to return on Monday, August 15 and students to return on Wednesday, August 17. Should we experience any unanticipated delays, we do have a contingency plan in place that should not delay the start of school. At completion, B-PC High School will have all new floor tile and carpeting, ceilings, lighting, bathrooms, locker rooms, casework and furnishings. While the original plans called for new windows throughout the building as well, the bid we received was 4 times what was anticipated and supply chain issues would have delayed installation until winter. We hope to jump start that process again in early fall to be ready for next summer when renovations to the auditorium, band, space, cafeteria, and all-weather track are anticipated. We hope to host an open house for our school community when renovations are completed.
Board of Education
Transportation and Student Safety
The B-PC Board of Education met for its regular meeting in July. Student transportation and safety was heavily discussed and included improving congestion during pick-up and drop-off at the Junior High and High School; student safety as students walk to the Junior High and High School using Spartan Drive; and providing bus transportation to all B-PC students.. Much discussion centered around the closing of Spartan Drive to allow foot traffic only. Many considerations in closing Spartan Drive were addressed (increased student safety, access to emergency services, hours it would be open, installation of a sidewalk, etc.). The Board has directed Superintendent Dinger to explore having a traffic study completed by a traffic engineering firm. The District does not own sufficient land on either side of Spartan Drive to install a sidewalk, but that possibility continues to be explored. The Board also discussed transporting elementary students who walk from Greenbriar Apartments. Dr. Dinger will meet with Mayor Wilt and other public agency representatives to explore solutions. Public school districts in Illinois are required to provide free transportation for students who reside 1.5 miles or more from their school and/or who live along an identified, hazardous route. Greenbriar Apartments are within 1.5 miles and not located along a hazardous route, but the distance to B-PC Elementary creates a hardship for many families and students. School officials will continue to make changes to pick-up and drop-off to improve student safety and will share those plans in their August 1, welcome back-to-school letters.
Two fuel bids were received, with the Board voting to accept the lowest bid from Herr Petroleum. The District spent close to $41,000 in fuel to transport students last year. Some of those expenses are reimbursed by the state.
Major Medical Insurance Renewal
The District has contracted with Blue Cross/Blue Shield for several years to provide major medical insurance to employees. Through the District’s relationship with Clemens and Associates, the annual increases have remained fairly low compared to others. All full-time employees receive single coverage, major medical coverage and are able to purchase dental and vision at their own expense. The District spent close to $725,000 last fiscal year to provide major medical insurance for employees.
As with any school year, we look forward to welcoming many new staff members. Please join us in welcoming the following new staff members to B-PC. This month the Board approved the hiring of Brandon Nott, 1st grade teacher at B-PC Elementary. Mr. Nott replaces Mrs. Beekman who will be moving to the role of Interventionist to replace Mrs. Rodeffer. Mrs. Rodeffer was approved by the Board at an earlier meeting as our newest Director of Programs and Services (replacing Mrs. Rhoades).
Charné Stoltz was approved for hire as a counselor who will serve the students of B-PC Junior High and B-PC High School. The District has long contracted with the West Central Illinois Special Education Cooperative for counseling and/or social work services and will continue to do so to serve our elementary students. We’re excited to welcome a counselor who will be employed by the District and expand our ability to provide support to more students.
Rebecca Dechow (pronounced de-coe) was approved for hire as the new Ag Teacher at B-PC High. Ms. Dechow replaces Mrs. McGrew.
Brea Bowman (Art Teacher at the High School, who transferred from the Elementary to replace Mr. Roddis) was approved as the High School Football Cheer Co-Sponsor. Allison Greiner, will join her as Co-Sponsor.
Welcoming New Staff
In addition to the staff approved at the July meeting of the Board of Education, we look forward to welcoming others approved at earlier meetings.
Jordan Monson joins us as a full-time substitute. Jennifer Waller and Taylor Mullen will be teaching ELA at B-PC Junior High, filling the position that Mrs. Holland held and the vacancy created when Ms. Reed resigned. McKenna Barker, will also be at B-PC Junior High, providing special education services previously provided by Mrs. Zarello. Cole Thompson and Mckenzie Perry will be completing their student teaching experience at the Junior High and will be supervised by Kathy Heikes. Both Mr. Thompson and Ms. Perry have been hired for 2nd semester upon graduation. Melissa Gray, formerly a full-time sub, will be teaching 5th grade at B-PC Elementary next year. Kristen Mahr, formerly a program assistant, will be teaching 4th grade and joined by newcomer Alicia Peterson, who will also be teaching 4th grade. A vacancy was created when Mrs. Jones accepted the position of Art Teacher at the Elementary, and an additional section of 4th grade was created due to increasing class sizes. Savannah Yerkovich joins the B-PCE family as the new PE Teacher - replacing Kim Havens who will finish her time at B-PCE as Assistant to the Principal. Assistant Superintendent, Bob Gound, started in-district on July 1. Mr. Gound was hired earlier this year in anticipation of Dr. Dinger’s retirement at the end of this next school year, at which time he will become the superintendent. Last, but never least, Kathy Torrence, who retired from B-PC and returned to teacher Family and Consumer Science for a time, has accepted a request to return to replace Ms. Williams. Mrs. Torrence will be on the Personnel Report in August for Board approval.
We are excited to welcome and welcome back these staff members. We have had staff members leave the District for a wide variety reasons this year (accepting other positions, moving) and others who are taking on other challenges within the District. Many school districts around us are struggling with vacancies and staff shortages. We are grateful we have such amazing teachers joining the B-PC Family and that we are starting the year with a full house!
As mentioned earlier, we continue to explore ways to make getting to- and from school safer for our students. More information will be coming in your back-to-school letter from principals on August 1. We appreciate your cooperation in following all procedures and signage at school buildings to make sure those who walk and those who get picked up and/or dropped can do so safely and quickly.
School officials also continue to work on improving and updating crisis responses and planning and appreciate the support provided by Bushnell Police and Bushnell Fire.
August 1: Principals will be sending home their welcome back letters on August 1. If you have registered your student(s), teacher and course schedules will be included. If you have not yet registered, please contact Mrs. Williams at B-PC Junior High or Mrs. Anderson at the District Office to schedule an appointment to do so.
August 15: We welcome teachers back on Monday, August 15. B-PC Elementary will host its annual “Meet the Teacher Night” from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm.
August 16: B-PC Junior High will host their annual “6th Grade Orientation” at 6:00 pm and B-PC High School its annual “Freshman Orientation” at 6:30 pm that evening.
August 17: Our first day of student attendance is Wednesday, August 17.
August 19: “Meet the Spartans Night” will be held that evening and provide fun activities for students and families as our B-PC Spartan football team hosts a team scrimmage and we recognize other fall athletic programs. Watch for more information soon.