Board ap­proves bonuses, con­sid­ers ther­apy dog pol­icy

Westside Eagle-Observer - - NEWS - RANDY MOLL

GEN­TRY — The school board, at its reg­u­lar meet­ing on Oct. 15, ap­proved a one-time $1,000 bonus for dis­trict em­ploy­ees and put on its first read­ing a pol­icy change re­gard­ing ser­vice an­i­mals and ther­apy dogs.

Rec­om­mended by Terrie Metz, su­per­in­ten­dent of the Gen­try School Dis­trict, was a one-time bonus for teach­ers and staff of the school dis­trict. Metz said she was rec­om­mend­ing the one-time bonus rather than raises be­cause she was un­cer­tain the dis­trict could af­ford raises and raises would be on­go­ing. She said the one-time bonus would cost the dis­trict be­tween $300,000 and $310,000. The bonuses will be given to dis­trict em­ploy­ees in De­cem­ber, ac­cord­ing to Metz.

A pol­icy change was put on its first read­ing re­gard­ing ser­vice an­i­mals and ther­apy dogs. Metz said the high school li­brar­ian has a ther­apy dog and would like to bring it to the li­brary for the ben­e­fit of stu­dents. Metz said the li­brar­ian had made nu­mer­ous changes to the li­brary to make stu­dents feel at home and re­laxed when us­ing the school fa­cil­ity.

The two pol­icy ad­di­tions deal with ser­vice an­i­mals in gen­eral and with ther­apy dogs in par­tic­u­lar, set­ting forth def­i­ni­tions, rules and con­di­tions for bring­ing a ser­vice an­i­mal or ther­apy dog on dis­trict prop­erty.

The poli­cies were sent to the dis­trict’s per­son­nel poli­cies com­mit­tee for re­view be­fore com­ing back for a vote by the board at its Novem­ber meet­ing.

Fol­low­ing an ex­ec­u­tive ses­sion, the board ap­proved the res­ig­na­tions of Kim Ni­chols from food ser­vices and Kyla Pierce as a spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion para­pro­fes­sional. Also ap­proved was the ad­di­tion of a half hour per day to a bus driver’s con­tract be­cause of the length of a bus route, mak­ing the driver’s pay for 4.5 hours per day rather than 4 hours.

Ja­son Bar­rett, the dis­trict’s fa­cil­i­ties and trans­porta­tion direc­tor, re­ported that Phase 2 of the in­ter­me­di­ate school con­struc­tion project (re­moval of the old wing build­ings and the ad­di­tion of park­ing spa­ces and green space) was near­ing com­ple­tion and was ex­pected to be done by early Novem­ber un­less there are de­lays. Bar­rett said he ex­pected some funds would be left af­ter the project which could be used to­ward elec­tri­cal and sound up­grades in the high school au­di­to­rium.

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