Board approves bonuses, considers therapy dog policy
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.