Hillsboro Hires McBrain As New Assistant Principal

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Members of the Hillsboro School Board voted to return to two administrators at Hillsboro Junior High School, then hired elementary teacher Hope McBrain to fill the position during a special meeting on Wednesday, April 24, at the unit office.

After one year of attempting to operate the junior high with only one administrator, Superintendent David Powell asked board members to consider returning to two next year–with some changes in administrative duties.

With the resignation of the athletic director last month, Powell said he would like to assign those duties to the assistant superintendent job description, then move district curriculum duties from the assistant superintendent to the new junior high assistant principal position.

In addition to hiring McBrain to fill the junior high assistant principal position after a closed session, the board also hired Heidi Olson to teach seventh grade math next year, and accepted the resignation of elementary teacher Shelli Neely.  

Board Vice President Barbara Adams chaired the meeting in the absence of board President Greg Bellaver, whose mother died on Saturday and visitation had been scheduled for Wednesday.

Board members unanimously voted to purchase the new McGraw-Hill language arts curriculum for grade school students, proposed two weeks ago at the regular April meeting by grade school teachers.  The cost is $140,632. They also voted to spend $52,500 to replace bleacher seats in the high school gym, and add handrails to the stairs up the bleachers.  That work will be done over summer break.

If all continues to go as planned, the district will offer three sessions of industrial orientation at the high school using a part-time professional from the field instead of an education professional, board members decided.  The school district has been advertising for that person, but has yet to make the hire.

At the recommendation of Tim Downen of Hurst-Rosche, the board accepted a bid of $71,460 from General Waste Services of Alton to remove asbestos floor tiles from the hallways at Coffeen School and Beckemeyer, and from the library and computer lab at the high school.  The bid was the lowest of five, Downen said.

Reaching an agreement to bring Mid-State Special Education employees who now work in the district into district employment has not gone as smoothly as the superintendent had hoped, he reported to board members.

"We did not reach an agreement at the negotiating table," Powell said.  "We were close, but we left it by presenting them our final offer. They will now take it to their membership for ratification.  If it's ratified, it will be our agreement.  If not, it will be up to each district to hire people into those positions.  We intend to offer those positions to the same staff at our final offer."

As part of a Mid-State decentralization plan, regions in the special education cooperative are dissolving and employees will become employees of the school district instead of the cooperative.  Powell said that the Christian County region has ratified a transfer agreement with Morrisonville, Edinburg and South Fork school districts.

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