Special ed coop may have administrator for OASIS

Peabody classroom to be completed by August

Staff reporter

Marion County Special Education Cooperative board gave a verbal "go ahead" Monday evening to Marion County Special Education Cooperative Director Chris Cezar to research costs and possible candidates of establishing an OASIS administrator.

Cezar said each year there are more challenges with OASIS students, with this year being no exception.

Cezar continued that he cannot be in the OASIS area on a daily basis and there is a need for a lead teacher or administrator to handle situations as they arise.

Some of the costs of an OASIS administrator could be covered by reimbursement through state categorical aid.

USD 408 representative Lyle Leppke asked Cezar if he was trying to address an educational or discipline problem? Leppke said if disciplining was the issue then why not hire a peace officer or security guard. Cezar responded that an administrative position would be a better choice to provide leadership and diffuse situations before they escalate to the point of needing security.

Also the cooperative couldn't receive state funding for a resource officer.

Tony Zappone, USD 398 representative, said it would be advantageous to have an administrator in the OASIS classroom.

"I've often wondered how they make things work in OASIS and I've observed a need for an administrator or some sort of leadership to take pressure off staff," he said.

Cezar said it was important to have a separation where a student has someone else to go to besides the teacher.

USD 397 representative Brent Methvin asked from a money issue, why not consider hiring another teacher as a head teacher which would be less money than paying an administrator? Cezar responded that that was a good idea if he could find someone who would fit in that position.

"This year has been extremely difficult because of the needs of the students," Cezar said.

Darla Meysing, USD 411 representative, asked Cezar what assistance he needed to get through the rest of this year. Cezar said he was more interested in a long-term solution.

The board then instructed Cezar to gather information for the next board meeting and to see if there were any candidates available.

In other business:

— Cezar reported that he and USD 398 Superintendent Rex Watson met with the cooperative's architect regarding the remodeling of a classroom at Peabody for the CLASS/Life Skills class that will be moved from Florence to the Peabody school. The plans have been submitted to the state for approval which should be made by the first of May.

Construction should be completed by the first of August.

— Denise Brown, cooperative instruction coach, presented information to the individual representatives regarding test scores from their districts.

Primary concerns were in math and reading.

— Cezar reported that categorical aid for Medicaid students will increase approximately $28,200. Approximately $146,000 will be given to the cooperative which still is a decrease from last year of $150,000, and two years ago of $200,000.

— Classified staff resignations from Aprylle Smyser and Jennifer Henson were approved. The board also approved the licensed staff resignation of Bonnie Farrell-Beckloff. A classified staff appointment for Amanda Terry was approved as was the licensed staff appointments of Stacey Parks and Kelli Meritt.