One parent’s question about screenings for local preschoolers prompted some discussion on the subject during last week’s meeting of the Trigg County School Board.
At the meeting on Thursday, board member Charlene Sheehan asked if the district was suspending the screenings until next semester.
Sheehan said she’d heard from a parent that the screenings had been suspended.
District Finance Officer Holly Greene said she’d also heard about the suspension of the screenings and would look into the matter.
“We should not be doing that,” Sheehan said during Thursday’s school board meeting. “We need to be screening those kids.
“Those are the kids that we need to be getting here and getting them screened and giving them their interventions and getting them in the program,” she continued.
Sheehan said the screenings are part of a federal law known as Child Find.
According to wrightslaw.com, Child Find is a part of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act that tasks public schools with identifying, locating and evaluating all children with disabilities, regardless of severity.
Greene said she was not sure when the decision to suspend the screenings was made, and District Superintendent Bill Thorpe said he didn’t know who made that decision.
Sheehan said suspending the screenings is illegal, and she said that decision needs to be reversed, implementing the screenings again.
“We need to continue our preschool screenings throughout the school year,” she said. “We have to give these people an opportunity to get their children in preschool and start the interventions and the education there.”
Greene noted that there is “a great enrollment” in the preschool this year following a year when student numbers were low because parents didn’t want to send their children to school during the pandemic.
Greene, who spoke about the preschool as she presented a report on the district’s working budget, said the increase in students this year has prompted a need to add a preschool teacher and a preschool aide.
Board members also on Thursday discussed and approved for the 2022-2023 school year non-resident contracts with Barren, Caldwell, Calloway, Christian, Hopkins, Lyon and Marshall counties and Murray Independent.
Director of Student Support Services and Personnel James Mangels said the measure is contingent upon House Bill 563, which would allow open borders among school districts.
With that bill, the personnel director noted that non-resident contracts would not exist.
He said these contracts will serve as a backup in case the bill doesn’t go through.
Mangels said the district does non-residential contracts with Caldwell, Calloway and Murray that allow for any and all exchange of students. Contracts with Hopkins, Marshall and Lyon are for up to five students and one for one, according to Mangels.
Additionally, he said Barren County is on an as-needed basis while the district’s contract with Christian County letting local students go to that community stopped in 2012-2013.
“We put a limit on the numbers keeping their contract students from the 2020-2021 and put an end to that,” he continued of Trigg County’s contract with Christian County.
Mangels said the non-residential contracts once had to be done in January but now must be done by Oct. 1 for the coming school year.
In other business:
- The board approved the working budget presented by Greene during the meeting. The finance officer told board members she has to submit the budget to the state by Sept. 30.
- Sheehan announced that Trigg County High School junior Makoto Hiter has achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. She said Hiter, the son of Charles and Dottie Hiter of Cadiz, is a third-generation Eagle Scout. As part of the requirements for attaining his new rank, the young Hiter planned a service project and led efforts to clean up the local River Walk Trail.
- Additionally, Sheehan said Todd County Middle School student Josh Waufle collected 500 pounds of food, toys and supplies and raised $155 for the Christian County Animal Shelter. The shelter in Hopkinsville includes Trigg County as a part of its service area.
- The superintendent said numbers of COVID-19 cases in the district are trending in the right direction and hopefully will continue to drop. As of last week, there were seven active staff cases and 23 active student cases in the district, according to Thorpe.
- The board acknowledged a review of the district’s Kentucky Education Technology Systems technology activity report. Greene said the district has to submit a report annually to the state that shows what it has spent on technology items. “We do this to show what our unmet need is,” Greene said.
Mangels noted that the district is in the process of hiring a mental health counselor.
Reach Tonya S. Grace at 270-887-3240 or firstname.lastname@example.org.