By KEVIN HOWELL
BELOIT- The West Branch Local school board Thursday night accepted the retirements of several long-time faculty and staff members.
The board accepted the retirement effective the end of the school year of guidance counselor Robert Altenhof under the retire/rehire program, as well as his resignation as girls head track coach. He has been with the district for 31 years as an English teacher, guidance counselor and coach of various sports.
The board also accepted the retirements effective the end of the school year of intervention specialist Elaine Bonar (under the retire/rehire program), who has been with the district for 27 years as a teacher and tennis coach; school nurse Darla Grindley, with the district for 26 years; and guidance counselor Barbara Peters, with the district as an English teacher and guidance counselor for 14 years. The board also accepted the resignation effective the end of the school year of school psychologist Jessica Sypert.
In other personnel business, the board approved supplemental coaching contracts to Nate Heddleston, head girls track; Amanda Teague, assistant girls track; Brenda Sharp and Jennifer Ragusa, co- junior varsity softball; Rodger Sharp, assistant varsity boys track; Mike Falasca, middle school boys track; Jackie Lyons, assistant middle school boys track; Frank Edie, middle school girls track; Tami Kring, assistant middle school girls track; and Mike Sigler, spring weight room supervisor.
In other news, the board accepted an anonymous donation of $6,086.50 for the purchase of a Gator utility vehicle.
Additionally the board approved an agreement for fiscal year 2013 with ACCESS for Internet and e-mail services, as well as other financial, staff and student reporting requirements, for a total of $82,375.65 (less $36,895.65 expected to be reimbursed through the E-Rate program), a savings of almost $2,000 from 2012.
The board also approved a memorandum of understanding with the classified staff union to replace the current vision benefit program with one administered through Medical Mutual, the district's major medical provider, at no cost to the district, effective July 1. The change will also be negotiated with the teachers union later this spring.
High School Principal Brian Coffee reported on the growth of the school's post secondary program, which includes dual credit (students earn college credit through classes taught at the high school) and post-secondary (students earn credit at a partnering college's campus). He noted that dual credit has nearly doubled from last year- 53 students to 96- while post secondary participation has increased by 11, up to 65 this year. Early registration for 2012-2013 indicates another increase, with 104 students enrolled in dual credit and 72 in post secondary, although they have not yet been approved for participation, he said.
The next regular board meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. April 26 in the high school Media Center.
Kevin Howell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org