Turner School Board to elect new officers

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TOWN OF BELOIT - Members of the Turner School Board will elect board officers and swear in new and returning board members during a reorganization meeting on Monday.

The meeting will be at 7 p.m. in the district board room, 1237 Inman Parkway. Newcomer Carl McMillan will be sworn into office, taking over for Kim Ward who wasn't re-elected during the spring election. Ward served two terms on the school board.

Current officers include President John Turner, Vice President Norm Jacobs, treasurer Dannie Shear and clerk John Pelock.

The board members felt the district's top priority is the implementation of the district's facilities plan.

Voters approved a $26.485 million referendum in November of 2018, which will be used to replace the high school gym floor and bleachers, install secure entrances, make science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM) additions to the middle/high school and build a new second-fifth grade elementary school.

Tuner, who has served as president for about five years, said he's looking forward to completing the secure entrance portion of the project. The plan is to install entrances at Powers Elementary School and the middle and high school that funnel visitors into an office instead of visitors having direct access to the school.

Officials say the goal is for the gym project work to begin the day after graduation and be complete in early August. They expect work on the secure entrances to be complete by Sept. 1.

The goal is to break ground on the STEAM additions by Nov. 1, then once school is out of session in the summer of 2020 walls can be torn down.

Officials estimate the new elementary school will be designed by January of 2020, with construction beginning in March of that year.

Jacobs said academic achievement is a priority as well. He praised superintendent Dennis McCarthy for his work with teachers and staff members to enhance student achievement.

Jacobs believes Turner is successfully leading the board.

Shear agrees.

"I'm comfortable with the current leadership, but there's also some board members who would make good leaders," Shear said. "I'm happy with Mr. Turner leading the board."

Pelock said he also would like to look at staff retention in light of the teacher shortage many districts are experiencing. He said the district, like many others, has seen a sharp decline in the number of applicants for teaching positions.

"We have seen a precipitous drop in the number of people we have applying for positions, and that concerns me," Pelock said.

He would like to continue lobbying state legislators to help make education a "more attractive career."

Pelock said he would accept any officer position.

"If board members want a change one way or another I'm all for it," Pelock said.

Board member Kristie Petitt supports the current board officers but would be open to a leadership role if one was available.

While running for re-election this spring, Petitt said she heard from the Teacher Education Association is that teachers want more positive engagement from board members.

"We want to show the staff that the board appreciates them and that we care," Petitt said.

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