The Perry School Board met Monday for their monthly meeting, and one of the last items attended to by the group might have been the most significant.
The board approved the early retirement requests of nine veteran employees, all of whom will step down when the school year ends this year.
Stepping aside will be longtime Activities Director Tom Lipovac, who first joined the Perry school system in 1977. Also retiring will be Middle School Dean of Students Carol Ryerson, Building and Grounds Director Kevin McLaughlin and Nutrition Director Gail McFarlin.
Early retirement was also approved for kindergarten teacher Becky Reuter, second grade teacher Rebecca Anderson, middle school para-educator Diane Martelli, cook Susan Whiton, and high school custodian Betty Wenger.
Superintendent Clark Wicks updated the board on the progress being made in the new construction areas. Underground work — electric, plumbing, sewer and related — was complete, with steel work expected to begin in the coming week, based in part on weather conditions.
Transportation Director Troy Griffith received permission to purchase a new gas-powered bus from Hoglund Bus and Truck for $104,000, which includes a $500 trade-in on a 1999 bus. The move to the new gasoline bus came about partly in reaction to concerns over increasing maintenance costs for diesel-powered buses.
Griffith said the issue of diesel maintenance is not excessive but is common among all districts and is related to emissions. Diesels, the veteran director noted, “need to run hot in order to be most effective” and to reduce emissions. PCSD buses run an average of 45 minutes per use before being shut down, too short a time to reach maximum emission effectiveness, an issue that Griffith said is common among all school districts.
No changes to engine specifications were made in purchasing the new bus — the only change was the switch to gasoline power.
The board gave approval for the AP History class at PHS to attend a performance of “Hamilton” in St. Louis and also agreed to make a donation of $500 — which is the traditional amount given — to help defray costs for the Perry Prom.
The PCSD calendar for 2020-2021 was accepted. Early dismissals will continue unchanged on Wednesdays. The first day of school will be Aug. 24, 2020, with the final day set for May 27, 2021.
Expenditures of $4,251.23 to the Woodward Day School and of $5,294.51 to Grandwood Consortium were also approved. Perry has five students attending the former and two the latter, which specializes in students in need of special instruction.
An SBRC request for $610,828 was also approved. The allowable growth asking was for the at-risk and drop-out prevention efforts.
Several board policies were also approved, as were early graduation requests from three students.
The Perry School Board meets the second Monday of each month at 6 p.m. in the Brady Library at PHS. The public is welcome to attend.