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Bement School Board Announces Improvements to Intercom System & Cameras

Work to begin in May to install new wiring

By JODY SHONKWILER
Staff Writer
The Bement Board of Education met February 8, 2023 with all members present.

As part of the Superintendent’s report, Superintendent Mary Vogt discussed improvements needed to bring the district’s intercom system and cameras up to code. “There is a new law coming down the pipe called Alyssa’s Law. This is a result of the Parkland shootings in Florida that requires every classroom to have a panic button”, Superintendent Vogt told board members. To date, there are nine states that have already passed the law and it has been introduced at the Federal level. “Rather than waiting for it to happen, we’re just doing it because we have to”, said Vogt. The district received a price break for being a Lighthouse District, or model, for other districts to follow once the upgrades are completed. Grant monies will be used to pay for the upgrades.

What this law does is require districts to install panic buttons in every classroom and building. Beck Tech (formerly Barbeck’s) out of Decatur will begin installing the wiring this summer for the intercoms and cameras. While they are here, they will also be dropping the lines for the phone upgrades to be installed in the summer of 2024.

The intercom panels will allow teachers to communicate with the office. The panels will have four buttons, the intercom button to call the office, the panic button, and two others that can be programmed as the district chooses (for example, evacuation notices for fire drills). The panels themselves will resemble a digital clock.

Right now, the current cameras have blind spots. The new cameras in the stairwells will have the ability to look up and down the stairwells, eliminating those blind spots. Seven cameras will be sufficient to cover the needs of the exterior of the buildings.

Principal Kepley showed board members a vinyl Bulldog table covering that was donated by the Class of 1957. Jerry Stout, a member of the class, contacted Mr. Kepley about extra money the class had. In the past, at certain ceremonies, table coverings were not ideal, so the more professional covering was much appreciated. Superintendent Vogt showed the board a new Bulldog banner that will be used for upcoming job fairs.

Informational items discussed were:

February 16: Piatt County Spelling Bee, Atwood 9:00 AM

February 17: SIP Day, Dismiss at Noon, Narcan Training for Staff

February 20: No School, President’s Day

March 1: Tornado Drill

March 6: No School, Pulaski Day

March 8: K-8 Spring Picture Day

March 8: BOE Meeting, 6:30 PM

Middle/High School Principal’s Report

The Bement Spelling Bee was held on January 31 st . Middle School class winners were: Emerson Larson (6th), Emmalyn Ewers (7th), and Andrew Bregin (8th). Emmalyn Ewers won the entire spelling bee. These students will represent the middle school in the Piatt County Spelling Bee to be held in Atwood on February 16th at 9:00 AM.

The high school student council will be sponsoring a school and community blood drive on February 17 from 8 -12 in the small gym. Students, 16 years and older, may sign up to donate. Information will be sent out to the community as well.

Middle/High School students have taken/or will take the 5Essentials Survey. This survey, prepared for the ISBE, helps school districts identify areas of strength and those in need of support.

Congratulations to Kole Somers – 8th grade, Madelyn Somers – 7th grade and Lauren Hill – 6th grade for being named Bement Middle School Students of the Quarter.

Kate Ruggless was named Mix 94.5 and Rick Ridings January Teacher of the Month.

She was surprised in her classroom on January 19 by Rick Riding and the Mix 94.5 crew. Mrs. Ruggless is very deserving of this honor and we are glad she is part of our team in Bement. She was nominated by a Bement student.

Superintendent Vogt took this opportunity to praise the district’s custodial staff for the awesome job they do everyday to make our school look its best. Even though this visit was a surprise, the school looked great, as it always does.

Dates:

February 17: GSA Dressapalooza 5-7

February 18: GSA Dressapalooza 10-12

March 4: IHSA S/E Contest @ Central A&M

March 7-10: Foreign Language Week

Elementary School Principal’s Report

Grade School Spelling Bee winners advancing to the next round were: Audrey Larson (4th) & Wyatt Swinger (5th).

March 1: PTO Meeting at 5:30

March 2: Admin Academy (Evaluations)

March 4: Food Mobile in Bement at 8:30

Enrollment PK-5 (137 students)

Attendance – 17 students with Perfect Attendance

Athletic Director’s Report

March 1: Booster Club Meeting at 6:30

March 17 & 18: Alumni Tournament

Popcorn Machine will need replaced.

The Sound System for the baseball field has been ordered and will be installed in the spring.

The cost was completely covered by the Bement Athletic Boosters Association, Jack Hicks Memorial Fund, & the Bement Lions Club.

Superintendent’s Report

FOIA Requests

1. Request received from Jed Earnest on January 10, 2023 for invoices and PO’s issued to Ideal Construction Services from 12/31/2010-present and for all bond packages in which King Financial Consulting was the financial representative.
Response sent on January 17, 2023 providing the requested information.

2. Request received from Local Labs on January 26, 2023 for employee information, specifically, teachers, including first name, last name, position/job title, department, pay rate, and year to date gross pay for the 2020, 2021, and 2022 school years. Response sent on January 31, 2023 with the requested information.

3. Request received on January 26, 2023 from the Illinois Retired Teachers Association for the name and email address for any certified staff members retiring this year. Response sent on January 31, 2023 indicating that we do not have any certified staff members retiring this year.

Sports Cooperative

Agreements

1. Copies provided for your review. No major changes. Language updated to remove the uniform purchase agreement that was in the first year of the co-op.

2. These will be on a future agenda as an action item for approval.

Intercom and camera update

1. Work should begin in May to run new wiring.

2. Installation of intercoms, panic buttons, and cameras will take place this summer.

3. The phone system will be updated in the summer of 2024.

Surplus items

1. Outdated iPods

2. Technology items no longer in use

After returning from closed session the board approved the resignation of preschool paraprofessional Emily Kuetemeyer. Julie Brewer, the current speech aide, will be filling Emily’s position beginning in the 2023-2024 school year. Tamara Walker was approved as the new speech aide. The board also approved the resignation of Diann Durbin as the middle school assistant girls’ basketball coach. Official action was taken on the approval of the resignation of BJ Schaefer as the art teacher effective at the end of the 2022-2023 school year.

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