Repayment of Bond, Need for Replacement before Toronto Board of Directors | News, Sports, Jobs

Warren Scott PROMOTING SCIENCE – The Jefferson County Educational Service Center has awarded three grants of $ 600 to teachers in Toronto for activities and courses that promote interest in science. All three are among 22 grants awarded by the center for a variety of educational approaches. With Jennifer Matyas, third from the left, one of the three teachers; are Betsy Jones, principal of Toronto Junior-Senior High School; Annie Siléritéorn, Principal of Toronto Elementary School; and Ron Sismondo, director of the centre’s curriculum and professional development.

TORONTO – The Toronto Board of Education has authorized its bond consultant to continue paying off bonds that could represent significant savings to taxpayers, has agreed to relax requirements for substitute teachers, and have learned of three grants awarded activities and courses promoting science.

Last month, the Robert W. Baird Co., the council’s bond consultant, learned that it could save 9% or more in interest charges by paying off bonds sold to build a junior high school. cycle in Toronto in 2010.

At Thursday night’s school board meeting, Superintendent Maureen Taggart said the consultant could pursue various options that will reduce the mileage of the bond issue, but not the duration, and could potentially save up to $ 1. $ 5 million to taxpayers.

She confirmed that the consultant will act when the market and other conditions are met.

The board has also agreed to consider for substitute teaching positions applicants with associate or higher degrees in fields other than education and those who pass a required school district education assistants exam.

Taggart noted that the board implemented the same measure last year, on a temporary basis, when substitute teachers were in short supply.

At that time, the board also increased the daily salary of substitute teachers from $ 80 to $ 110.

Taggart said certified teachers will be sought to replace them during long-term absences.

She said that, as before, the lowered requirements were only approved for one year, following the passage of supportive legislation caused by a shortage of substitute teachers in many parts of the state. .

Taggart said some former substitute teachers are reluctant to work in schools if they are older or have health issues that put them at greater risk if infected with COVID-19.

She said last year the school district had to revert to virtual instruction from late November to late December because large numbers of employees were ordered to quarantine themselves and were unable to do so. There weren’t enough replacements to cover them.

Taggart said that while that period included the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, students lost 15 days of in-person instruction.

She said this week that there had been three positive cases of COVID-19 among staff and students, resulting in 11 quarantines, but she feared the number could rise during the holiday season.

The board also received a visit from Ron Sismondo, director of curriculum and professional development at the Jefferson County Educational Service Center, who announced that the center has awarded three $ 600 best practice grants to teachers in Toronto.

Nikki Wright will use her grant to purchase virtual reality equipment that will allow her elementary students to simulate the experience of an astronaut or “visit” a remote place like the Great Wall of China, among other activities.

Jennifer Matyas said she would provide her grant to purchase new hands-on science kits that will help her second-graders conduct science studies in aspects of earth, physical and life sciences.

And Jason Kodysz, a college science teacher, received a grant to purchase products from KNEX, a line of toys used to build models of roller coasters, spaceships and other vehicles used to demonstrate science principles.

Sismondo said seven teachers from Toronto were among 48 teachers in the county who applied for the grants.

He added that the district had awarded 22 grants, including three to each of the seven school districts and one to a teacher at Utica Shale Academy.

The council also has:

– Agreed to donate $ 1,500 for a Toronto student to participate in the Close-Up Program, where students from across the United States visit Washington, DC and learn about the federal government.

The council has provided funding for one participant in recent years.

Betsy Jones, principal of the junior high school, said 17 juniors and seniors from Toronto were planning to participate, noting that the program was open to seniors who were unable to attend last year due to the pandemic.

– Heard by Caleb Johnson of the Full Service Network, a Pittsburgh-based telecommunications company, who proposed to replace the school district’s current telephone system with a digital one.

– Approved the resignation of Karen Bigler, a second year teacher who will retire at the end of the school years after more than 30 years of service.

Taggart said that Bigler is “A wonderful teacher” who, through membership in the Toronto Kiwanis Club, has helped provide coats and shoes to many students.

– Announced their next meeting will be at 5 p.m. on Dec. 16 in the library at Toronto Junior-Senior High School.

(Scott can be contacted at [email protected])

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