Paris 95, Association of Paris Teachers sign contract

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The Association of Paris Teachers (APT) and Paris Union School District 95 board of education signed a three-year contract following the Monday, March 11, meeting of the school board.

The contract, according to Paris 95 Superintendent of Schools Jeremy Larson, includes a 2 percent pay increase — including the step — in each of the three years of the contract. It also includes a 3 percent retirement incentive, he said. Negotiations lasted two days, he said.

APT president and Memorial School kindergarten teacher Emily Vaughn thanked the school board and Larson and described the contact as fair and equitable for the district’s teachers. Board president Kevin Knoepfel emphasized the strong working relationship between the district and its teachers. “We appreciate all you do for us,” he said.

In other business, Larson highlighted the positive programs underway in the Paris 95 district, including the Pre-School for All, the Paris Alternative School and the expansion of programs in the schools.

Introduced during the short meeting were:

-Will Templeton, a cross-country state qualifier, an eighth grader at Mayo.

-Chase Colvin, a fifth grader at Wenz School, who qualified for the IESA state golf tourney. He was the only fifth grader in the state to make the Peoria tourney.

-Representatives of the Mayo cheer squad who once again competed in the IESA state finals, earning 14th place.

-Erica Hollis who is involved in the Pre-School for All program, noting the 20 children enrolled in the program, “have really blossomed,” since the beginning of the school year. The program is full and there is a waiting list for the full day preschool at Memorial.

-Daisy and Trinity, who recently earned their high school program through the district’s new alternative school, are two of seven students who previously dropped out. The program, located in the Willis Center on Eads Ave., is under the direction of Josh Hollis, who said another student is right on the cusp of completing his degree.

nLarson said a ceremony is planned for the students to receive their diplomas at a later date.

-Board member Bill “Beetle” Bailey praised the alternative program which allows teens to obtain their diplomas through the APEX computer program.

“In all my years on the board, this is one of the best programs we’ve ever done,” Bailey said.

Larson reminded members the community meeting to begin work on another district School Improvement Plan is scheduled at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 20, at Mayo Middle School. As was the case with the first School Improvement Plan, those attending will be asked to help give direction to the Paris schools. “This is just not for parents but students, grandparents, teachers and community members,” he emphasized. Larson noted the last community forum resulted in middle school chorus being added to the school day as well as upgrading the district’s school lunch program. The community forum is part of the district’s “Strong Schools, Strong Communities Partnership” and has been featured on the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) web site.

“I am just so proud of what we’ve been able to do in our school district,” Larson said, noting the district just sent students to compete in their first IESA chess tournament and later this spring representatives will be participating in the bowling sectional.

In other business, the board:

-Accepted the resignation of Jeff Reel as a custodian at Mayo.

nHonorably released preschool teacher Jenny McMahan. If the state once again funds Preschool for All, McMahan is subject to recall.

-Accepted the resignation of Allison Wirth as a team leader at Mayo.

nApproved membership for Mayo and Wenz in the 2019-2020 year in the IESA.