CHARLESTON — The Charleston School District plans to address a state requirement Wednesday in order to have attendance on some state holidays.

A public hearing immediately before the Charleston school board's monthly meeting will allow input on the plans to have student attendance on Columbus Day, Veterans Day and Casimir Pulaski Day during the 2019-20 school year.

The hearing is the district's only requirement to apply for the waiver and no board vote on attendance on the holidays is needed, Superintendent Todd Vilardo said.

The public hearing is scheduled for 6:15 p.m. Wednesday with the board's meeting set to begin at 6:30 p.m. The hearing and meeting will take place in the district's office at 410 W. Polk Ave.

The new waiver is required because one the board approved in 2010 is set to expire. The state allows the waiver of certain holidays and for "school activities" to take place on those days.

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Vilardo said the law doesn't specifically define what "activities" are required and the district's interpretation is that it means student attendance.

He noted, however, that Veterans Day serves as a "learning opportunity" in the district, namely because of Charleston Middle School's annual assembly on the holiday.

With the new waiver, the district will have attendance on Columbus Day for the first time. Assistant Superintendent Kristen Holly said the district's calendar committee opted for that because of parent-teacher conferences, with no student attendance, set for the same week.

Meanwhile, votes scheduled for the meeting include approval of a special education program for middle school students with emotional disabilities.

That follows a program at the elementary level the board approved last year.

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There's already an emotional disabilities program at the high school level and Vilardo said the addition will "assure a full continuum of services."

An in-district program also means some students who attend the Treatment Learning Center in Kansas can return to instruction at district schools, he added.

He said that could result in cost savings, though the district will have to hire at least one special education teacher and at least one paraprofessional for the middle school program.

With the elementary program, a total of seven students who were attending the TLC were returned to Charleston school classrooms.

Wednesday's agenda also includes several personnel items with the resignations of the Charleston High School band director and the school's speech team coach among them.

Laney Cruit, who teaches music at CHS as well as CMS and Mark Twain Elementary School, will leave after 12 years in the district. Contacted about her decision, she said she has no specific reason but wants to "explore other avenues."

Vilardo said the principals of the three schools will develop a timeline for hiring a new music teacher.

Nathan Hinote is resigning after one year as the high school's speech team coach but plans to stay in the English teaching position at CHS, Vilardo said. Hinote couldn't be reached for comment.

The board is also scheduled to approve an appointment to the new position of dean of students at CMS. Vilardo said he didn't want to identify the candidate in advance.

The position would begin next year and goes along with Eddie Williams becoming a full-time assistant principal at Jefferson Elementary School. Williams currently splits time between that position and as assistant principal at CMS.

Contact Dave Fopay at (217) 238-6858. Follow him on Twitter: @FopayDave



Dave Fopay is a reporter for the JG-TC who covers Coles County, the local court system, Charleston schools and more.

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