School Board hires Tyler Christensen as district’s first director of safety and security | #schoolsaftey

Tyler Christensen, with a military and law enforcement background, is the first director of safety and security for the Webb City R-7 School District.

His hiring was approved Tuesday by the School Board, following one of the recommendations made at the conclusion of a safety audit.

Christensen, of Oronogo, currently a detective with the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office, was formerly a corporal with the Joplin Police Department. He was a staff sergeant with the U.S. Army, including two one-year deployments in Iraq and a one-year deployment in Afghanistan.

Josh Flora, assistant superintendent for business operation, said Christensen’s vast experience put his application at the top of those received.

Flora reported on progress being made to achieve other safety audit recommendations. Among the projects are double-entry doors being installed this summer at three schools: Mark Twain, Bess Truman and Carterville.

The safety auditor proclaimed substitute teachers as the weakest link in the district’s safety plan. In response, Flora reported that 56 substitute teachers attended a recent mandatory meeting devoted to safety procedures. “We actually received (helpful) feedback from them,” Flora told the board. A second chance for substitutes to obtain the mandatory training will be on July 11.

The district has received a $400,000 grant to fund safety projects.

Other summer projects include installation of a turf playground at Eugene Field Elementary and installation of a fence around the high school practice field.

Board members will hold a special meeting on Thursday, Jan. 22, to finalize the 2023-24 budget, which will take effect on July 1.

In his budget preview, Superintendent Tony Rossetti proposed a 2% pay increase for all staff, including the step increase for those on the salary ladder. That will cost $850,000. He said he’d like to provide a bigger pay increase, “but I don’t know where the additional revenue will come from.”

Salaries were raised 7.1% last year.

The lack of new students has been a mystery, and it continues. As a result, Rossetti said the largest source of income (from the state) hasn’t raised since 2020 because average daily attendance hasn’t increased.

Spending for new capital projects has practically come to an end, now that the $11 million bond issue – primarily for the high school expansion – is being spent and the capital improvement fund has been drawn down to pay for other projects.

In other action, the board:

• Renewed the contract with Paper for virtual tutoring, with the addition of career research, at a cost of $165,000. Brenten Byrd, assistant superintendent of instructional services, said an increasing number of students are taking advantage of Paper.

• Approved band director Butch Owens’ annual request to update band equipment.

• Accepted resignations from:

– Libbey Randles, high school special education.

– John Evans, middle school band.

– Chelsea Shearman, speech language pathologist.

• Offered contracts to:

– Elizabeth Monroe, special education at Eugene Field Elementary.

– Amber Moreland, pre-kindergarten at Heritage Preschool.

– Stephanie Taylor, high school Career Cardinal.

– Victoria Robertson, high school English language arts.

– Chase Bradfield, high school special education.

– Stephanie Dalrymple, English language learner teacher.

– Erica Baldwin, assistant band director.

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