In another sign that things are getting back to normal after the COVID 19 pandemic, there will no saliva testing at Riverside Elementary District 96 next year. The state-run SHIELD testing program will shut down at the end of the current school year. Currently only about 50 samples are taken each week, although approximately 150 people signed up for the tests.

As the national COVID emergency expires on May 11, the district will end the practice of notifying all the families in a classroom if one student in the class is diagnosed with COVID. 

Next year COVID will be treated just the same as any other illness.

Change in start time for Hauser

School will start 10 minutes earlier next year at L.J. Hauser Junior High School next year, going to 8:20 a.m. instead of at 8:30 a.m. During the 2020-21 school year the start time at Hauser was shifted to 8:30 a.m. from 8 a.m.  

“Since then, we have noted that many students continue to arrive early and take advantage of the before-school supervision available at Hauser,” Superintendent Martha Ryan-Toye wrote in a memo to the school board recommending moving the start time to 8:20 a.m. 

“We have also noted that the 8:30 start time has added some complexities in organizing for after-school professional learning and action teamwork based on the disparate end times between elementary (2:55 p.m.) and middle school (3:35 p.m.).”

Next year, the end of the day at Hauser will also be moved back 10 minutes with the dismissal bell ringing at 3:25 p.m.

Raises for administrators

Administrators in Riverside Elementary School District 96 will get 4% raises next year. The District 96 school board unanimously approved the raises on April 19.

Ryan-Toye will make $212,734 next year, while Director of Finance and Operations Jim Fitton will be the next most highly paid administrator making $158,528 next year. 

Director of Curriculum and Instruction Angela Dolezal will earn $153,910 and Director of Technology Don Tufano will make $153,365. 

Nora Geraghty, who will replace the retiring Pam Shaw as director of special education after serving this year as the associate director of special education, will make $138,320. Shaw is earning $158,782 this year.

Ames School Principal Todd Gierman will remain the highest paid principal in District 96 next year, making $142,082. Pete Gatz, the principal at Central School, will make $134,259. 

Hauser Principal April Mahy will make $133,328 and Blythe Park School Principal Casimira Gorman will be paid $128,471, while Hollywood School Principal Kim Heffner will make $128,450.

Chris Harvalis, the assistant principal at Hauser, will make $85,229. Harvalis, the only assistant principal in the district, only works a 10-month year. All the other administrators in District 96 have 12-month contacts.

School board member Wesley Muirheid, the head of the board’s personnel committee, praised the job that administrators did this year in working to implement the district’s strategic plan.

“We collectively agree that the administrative team did a great job of bringing the plan to light,” Muirheid said speaking for the entire school board.