Mexico Public Schools experienced a shortage of available substitute teachers over the past academic year, according to a recent presentation.

Jennifer Barnett, a science teacher at Mexico Middle School, presented a 2018 year in review on behalf of the Salary and Welfare Committee at Tuesday’s board of education meeting and stated that the lack of substitute teachers is becoming an issue because “sometimes taking a day off isn’t an option.” She also made the board aware of several glitches in the software used to contact substitute teachers, including the program skipping over names and not calling available individuals.

A number of other concerns were voiced Tuesday including the need to develop a new position to address student behavior issues.

“The classrooms we see today are not the classrooms we were in a few years ago,” Barnett said. She said they were not sure where the position would be focussed but stated that they would like to begin by providing additional behavioral support in the lower grade levels.

The Board of Education also approved two new partnerships during the meeting:

A partnership between Mexico Public Schools and the Arthur Center to provide free dental services to student in need; a pilot program will begin next year for second grade students and will eventually expand to the entire district

Kerri Ferrari presented information about the Jobs for America’s Graduates program, designed to boost graduation rates and assist with the transition to life after high school; the board gave approval to pursue the program

Four retirements in the district were also celebrated Tuesday: Keith Louder (31 years in Mexico); Michelle Whanger (23 years); Mary Beardslee (19 years); and Julie Robinson (15 years).

The Board of Education’s next work session will be held on June 11 at 6 p.m.

ssabatke@mexicoledger.com