Boys volleyball to make its debut at Independence

by Laura Bednar

Jan. 17 board of education meeting

Independence Board of Education members approved coaches’ contracts for spring sports, including baseball, softball, track and a newly formed boys volleyball team.

 Superintendent Ben Hegedish said the volleyball team would be a club sport, which means it will not have the status of a varsity sport and compete for a league championship. Practice has already started and the team will play against schools with longer-established volleyball programs.

“There is some energy and excitement on that,” Hegedish said.

The district covers the cost of officials, transportation and court time; the students are fundraising to purchase their uniforms. Boys volleyball players are also required to pay the school’s participation fee.

The number of students participating in track at middle school and high school has doubled, according to Hegedish. He said the district has the same number of coaches, six, who split time between middle school and high school meets. There is a $1,300 differential in pay between assistant and head coaches due to the number of students participating. One assistant coach outside of the six, Connie Aquilano, is designated for the middle school team only.

Board committees

Board members were assigned to specific committees for the 2023 calendar year. Ron Bernstein and Lynne Laski were assigned to the facilities committee; Joan Mencl and Carrie Sears to community connections; Bernstein and Mencl to finance; Laski and Andrea Marek to 21st-century teaching and learning; and Sears and Marek to student life.

Hegedish said the 21st-century learning committee will focus on new curriculum, and student life committee topics will include social-emotional learning.

Security cameras

Assistant Superintendent Tom Dreiling said staff members are in the process of writing specifications for new security cameras. He said in the next couple weeks an advertisement would go out for camera purchase and installation. Dreiling added that professionals from security camera companies visited the schools to offer expertise on camera location and type.

In other news

Third-graders at Independence Primary School had an 84% passage rate on state tests taken in the fall of 2022, according to Principal T.J. Ebert.

Preschool tuition fees for the 2023-24 school year were set at $1,600. Hegedish said this is in line with other school districts, according to an analysis by Independence staff. ∞