School year off to a smooth start

Photo by Bobbie Hayse | McLean County News Kelsey Daugherty kisses her son, Lucas, 6, goodbye Aug. 7 on his first day of kindergarten at Livermore Elementary School.

Kimbra Payne said the first day of kindergarten can go one of three ways.

Payne, a kindergarten teacher at Livermore Elementary School, said on Aug. 7 that kids are sometimes overwhelmed and upset for their first day, or they are completely fine and want their parents to leave.

"Or it's the parents that are crying," she said. "It's polar opposites."

Payne and other teachers were ready to bring students into their classrooms for the 2019-20 school year. As new tennis shoes squeaked on the recently-waxed floor and kids placed their new backpacks into cubby holes LES Principal Carrie Ellis greeted kids as they came in.

"We are ready for them," she said, smiling at each familiar and new face.

Tommy Burrough, MCPS superintendent, said so far, this year has "gone really smooth."

As of Monday the district was only two students short from last year's ending numbers, placing enrolling right at 1,448, which Burrough said is "a positive note."

"Hopefully the numbers will go up by the end of this week," he said.

Overall, he said, the district is in dire need of substitute teachers and bus drivers, much like other surrounding districts.

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Schools are fully staffed, however, except for the JROTC position at the high school, which requires assistance from the military.

More than that, Burrough said, the district is staffed with "maturity and experience," with some retired teachers coming back to work, as well as transfers from neighboring districts.

"Having a full staff is really positive because I know a bunch of districts do not have full staff," he said.

He said the district likes to have teachers "come back home" to teach, "and they are starting to."

Ashley Troutman, MCPS assistant superintendent, said things ran smoothly for students' first day back.

He said Burrough was in every school on opening day and reported that things were going well.

Troutman, who is also the district's transportation director, also said no issues have been reported regarding rides to school.

Bobbie Hayse, bhayse@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7315.

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