The KSD BOE received comments from Kirkwood residents about education and literature in libraries and classrooms, as well as continued mask mandates at their meeting Monday, Oct. 25. The District Communication Plan, aiming to improve relations between the district and the community, gained approval, along with the September financial statement and audit report. The board also addressed KSD enrollment trends and COVID-19-related concerns.
Steph Deidrick, KSD chief communications officer, presented the District Strategic Communication Plan and outlined the district’s focus on communication and community engagement. There will be a committee of teachers and administrators to implement the plan. According to Deidrick, a content calendar will ensure strategic decisions, require planning with a purpose and allow for consistency. The committee will look at analytics to judge the effectiveness of the plan, but does not have a clear way for community members to give feedback at this time.
Dr. Matt Bailey, assistant superintendent of student services, presented KSD enrollment trends, discussing the effects of COVID-19. Total enrollment has increased over the past 10 years, with the elementary student population exceeding the projected number for the 2021-22 school year. The BOE also discussed extending the terms of current long-term substitutes and bringing on new staff members to help administer COVID-19 rapid tests and assist the current nursing staff.
The September financial statement received approval by the BOE. The District Audit Report was presented and no findings were brought forth relating to state compliance or internal control elements.
One Kirkwood resident expressed concerns about critical race theory “indoctrination” in KSD. Another noted the recent discrepancies between the approved KSD curriculum and actual teachings. Two community members said there are issues with the literature in KSD libraries and classrooms, including pornographic material and religious suppression. Another Kirkwood resident expressed frustrations with the mask policies, as well as students talking one-on-one with mental health professionals without parental approval.