CENTERBURG — The Centerburg school board started its Monday meeting with a moment of silence for Jennie Borton, a board member who passed away Aug. 27 from illness.

Borton was appointed in August 2018 to finish the term of Kristi Layton, a former school board member who moved out of the area.

“I think the biggest thing I remember is her smile,” said board president Tracey Myers. “Every time she came, no matter the circumstances, she was always willing to jump in and do whatever it took to get the job accomplished.”

The board is currently accepting applications for a member to finish Borton’s term, which expires in November 2021. Interested parties should submit a cover letter stating why they would like to serve as a school board member along with a resume or synopsis of their professional experience. Applications can be submitted to the board office at 119 South Preston Street.

Board members will interview candidates at a special board meeting Sept. 18. Superintendent Mike Hebenthal stated that the board has already received two applications and is expecting a third.

During his administrative update, Hebenthal shared that updates to the high school’s HVAC system are ongoing and will hopefully be finished by the end of the year.

He also informed the board that the district had received $82,000 in student wellness and success funds from the state budget. These funds will be used for multiple initiatives. One is the creation of a threat assessment security team, which will analyze the credibility of any security threats made by students or by individuals outside of school.

Another security measure being implemented by the district is a Vector emergency notification system. Each school employee will receive a pendant that can be worn around the neck, with a button that sends an alert to the building principal when pressed.

Building principals will have different pendants, with a button that can immediately summon law enforcement.

Hebenthal explained that while the pendants could be used in an armed shooter situation, they could also be helpful simply when a staff member needs assistance and can’t get to a phone. He offered the example of a teacher trying to separate two students during a fight.

The board also approved the employment of Carey Ballinger as the new high school guidance counselor.

“I’m confident things will go very well with the transition,” said Ryan Gallwitz, Centerburg High School principal.

Gallwitz shared that this year’s FAFSA Night will be held on Oct. 24 at 6:30 p.m. in the high school/middle school auditorium.

Additional business included:

•Approving the treasurer’s monthly report.

•Accepting various donations.

•Approving Pam Rike as district’s surrogate parent for disabled foster children.


Katie Ellington: 740-397-5333 or and on Twitter, @kt_ellington




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