Hinsdale District 86 hires registered nurses with status change

school nurse
AP file photo

Hinsdale High School District 86 will expand its nursing staff from two certified school nurses to four registered nurses.

Some people have raised concerns about registered nurses not having the same training and education as certified school nurses, but Human Resources Director Domenico Maniscalco said all four nurses have school experience.

He also said the Illinois State Board of Education offers a six-week course on the Internet for nurses that would authorize them to meet the legal requirement for participating in Individual Education Plan and meetings where students’ needs for special education services are evaluated.

The plan for next year is to have a nurse at each school authorized to attend those meetings.

With the retirement of the two certified school nurses, one at each high school, district officials recommended replacing them with registered nurses with lower salaries.

The district pays the two school nurses a total of $254,774 in salary and benefits, Maniscalco reported.

In addition, a nurse’s aid, who earns between $42,000 and $44,020 each, is assigned to each high school.

A registered nurse, Karen Banks, also currently works at the Transition Center, earning $68,119.

For next school year, the District 86 School Board at its Monday meeting approved hiring Banks as the head registered nurse at Hinsdale South for $72,458 in salary and benefits.

A registered nurse, Cecelia Littlefield, also was hired as the head nurse at Hinsdale Central for the same compensation.

The nurse’s aid at each school will be replaced with a registered nurse, earning $62,458 in salary and benefits.

Maniscalco said the large student body at Central and the number of students receiving special education services at South warranted having two nurses at each school.

More than 30 registered nurses applied for the positions, Maniscalco said.

The current nurse’s aid at South, Mary Baumbach, will be promoted to school nurse at South.

The nurse’s aid at Central will continue to earn the same salary, $44,017, as a health records assistant.

Debra Sansone, who is retiring as the certified school nurse at Hinsdale South, said certified school nurses are more qualified to care for the myriad of students and staff who come to the nurse’s office each day.

The certification requires a 300-hour internship under the direct supervision of a certified school nurse. It also requires additional education, which covers treating people for asthma, life-threatening allergies, seizures and diabetes.

During the public comment period of the June 2 meeting, Sansone told the board that of the 30 school nurse positions advertised on the Illinois Association of School Nurses website, 24 schools are seeking a certified school nurse.

District administrators determined a full-time registered nurse is not necessary at the Transition Center, which is attended by special ed students who have graduated high school. Instead that position will be filled with a medical paraprofessional who can serve as an aid or provide medical services as needed. The compensation for the paraprofessional is estimated to be about $28,000 less than the nurse’s.

Despite having four nurses in the district next year instead of two, and increasing the overall staff by one position, district administrators forecast a savings of $55,900 over the current personnel costs.

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