The Carmi-White County School Board held its monthly meeting last night via “Google Meets” due to coronavirus restrictions.
Krista McLaren of Kemper CPA Group presented the school district audit for the fiscal year ending June 30th, 2020. The audit is not completely finished due to the fact the tax levy has not been finalized as of yet, but should be ready by December to approve. McLaren said all-in-all it was a good financial year.
Then, the board approved a resolution authorizing the abatement of the bond levy by $213,000, which is one-third of the revenue taken each year to pay down the existing bonds.
The board approved the purchase of a seven to nine passenger driver’s education vehicle from Jansen Ford & Chrysler in Carmi at a price of $25,887 and a five year lease-to-purchase of a 23-passenger mini bus at a price of $15,782.93 per year from Midwest Bus Sales in Litchfield, Illinois. Transportation Director Bart King noted that the district gets reimbursed by the state in a lease-for-purchase deal and it keeps a fresh new fleet of buses on the road.
In the Superintendent’s report, Brad Lee gave an update on the recent conflicting guidance from the ISHA and the IDPH regarding participation in the basketball season. The ISHA opted last October 28th to go forward with the season about 24 hours after the Governor held a board meeting to discuss the subject and decided to delay the start, due to it being a high-risk sport. He said the schools could lose funding and would face legal liability if they defied the IDPH’s order and ordered play to be held in the spring. The IHSA board of directors held a virtual meeting November 11th to review recent developments and will hold a regularly scheduled meeting this coming Thursday, November 19th. They are inviting representatives of the Governor’s office and the IDPH and others to attend. Lee and about 200 other school superintendents sent a letter to the Governor’s office asking all parties sit down and come to some kind of an agreement that everyone could live with. Black Diamond Conference athletic directors met last week and agreed to wait and see what comes up at the meeting Thursday and determine where we go from there. Board president Andy Acord said to wait until Thursday to see what comes up and maybe hold a special meeting if needed.
Students and staff at the Washington School participated in a service project, the “Sweats for Vets Drive.” They collected about 1,100 items including sweatshirts, sweat pants, socks, thermal underwear, slippers, gloves, hats, pajamas blankets and t-shirts to be delivered to the VA Hospital in Marion.
The Illinois State Board of Education Nutrition Department recently announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture will give schools a waiver extension to operate Summer Meals Programs through the end of the 2020-21 school year. This will allow free meals for all students through June 30, 2021.
The Absher Charitable Foundation has donated $66,470 to the district for the purchase of 20 ActivePanels. These will replace active boards and smart boards that are no longer functional.
Due to the decline of state revenues during this pandemic along with the failure of the graduated income tax to pass, they are being told to express a decrease in state funding of 5% in FY20 and 10% in FY21.
Total revenues for October were $1,044,677, including $53,494 from the one percent sales tax.
Dr. Amy Dixon reported on the 2020-2021 School Improvement plans that are developed each year. The documents developed by the school improvement teams in each building are the blueprints that guide the teaching learning process throughout the year. The board approved both the School Improvement Plans for each building and the district improvement plan. Dixon also said the Carmi Elks have teamed up with the company “Happy Feet” to provide shoes for students in need.
In other business, a leave of absence request from Danielle Kuhlmann was approved, beginning March 22, 2021 through the remainder of the 2020-21 school year utilizing accumulated sick days. She plans to return to work on the first day of the 2021-22 year; accepted letters of resignation from Cassandra Hunsinger as a Special Education Individual Aide at the high school effective this past November 3rd and from Bailey Winters as High School Assistant Softball Coach effective immediately; and accepted $66,970 in donations to the Brownsville School.
The board went into closed session at 7:50 PM.
In the Closed Session, Mike Zaranti was employed as the 6th Grade Girls’ Basketball Coach for the 2020-2021 school year to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Justin Simmons.
Katharine Stewart was employed as the High School Assistant Volleyball Coach for the 2020-2021 school year to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Chris Lucas.
Kelly Ackerman was appointed to fill the current vacated Carmi-White County CUSD #5 board member position.