The board members discussed the school building situation. The open houses on the three elementary buildings have taken place. Superintendent Brad Lee thanked those serving on the “Building Pride for Future Bulldogs” committee for their dedication to the process. Community members toured the facilities and asked questions about the three options available. They are: put a referendum on the ballot in March; not have a referendum and build a new school; or wait for the possibility of receiving state funding around next April. A financial consultant answered questions concerning funding options to improve the elementary schools. And those attending were asked to provide feedback on the options presented through a survey. Of the approximately 200 people taking the survey, 71% of them picked building a new school. The committee will meet on Wednesday and discuss the options.
Dr. Amy Dixon gave an overview of the 2019-20 School Improvement Plans that are developed each year. District students are performing above the state average, with the exception of students with disabilities, who are slightly under performing at the junior high level. The district attendance rate is at 95%, while the state average is 94%, and they are increasing their goal for next year to 96%. The board approved the school improvement plan for each building as well as the district improvement plan.
Kristal McLaren of Kemper CPA presented the audit for the fiscal year ending June 30th 2019. She said the district is in very good financial condition and there were no problems recording the audit.
A resolution was approved authorizing abatement of the bond levy for bonds issued in levy year 2019 in the amount of $230,000.
The board agreed to base next year’s tax levy on a projected EAV of $150,453,172. The final projected total tax rate of 3.839 is lower than last year’s rate of 3.957, although the figure could change as more information becomes available. Adopted was a preliminary report, with final approval at the December board meeting.
The district received $730,000 in revenue from the state, including just under $60,000 from the 1% sales tax for the month of October.
In the superintendent’s report, Brad Lee said students at Washington School participated in a service project leading up to Veteran’s Day, starting a Sweats for Vet’s Drive for veterans in the VA hospital in Marion. They collected over a thousand items, including sweatshirts, sweatpants, socks, gloves, blankets and t-shirts.
Friday, November 15th was School Board Members Day in Illinois.
And several teachers received $300 grants from the Chamber of Commerce and $500 grants from the White County Retired Teachers Association.
In other business, the board approved final action on adoption of a board policy to define service animals and therapy animals; declared two buses and a pickup truck surplus property. If possible, these old vehicles will be sold by sealed bid; accepted the retirement of John Bingman as a building custodian at Carmi White County Junior/Senior High School effective December 31st; the resignations of Tomas Brandt as fifth grade boy’s basketball coach effective this past November 2nd and Cassie Eaton as a Pre-Kindergarten Classroom Aide at Washington School effective November 22 and accepted $4,125 in donations to the Brownsville School.
The board went into closed session to discus personnel at 8:15 PM.
In the closed session, the Board voted to employ Mike Zaranti as the 5th Grade Girl’s Basketball Coach for the 2019-2020 school year to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Justin Simmons. Justin Simmons was employed as the 6th Grade Girls’ Basketball Coach for the 2019-2020 school year to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Mike Zaranti. Jonathan Goemaat was employed as a Building Custodian at the Carmi-White County Junior/Senior High School for the 2019-2020 school year to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Jeremiah Downen. Laura Geoemaat was employed as the District Bookkeeper for the 2019-2020 school year to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Sheila Napier. Joy McCully was employed as the Administrative Secretary at the Unit Office for the 2019-2020 school year to fill the vacancy created by the reassignment of Laura Goemaat. The board also voted to increase the salaries of the Unit Office Staff and Director of Maintenance. A motion was made an unanimously passed that Amy Atteberry, Washington Attendance Center Principal; Dr. Amy Dixon, Lincoln and Jefferson High Principal/High School Assistant Principal; Jarrod Newell, High School Principal; and Kathy Price, Brownsville Attendance Center Principal receive a 2% increase in their salaries for the 2019-2020 school year.