Tuscola School Board approves balanced budget

By Kayleigh Rahn
The Tuscola School Board, during its meeting Monday, Sept. 30, approved the 2019-2020 budget that shows the district will receive $370,911 more in revenue over expenses. 

The budget was available for public review over the last 30 days, though Supt. Gary Alexander said no one stopped by for a look.

“Sometimes your needs change during the school year, so your budget could change during the school year,” Alexander said. “Every time I do a budget I hope that we are giving our students and staff what they need while being fiscally responsible to our taxpayers.”

Alexander cautioned the board to be aware that $262,490 of the positive fund balance is from the capital fund. 

During his monthly report, Alexander added to the financial discussion saying the current budget has continued on an upward trend overall. Also in his report, Alexander, with comments contributed by TCHS Principal Steve Fiscus, said that a rare fungus has taken over the west end of the football field. The lawn care crew will continue treatments to improve the field, though it could be several months before the ground cover recovers.

Alexander also thanked the teachers who paid to wear jeans on Fridays, which raised $1,830 that will be distributed to area organizations on the faculty’s suggestions.

Finally, Alexander told the board that a leak has been discovered within a domestic waterline at North Ward Elementary School. The leak, while minor, has been running for quite some time, which resulted in its recent discovery. The leak is currently being corralled within a pan under the watchful eyes of the custodial staff. A permanent fix will be completed Oct. 19 while students are out of school as water to the building will need to be shut down for the work to take place.

Principal Reports

During his monthly report, Fiscus introduced a new agriculture teacher who will join the ranks at TCHS this fall. With her help, the agriculture department will expand its offerings to better serve a growing number of students who are interested in the trades and agriculture-related fields, Fiscus said. He also noted that the Homecoming dance went off without a hitch, and the high school choirs will soon attend a Youth in Harmony concert. He also noted the success of Warrior athletics with postseason selections on the horizon. 

East Prairie Principal Carol Munson reported that the first six weeks of school have passed quickly with seventh and eighth grade girls’ basketball underway. Parent Teacher Conferences will take place in October, and she thanked Tuscola Woman’s Club for their thoughtfulness to provide food for the staff.

Finally, North Ward Principal Jason Wallace reported that upcoming changes to the way first and second grade PE is graded may come to the board soon. Also, he touched on the execution of Title I grants, a successful, yet chaotic, Grandparents’ Day, and Student of the Month honorees. 

Wallace announced the PTO Tiger Trot, which will take place Friday, Oct. 4, brought in $18,500, of which $13,000 was raised by the students.

Wallace also mentioned positive feedback received from social-emotional learning time, and noted that Parent Teacher Conferences and the annual book fair will take place in the coming weeks.

In other business, the board:

• Accepted a donation from James and Jessi Young in the amount of $13,420

• Learned the Eastern Illinois Foodbank Cola Wars Tackle Hunger food drive raised 18,114 meals for area residents who are food insecure.

• Learned Board Member Darold Spillman received 67 pages of information regarding the board’s study of the current board election process. He said he will have time to review the information in the coming weeks.

• Approved the resignation of Lacy Diaz as high school girls’ track coach.

• Approved the resignation of Alex Kemp as high school assistant track coach.

• Approved a written statement from a recent 24-24 hearing that resulted in the ban of a community member from school grounds.

• Tabeled action related to the Superintendent Evaluation Instrument.

• Entered into closed session to discuss personnel, collective negotiating, security, and student discipline.

• Approved a memorandum of understanding with Tuscola Education Association to allow the behind the wheel instructor to join the salary schedule.

• Approved the minutes from the Aug. 26 meeting.

• Approved the minutes from the Sept. 5 special meeting.

• Approved the payment of bills in the amount $839,626.26

• Approved the monthly reports of the treasurer and bookkeeper.

• Approved the closure of the student activity account for Science Olympiad.

• Approved the closure of the student activity account for Math Team.

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