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VG Schools discuss updating radio and safety plan

By Kendra Hennis 
The Villa Grove Board of Education met for their monthly meeting on November 18 at 6 p.m. The first order of business was a presentation from Barbeck Communications for the district radio and safety plan, which will need updated in the near future. Villa Grove currently uses a VHF system. This can be a problem because this system is not secure and allows access to the public, since anyone in the area would have access to listen to the things happening inside of the schools. There is also an issue with the fact that the current radios cannot even be serviced inside of the U.S. due to an issue with encryption. This system entails cameras, radios, and access control. 

Brit Miller presented on behalf of Barbeck Communications and said that “one of the things I look for is efficiency, and I know that I can make a difference and we can change how we communicate more effectively very quickly.” He suggests moving to a UHF system, which would allow for a much more safe, efficient, and clear mode of digital communication. 

Board member Jim Clark suggested a second quote, and the board will get that and then bring back this issue to discuss. 

In other business, following their findings from the pole inspection, they found that two of the poles needed replaced at the softball field, and that the football field was in good shape. They recommended that the poles should be replaced in the near future, as it is easier when the ground is hard. They will also be moving forward with phase two of the sound system update for the new gym.

During his Superintendent’s Report, Mr. Tracy announced that the audit presentation would be available at the December 16 meeting. He then  reminded the board the two-hour late starts are still an option for this upcoming year in the event of incliment weather. He also noted that the PRESS Plus Issue 102 would be forthcoming. 

During his Principal’s Report, Elementary School Principal Mr. Beck presented the school’s state report card results. Villa Grove received a commendable rating, meaning that the school has no underperforming student groups, a graduation rate greater than sixty-seven percent, but their performance is not in the top ten percent of schools statewide. He also announced the students of the month: Ashton Costa, Lyla Finke, Addison Obenland, Sophia Smith, Jacob Christman, Rebekah Bloom, and Allison Eisenmenger. He then  announced that Ms. Clapp was selected as the November teacher of the month. He also reported that parent teacher conferences had a high turn out and was very successful. Mr. Beck also sent out a big thank you to Mrs. Cardiff and the students for a wonderful variety show; Amy Malin and Amber Osbourne and Villa Grove State Bank for a successful Red Ribbon Week; and Mrs. Howard and all of the other teachers for a excellent Veteran’s Day assembly. 

During her Principal’s Report, Junior High and High School Principal Mrs. Jones presented the school’s state report card. On the Junior High side, the school will be holding their first dance on Friday, November 22 from 7 to 9 p.m. and the theme is the 80’s. The boys basketball team is off to a good start, and the girls basketball team has had a fun season, with their Eighth grade night being held on Tuesday, November 12. 

On the High School side, Mrs. Jones send congratulations to the football team for making it to Play-offs, noted on students attending the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, IN, and sent a shout out to English Teacher Mr. Kestner who had forty-five parents attend parent teacher conferences, the highest High School Teacher attendance by parents in recent years. High School Graduation has also been set for Friday, May 22. 

In other business, the board:

– Approved the minutes of the regular meeting on October 21, 2019.

– Approved a motion to consider approval of resolution, tax abatement for G.O./Alternative Revenue Source, Series 2019A. 

– Approved the closed session minutes from the regular meeting on October 21, 2019.

– Entered into closed session to discuss personnel. 

– Recognized Tyler Drake for his successful completion of the SRO Training Course. 

– Authorized the payment of bills. 

– Adjourned until the next meeting held on December 16 at 6 p.m. 

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