By Kendra Hennis
The regular session portion of the meeting of the Tuscola Board of Education was called to order at 7:16 p.m. on Monday, January 24. The board began the meeting at 6 p.m. in closed session for the purposes defined in 5 ILCS 120/2 (c) (1)-personnel, 5 ILCS 120/2 (c) (2)-negotiating matters, and/or 5 ILCS 120/2 (c) (11)-pending litigation.
The board then heard a presentation from Jean Holmes on the Intro to Trade Career class. She explained that she had some extra time a few years ago and had pitched the idea to Mr. Bozarth to teach a class with more introduction to trades options for students. From there, they have collaborated ideas to create a class for students to have these opportunities. She explained that on different days students will do safety training, learn about trades, hear from guest speakers, and be able to complete their own projects. Holmes mentioned that she even has taken students down to the ag room so that they can work with tools. She said that the class has been really successful and beneficial for students. The board followed by thanking her for all of her hard work with the students and class.
East Prairie Principal Jared Vanausdoll followed with his report to the board. He stated that spelling bee finalists would be competing in the district spelling bee at Yoder’s Kitchen on Wednesday and included pictures to the board from a project Mrs. Goodman’s class had completed.
TCHS Principal Steve Fiscus then began his report to the board, stating that the spring musical had been rescheduled for March 17-20 with special performances for family and staff to be held March 15 and 16. He then thanked all of the staff and aides for all of their help over the school year with all of the staffing shortages. He added that if anyone in the public is available to assist with things like substitute teaching, he encourages them to reach out to the schools and see how they can contribute. Fiscus then sent a congratulations to Caleb Haste who finished in the top ten varsity scorers in the Scholastic Bowl conference tournament. He then mentioned that the school was hosting the girls basketball CIC tournament until Thursday and thanked all those who were assisting with that. He congratulated the girls and boys basketball teams for finishing runners-up in the Monticello Holiday Hoopla; and announced upcoming contests with girls playing in regionals beginning February 12, boys regionals on February 19, and girls 1A sectionals that is being hosted by Tuscola February 22-24. Fiscus announced that the Student Council had hosted the Kickapoo District Convention last week, and thanked First Christian Church for allowing the students to host the event there. He then notified the board that FFA Week would be held February 21-25; with Tractor Day on Feb. 22, a Teacher Appreciation Lunch on Feb. 23, and the FFA Barnyard on Feb. 25. Fiscus ended by noting that registration for next year’s classes would begin soon and that MAPS testing was being completed at the school.
North Ward Principal Jason Wallace followed exclaiming that North Ward’s Christmas program held last month was fantastic. He stated that students were in the middle of MAPS testing and that he was getting ready to finish evaluations. He noted that yearbook pictures were taken last week, that Joe’s Pizza fundraiser day would be held on Friday, and that students would be having 100 days of school celebrations on Friday and Valentine’s Day the Friday before the holiday. Wallace said that the Big Buddy program at the school was going well, and thanked Mr. Vanausdoll for his assistance with the program. He concluded thanking all of the North Ward staff for all of their hard work and assistance with covering classes and echoed Mr. Fiscus’ message that if anyone is interested in substitute teaching that they should contact the school.
Superintendent Gary Alexander then began his report to the board. He stated that finances were in good order and that he could tell that Love’s had helped the sales tax revenue, with it currently being up $120,000. He noted that some building updates needed to be completed at North Ward and that the heat in the office and library have been fixed. He thanked those for all of their donations this month. And sent a special shout out to First State Bank for their donation and the communities contribution through their use of the Warrior Card. Alexander explained that he had received and returned two FOIA requests. He also reminded the board that superintendent evaluations needed to be completed by them and sent to board president Brad Ingram. He informed the board that he needed two members to join the handbook committee and that their first meeting would be held February 8, and he encouraged any interested to notify him after the meeting. He explained that he believed it would be a good idea to look around at a new insurance and noted that if the board agreed he would need two members to assist. He ended with scheduling a special board meeting for Thursday in the East Prairie boardroom at 5 p.m.
The board also:
* Approved a $710.91 donation from First State Bank to Tuscola School District.
* Approved a $100 donation from Kaskaskia Ladies Golf to Help A Child.
* Approved an anonymous $100 donation for Help A Child.
* Approved an anonymous $250 donation for Social Skills.
* Approved a $150 donation from Downtown Design Studio for Help A Child.
* Approved a $100 donation from Chris Rennels for Scholastic Bowl.
* Approved a $250 donation from Ian and Suzanne Rominger for Help A Child.
* Approved a $400 donation from Ian and Suzanne Rominger for Social Skills.
* Approved a $100 donation from Ian and Suzanne Rominger for Scholastic Bowl.
* Approved a $150 donation from Ian and Suzanne Rominger for Help A Child.
* Approved a $123.07 donation from TE Connectivity – Ian Rominger for Social Skills.
* Approved a $1,500 donation from Arthur MCC Thrift Shop for Help A Child.
* Approved a $500 donation from Arthur MCC Thrift Shop for NW Backpack Buddy.
* Approved a $100 donation from Jessi Young for Scholastic Bowl.
* Approved a $100 donation from DeeAnn Bates for Help A Child.
* Approved a $100 donation from Bill and Andrea Englehardt for Help A Child.
* Approved a $200 donation from Casey Willoughby for Chorus.
* Approved a $750 donation from Eric Arsenaeu for the Marilyn Davidson Tech Fund.
* Approved a $400 donation from Benevity – Caleb Englebardt for TCHS Baseball.
* Approved a $500 donation from Moving Forward Advisory Council for the Warrior Store.
* Approved Administrative Policy Revisions 108.
* Approved the minutes from the December 16, 2021 regular board meeting.
* Approved the payment of bills in the amount of $853,958.62.
* Approved the monthly Treasurer and Bookkeeper’s Reports.
* Approved EP Builders Club and allowed an activity account to be opened.
* Approved an intergovernmental agreement with Mattoon School District for the LIFT Program.
* Approved the Seniority List for 2021-22.
* Approved the recommendation to destroy executive session recordings older than 18 months.
* Approved the recommendation to continue to seal the minutes and seal all previous executive session minutes.
* Discussed the first reading of the Risk Management Plan for 2022-23.
* Approved the resignation of Lacy Diaz as TCHS Cross Country Coach.
* Approved the resignation of Kim Beachy as technology assistant.
* Adjourned at 8:03 p.m. until the February board meeting.