By Kendra Hennis
The meeting of the Villa Grove Board of Education was called to order at 6 p.m. The first order of business was a public hearing held for the purpose of waiver of limitation on administrative costs for fiscal year 2022. The hearing was necessary because the current school states, “school districts with administrative expenditures per pupil in the 25th percentile and below and for all districts of the same type, as defined by the State Board of Education, may waive the limitation impose under this section for any year with the affirmative vote of at least two-third of the members of the school board of the district.” It continues, “The administrative expenditures per pupil of this district are in or below the 25th percentile for districts of the same type for fiscal year 2020, the most recent year for which such date is available.” Following the hearing, the board approved adopting the resolution.
The board also approved making changes to the district handbook. Changes include those to semester exams. The policy will now state that, “All students must take final exams. The exceptions will be seniors who have an A or B both quarters in each class. Seniors may still have classes that per state requirements must take exams, but the teachers will inform the students of that early in the semester.” The school will also be returning to an eight-hour day with ASR/studyhall at the end of the day. Added under excused absences is the statement, “After one mental health day, you must make an appointment with a counselor at school.” The tardiness policy was also updated at the school. Consequences will now be changed to: first tardy – verbal warning, second tardy – lunch detention with principal, third tardy – 30 minutes after school detention, fourth tardy – 60 minus after school detention, fifth tardy – in school detention, and sixth tardy – becomes and unexcused absence. Under classroom expectations, it was added that “Students who are removed from class will serve detention with the principal or teacher and that following consequences will be assigned based on circumstances and conversations with teachers up to losing credit for the class for repeat offenses.” Finally, under cell phone use, it was added that “Using a cellular phone, video recording device, personal digital assistance, or other electronic device in any way that disrupts the education environment or violates the rights of others, including using the device to take photographs in locker rooms or bathrooms, cheat, signal others, or otherwise violate student conduct rules. Unless otherwise banned under this policy or by building principal, all cell phones must be kept powered off and out of sight during the regular school day unless:(a) the Principal or designee grants permission, (b) use of the device is provided in the student’s IEP or 504 or (c) it is needed in an emergency that threatens the safety of students, staff or other individuals.”
Superintendent Carol Muson then gave her report to the board. She reported the employee insurance renewal rates. She also informed the board that the Joint Annual Conference will be held in Chicago on November 18-20. She asked any board members that were interested to let her know so she could get them registered.
Munson also presented to the board the property/casualty/liability insurance renewals for the school. Some of the changes include the Blanket Limit and Statement of Values (SOV) have been reviewed with Administration, and the values have increased to better reflect Replacement Cost Values, also increased to $34,459,002 per the district’s request. Under the Island Marine, the district requested to remove the 2008 4×2 Gator with a Power Lift, Dumb, Bed & Draw Bar with a value of $4,800, they also added a Gator SxS with a value of $7,000. The Worker’s Compensation payrolls were modified per the District’s request. The 8868 Class Code (Colleagues or Schools, Teachers) payroll increased from $3,590,259 to $3,787,194 and the 7380 Class Code (Drivers, Chauffeurs, & Helpers) payroll increased from $162,656 or $191,905. The 9101 Class Code (All Other Employees) payroll decreased from $289,604 to $275,855. The Worker’s Compensation rates were decreased for the renewal. The Experience Modification Rating remained at 0.79 from 2021 to 2022. The statement from Bushue HR, Inc. states “This renewal reflects an increase in premium, attributable to the increase to the Property values, the recent Property Claim, increased cost of building materials, increase in Workers Compensation payrolls and the overall hardening of the Insurance Market(s) and their scheduled modifications over the last few years. The increase is in the amount of $15,656 which is 8.98 percent above the expiring.”
Elementary Principal Bobby Beck followed with his report; first congratulating students of the month Oliver Garza (kindergarten), Liliana Messer (first grade), Sofia Chandler (second grade), Cooper Leith (third grade), Knowlton Eckhardt (fourth grade), Yetsay Briones (fifth grade), and Trinity Zimmerman (sixth grade). He then sent a thank you to Ms. Cardiff and all first through third grade performers for a great concert. Beck also sent a thank you to Mrs. Burwell the other coaches and congratulations to students who competed in the Special Olympics. He stated that the students had a great day and earned two bronze, four silver, and eight gold medals! Beck then gave thanks to the PTO for treating staff during Teacher Appreciation Week, Mrs. Block of all of her hard work and planning of the Blue Devil Classic and Field Day, and a thank you to PTO for providing Kona Ice at the events. He stated kindergarten through third graders enjoyed a field day and that fourth through sixth graders participated in the Blue Devil Classic on May 13. Beck said that a School Safety Meeting was held May 16, that the SOAR committee had met and sent information to parents for K-6th students for the June program, and that information will be sent out to parents soon for the Summer Tutoring Program for third through sixth graders. Beck ended stating some upcoming dates at the school: kindergarten and second grade park day on May 24, sixth grade park day on May 27, third grade picnic at school on May 27, no school on May 30, last day of attendant on May 31, and teacher’s institute on June 13.
Junior High and High School Principal Sara Jones followed with her report. She led with congratulations to May Student of the Month Amelia Williams. Thanked Mr. Swan, class sponsors, parents and students for an amazing prom; as well as Mr. Swan and Mr. Cordes for chaperoning the post prom trip to Six Flags. Jones also thanked Mr. Sims and Mrs. Alexander for another wonderful Honors Banquet, Mrs. Parr and the FFA on the FFA Banquet, and Mrs. Weers and Mr. Rittman for organizing the Senior Class Trip. She then thanked and congratulated Ms. Cardiff and Mr. Napolitano on the spring choir and band concerts, thanked Mrs. Werts and Mrs. Schweighart for testing the science students for the state assessment, thanked the PTO for the Teacher Appreciation Week, and thanked all of the high school teachers and parents for attending freshman orientation. Jones additionally thanked Mrs. Eversole on planning, organizing, and writing grants for the eighth grade trip to Springfield; and said that it was a wonderful learning experience for all students. Jones ended with some upcoming dates for students: last day for seniors on May 20, Senior Sunset on May 20 from 7 to 8:30, jh science canoe trip on May 24, Senior Walk on May 25 (followed by pictures, practice, etc.), 8th grade promotion on May 26 at 7 p.m., finals May 26 and 27, Alumni Open House on May 28 from 2 to 5 p.m., graduation on May 29 at 2 p.m., no school on May 30, students last day of attendance on May 31, and teacher’s institute on June 1.
The board also:
* Approved the minutes of the April 18, 2022 regular meeting.
* Approved the closed session minutes of the April 18, 2022 regular meeting.
* Approved the authorization of the payment of bills.
* Approved the monthly treasurer’s report.
* Approved the amended budget for tentative display for fiscal year ending June 30, 2022.
* Approved renewal of membership with the IESA.
* Approved the Board of Education meeting dates for fiscal year 2022-23. Board meetings will be held July 18, August 15, October 17, November 21, and December 19 in 2022. And 2023 meetings will be January 17, February 21, March 20, April 17, and May 15.
* Approved the Consolidated District Plan.
* Approved all annual fees and meal proves.
* Approved the termination of transportation fees.
* Approved moving to closed session to discuss the appointment, employment, compensation, resignation, discipline, performance, or dismissal of specific employees of the public body or legal counsel for the public body, including hearing testimony on a complaint against an employee of the public body or against legal counsel for the public body to determine its validity and/or the discussion of specific students.
* Approved adjoining until the June 20 Board of Education meeting.