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Tuscola Board of Education approves 2021-22 budget

By Kendra Hennis 
The meeting of the Tuscola Board of Education was called to order at 7 p.m. on Monday, June 27. The meeting began with a budget hearing to discuss the final 2021-22 budget. The budget was placed on display for the last 30 days at the school. There was no public comment on the budget and the hearing was adjourned at 7:02 p.m., and the board moved to an open session. During later open session of the meeting, the board approved the final amended budget for the 2021-22 school year. 

Upon return to open session, the board heard an update on construction at the school from OMNI. They stated that things have been going well at the schools. They were able to begin construction the last week of school, and are currently wrapping up at East Prairie. At TCHS, they are currently completing demolition. It was noted that they are currently on schedule, with plans for teachers to return on August 10 and students on August 16. 

East Prairie Principal Jared Vanausdoll then provided his report to the board. He began with a big thank you to all of the staff for their hard work during the school year, and especially the last week of school. He thanked Mrs. Brandenburg for all of her hard work with getting students schedules for next year, the summer staff for all of their work at the school, and to the board members who attended promotion. 

Following, Tuscola High School Principal Steve Fiscus gave his report to the board. He congratulated TCHS student Chris Boyd for placing second in shot put at the IHSA State Track & Field meet, as well as all of the other athletes who qualified. He sent a big thank-you to the board, staff, and all others who attended graduation. Fiscus also sent a thank you to all who helped with all of the events that last week of school. He noted that he is excited to see all of the upgrades at the school, that the high school gym will close in July to refinish the floor, and that fall sports will begin on August 8. Fiscus stated that freshman orientation is tentatively scheduled for August 9 at 7 p.m., and that the first day of school is set for August 16.

North Ward Principal Jason Wallace then gave his report to the board. He noted that the school finished up the year strong, and thanked all for making it possible. Wallace also stated that schedules were finished up for students and that he hoped that they would have all staff hired soon. 

Superintendent Gary Alexander followed with his report. He stated that it has been a great year for sales tax money, with the school receiving $899,144.82 this year. He noted that these additional funds have been helpful with finances and capital improvement projects. Alexander stated that summer work is moving at a good pace, with the school crew working at North Ward now and OMNI on a good track with projects. He noted that three board members had expressed interest in the annual joint conference and had been registered. He sent a reminder that the federal government had not reinstated their free breakfast and lunch programs, so students who did not fall under the guildenes would have to pay in the upcoming school year. Alexander also reminded all that the referendum for voting for board members was on this year’s ballot. He noted that if it is passed and board members are moved to be voted at-large, that all members will be up for re-election. 

The board also: 
* Heard public comment from Ella Maxfield, TCHS student. Maxfield asked the board to consider the addition of a school swim team. She noted that she is really involved in the sport and that she believes it would be a good option for other students. Maxfield also stressed that it is very helpful to be affiliated with a school to compete at higher competitions, like sectionals and state. Maxfield noted that she hopes the board will consider the idea and hopes that she will have the chance to compete for the school. 

* Accepted a $150 and $750 donation from Ian Rominger/TE Connectivity for TCHS Social Skills.

* Accepted a $500 donation from Wade and Michelle Wilcox for softball concessions.

* Accepted a $200 donation from Victory Church for Help A Child.

* Accepted a $10,000 donation from Mark and Jody Furlong/BMO for HS Boys Basketball.

* Accepted a $250 donation from Cast Iron Pub-Kenny Hogue for Drama Club. 

* Accepted a $179 donation from Drew and Christy Hoel for HS Track.

* Accepted a $3,600 donation from Music Boosters for Help A Child.

* Accepted a $250 donation from Brad and Terry Hornaday for TCHS end of year picnic.

* Accepted a $100 donation from Ford of Tuscola, a $250 donation from Chris and Kristi Townsend, a $100 from John Davis Inc., a $100 donation from the Class of 2022 Parent Group, a $100 donation from Ellen Tubbs, a $100 donation from Melissa Jones-Bromenshenkel, a $250 donation from First Christian Church of Tuscola, a $1,000 donation from Tuscola Kiwanis, and a $250 donation from Kona Ice. 

* Approved the minutes from the May 23, 2022 regular meeting.

* Approved the payment of bills in the amount of $1,417,864..45. 

* Approved the monthly Treasurer and Bookkeeper’s reports. 

* Approved closing the Class of 2022 Activity Fund and opening the Class of 2026 Activity Fund on July 1, 2022.

* Approved closing the Dietrich Memorial account.

* Approved district insurance

* Approved a resolution authorizing the filing of request to Intervene. 

* Approved the Aramark Contract for 2022-23.

* Heard the first reading of Policy 109

* Approved moving to closed session for the purposes defined in 5 ILCS 120/2 (c) (1)-personnel, 5 ILCS 120/2 (c) (2)-negotiating matters, 5 ILCS 120/2 (c) (11)-pending litigation. 

* Approved the resignation of Cassie Rennels as guidance counselor. 

* Approved the resignation of Wendy Wallace as TCHS educator.

* Approved the resignation of Adam Carver as TCHS head baseball coach.

* Approved the resignation of Josh Shelmadine as TCHS assistant baseball coach.

* Approved the resignation of Emma Silver as paraprofessional.

* Approved the resignation of Natasha Martin as paraprofessional.

* Approved the hiring of Jeri Cardiff as TCHS/EP Chorus teacher. 

* Approved the hiring of Bryan Thomas as Special Ed Teacher.

* Approved the hiring of Beth Gibson as Special Ed Teacher.

* Approved the hiring of Jo Grgurich as Special Ed Teacher.

* Approved the hiring of Nicholle Shay as East Prairie PE Teacher, EP Athletic Director, and Junior High assistant girls basketball coach. 

* Approved the hiring of Michelle Thurber as paraprofessional. 

* Approved the hiring of Emily Scribner as paraprofessional.

* Approved the hiring of Beth Pugh as TCHS girls cross country coach.

* Approved the hiring of Bart Brewer as Junior High girls head basketball coach. 

* Approved the non-certified salary schedule of 2022-23.

* Approved adjourning until the July 25 board of education meeting.

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