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VG BOE gears up for 2022-23 academic year

By Gabriella Agius
The Villa Grove Board of Education met on August 15, 2022 at 6 p.m. The Board approved previous meeting minutes, including both open and closed sessions, and authorized bill payment. 

Superintendent Dr. Carol Munson discussed the budget for the year. The budget is balanced with an increase this year for Evidence Based Funding. There is currently a positive balance for ED funding due to open teaching positions in the district. These positions include Junior High Special Education, Elementary Music, and a Guidance Counselor/Social Worker. The transportation fund for the district is positive, auditors stating that it is “one of the few districts that has been in the black” as far as transportation. Fuel costs can add to the decrease in this budget.

For the Superintendent’s report, Dr. Munson began by stating the audit for the district was completed as of August 2nd. Final reporting will come in October. For Return to School protocol, nothing has changed as of the end of last academic year. Student and employee absences due to COVID will now be run through the school nurse, not the health department. President Jim Clark noted, “we are pretty much back to normal.”

Dr. Munson continued with the report noting that the panic buttons in district offices aren’t actively working and need to be updated. Panic buttons are used in the case of emergency, dispatching police to the district. The district will work with Securitas to update this feature. The district has been having an issue with football official shortages, having to adjust a home and away game. Principal Sarah Jones noted that the date for the district’s Homecoming has not changed, just the football game date. 

Clark added that he and Dr. Munson are also looking at more ways to improve security for the district, working with local law enforcement. The district is in “better shape than most,” being the only district in Douglas County with a Student Resource Officer. 

For the junior high and high school principal’s report, Jones thanked alumni Amelia Williams for painting and fixing the hardware in the district’s high school restrooms as part of her Girl Scout Silver project. One of her past projects includes the Little Free Pantry, which helps supply food to the community. Jones noted the pantry needs donations more in the summer, due to students not eating at school. The district has thirteen new high school and five new junior high students this year. On August 16, the high school seniors will participate in “Senior Sunrise,” to start the school year. The senior class is comprised of thirty-five individuals. 

For the elementary principal’s report, Principal Bobby Beck indicated there are fourteen new students for the district’s elementary. Beck thanked the staff and custodial staff for their hard work this summer. The district used online registration this year through TeacherEase, Beck noting there were a few minor issues with parents being double-charged. The issue was fixed early on and parents received refunds if the issue occurred in their registration. The district brought back in-person registration for new students. The district had another successful school supply drive in partnership with the Villa Grove Ministerial Alliance, giving 158 students school supplies to begin the new year. On August 8, the district had new teacher orientation. For building updates, the new gym will get new sound installed at the end of August and the school has better internet, speeds increasing 6 times the amount. 

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