Summary of the February 26, 2019 Board of Education Meeting

Summary of the February 26, 2019 Board of Education Meeting

Homer Community Consolidated School District

Board of Education - Regular Meeting

February 26, 2019


Homer Council Reports:

Mrs. Cathy Clayton, Co-President, representing the Homer Council, stated that Tuesday was a teacher institute day. The teachers appreciated the time to collaborate with colleagues. She mentioned that they were preparing for negotiations. Mrs. Clayton also shared that it was great to see all the red shirts in the audience.

Mrs. Susan Koziarski, Co-President, representing the Homer Support Staff Council, reported that support staff were excited to meet the new Goodings Grove principal. She expressed that support staff will miss Mrs. Ann Christie.

Approved Leave of Absences:

● Shelly Strahanoski - Third grade teacher at Butler School - eff. 4/8/19 - 5/28/19, returning 5/29/19

● Sarah Flentge - Special education teacher at Homer Jr. High School - eff. 3/1/19 - 3/29/19, returning 4/8/19

● Jacob Gage - Third grade teacher at Goodings Grove - eff. 4/8/19 - 5/3/19, returning on 5/6/19

● Jennifer Donahue - Special education resource teacher at Hadley Middle School - extended leave eff. 3/1/19 - 6/10/19

● Antoinette Smolen - Bus driver at Transportation - eff. 2/28/19 - 3/8/19

Approved Employment Recommendations:

● Amanda Monahan - 7th and 8th grade gifted math and science teacher at Homer Jr. High School

● Laura Giovanneti - Special education paraprofessional at Hadley Middle School - eff. 2/27/19

● Jill Walsh - Lunchroom monitor at Butler School

● Megan Aiken - Lunchroom monitor at Butler School - eff. 3/4/19

● Henry DeBoer - Bus driver at Transportation - eff. 2/27/19, dependent upon successfully completing his criminal background check

● Richard Romeli - Bus Driver at Transportation - eff. 3/26/19, dependent upon successfully completing his criminal background check and obtaining his CDL for driving a school bus

● Denise Spiller - Lunchroom monitor at Schilling School

● Manda Drake - Lunchroom monitor at Schilling School

● Nancy Maier - Clerical aide at Schilling School

● Brigita Zerull - Instructional aide at Butler School

● Cindy Greaney - Building secretary at Schilling School

Employment Recommendation(s) for Extra-Curricular Staff:

● Kristin Guska - Girls softball "A" team coach at Homer Jr. High School

● Brittany Konsoer - Girls softball "A" team coach at Homer Jr. High School

● Cari Clarida - Special Olympics team champion at Hadley Middle School

● Jennifer Mitchell - Girls softball 7th grade coach at Homer Jr. High School

● JoEllyn Sumner - Special Olympics team champion at Homer Jr. High School

Director Reports:

Renee Karalus, Director of Special Services, reported she and Mr. Mekhiel went to Springfield for a special education director conference to recruit school psychologists for our two openings in 2019-2020. They identified ten applicants and are following up with them. Mrs. Karalus reported that she met with the special education council. She appreciated the open conversations and honest feedback. Mrs. Karalus shared that Mrs. Cindy Mrotek was recognized with the Presidential Service Award in the State of Utah for her service to "Healthy Futures."

Assistant Superintendent for Instruction, Mike Szopinski, shared the K-5th grade math committee will make a final decision on a math resource on Thursday, March 28th. He also shared that the district is preparing for I.A.R (Illinois Assessment of Readiness) as soon as we return from spring break.

Mike Portwood, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, reported that the district had over 50 applicants for the Goodings Grove principal position. Mr. Portwood and Mr. Schoppe conducted a first screener round of interviews to narrow the candidate pool. Then, we had two further interview rounds to select our principal candidate. Mike also informed the Board that there are several residence investigations currently in progress. Mr. Portwood shared a presentation on projected student enrollment numbers for fall of 2019. Currently, we need three fewer sections. Those fewer sections will not require reductions in staff--they will be absorbed with retirements. However, Mr. Portwood stressed that kindergarten is always unpredictable with numbers. Mike Portwood provided update on builders' fees.

Troy Mitchell, principal at Homer Jr. High School, shared we are going into our second year of PowerSchool. He mentioned it has been a smooth transition. Teachers prefer the electronic midterms. Students and parents appreciate the missing and late assignment updates. He also shared with the Board that they have a 6th grade elective assembly. Mr. Mitchell shared that students next year will have the same teacher for English and language arts. Teachers believe this is what is best for the students. Troy mentioned that there were many activities and rituals at Homer Jr. High that build community among the students, such as fall athletes welcoming students in the morning and the student body cheering on the sports teams in the hallway at the end of the day. Finally, Mr. Mitchell communicated that Homer Junior High School is participating in the Hoops for Heart Challenge.

Craig Schoppe, Superintendent, gave an update on school security. The district is currently up to 70 security cameras. As soon as the weather improves, we will start installing cameras in perimeter locations. Mr Schoppe shared that, due to three snow/cold days during the 3rd quarter, the district is adjusting the 3rd quarter timeline. Third quarter will end on Wednesday, March 27; third quarter report cards will go home on Friday, April 12th. Also, due to our current 4 snow days, the last day of student attendance is Friday, June 7th. We have teacher institute day on Monday, June 10th.

Retirement Approvals:

● Mary Ellen Ferguson- Reading teacher at Goodings Grove School - eff. end of the 2022-2023 school year

● Ellen Buckley - Fourth grade teacher at Young School - eff. August 9th of the 2022-2023 school year

Approved New Positions:

● 1 FTE TPI Teacher at Homer Jr. High School - English as Second Language

Board Approved New Goodings Grove Principal:

● Mark Leipart, principal of Goodings Grove School, effective 7/1/19

New Business:

Resolution to create budget, fix the fiscal year, and approve expenditures for FY20

Assistant Superintendent for Business, Aleksas Kirkus, asked the Board to approve a resolution financially setting up the next fiscal year. Among other things, this resolution provides authority to spend funds from next year's budget prior to formal approval of the budget; formal approval typically happens in September or October.

Approval to pay athletic officials in advance of formal Board approval of pay orders, and to refund Pushcoin overpayments

Mr. Kirkus asked the Board for approval so that the district can directly cut timely checks to athletic officials instead of waiting for monthly approval of pay orders by the Board. These checks have been cut out of activity funds in the past; the district will pay officials directly in the future, and this authorization will avoid lengthy delays. Mr. Kirkus also asked that the Board allow the business office to immediately refund parents who make a mistake in Pushcoin when making a deposit. This approval is only for immediate errors (double clicking the submit button, for instance), not for general withdrawals from Pushcoin; withdrawal requests will follow the standard accounts payable process.

Approval to sell pickup truck

Mr. Kirkus asked the Board for permission to sell the district's 1996 Ford pickup truck, affectionately known as "Big Red", at auction.

Old Business:

Award of Contract for Mechanical Pre-Purchase to Midwest Applied Solutions, Inc.

Assistant Superintendent for Business, Aleksas Kirkus, asked the Board to award the contract for vertical unit ventilators for the Hadley Summer construction work to Midwest Applied Solutions, Inc., of Hillside, Illinois, in the amount of $187,500. Two bidders submitted bids, and Midwest was the lower bid.

Hadley Project Status Update

Mr. Kirkus and our Director of Buildings and Grounds, Glen Wysong, together with Nick Graal, project architect from Tria Architecture, and lead engineer from OAS, Keith O'Higgins, described the planned upgrades to Hadley Middle School this coming summer. The project is to be done in phases based on the scope of work in each area. The PDF version of the presentation can be seen here:

Health Insurance RFP Update

Mr. Kirkus asked the Board for any final comments regarding the request for proposals for health insurance broker consultant services. As there were no additional comments, Mr. Kirkus informed the Board the RFP would be released to the group of pre-interviewed vendors the next day (Wednesday, February 27th).

Next Board is Tuesday, March 26th, at 7:00 p.m.