Despite being short-changed by the state for several years, the Highland School District is in sound financial shape, according the district’s annual audit.
“I think they had a good year this past year with the state’s situation. The district broke even on all funds, except transportation,” said Kevin Tepend of C.J. Schlosser & Co., LLC, the company that performed the district’s audit. “Transportation is based on state funding. It’s hard for any district to break even on transportation.”
Tepen also said the district was in excess in three operating funds, which he said is pretty good.
“I didn’t see any areas of concern. The district knows what it is doing. And they do a good job,” he said. “I didn’t see any problems.”
One area of the audit was labeled “adverse,” which is a qualifier assigned to the firm’s work because certain figures were unavailable. However, Tepen said isn’t an uncommon one for schools across Illinois.
“The health insurance the district pays into is supposed to have acutarials done, but the state doesn’t give that information. To get it, the schools have to go out and pay for it. No one does that,” Tepen said. “It doesn’t really matter to the schools or the state. It’s just important that liability exists. They (school districts across the state) pay what they are supposed to pay. They know there is future liability they have to account for.”
Other board action
District will pay for half of band uniforms
After a long presentation and pleas from band parents and students at its meeting on Monday, the Highland Board of Education decided to help them purchase new band uniforms by paying half of the cost.
“These uniforms were purchased in 2001. They are permanently stained,” said Highland High School junior Justin Wheeler, who plays the euphonium in the band. “After every performance, the parents have to take the uniforms home and re-thread them.”
The presentation was led by Patty Take of the Highland Band Parents Association, with many other parents and students also chiming in. Their main request was that the board appropriate 50 percent of the total cost for the new uniforms.
“These uniforms are a good investment. Our band students take excellent care of their uniforms, making them last for 5 years longer than the normal life-expectancy of a band uniform. But it is time for the droopy plumes, yellow jackets, and saggy bibber pants to go,” the Band Parents wrote in a letter put out to the community soliciting sponsorships.
The board agreed and granted the band access to $27,750 for the new uniforms.
“The uniforms were well past their life cycle. They were outdated and in dire need of replacement,” said Highland Superintendent Mike Sutton. “We are very proud of our band program and the board felt it was time to make the move.”
The rest of the funding will come from the fundraising efforts of the Band Parents Association.
The HHS Marching Bulldogs has more than 100 members.
The board approved the following personnel moves.
▪ Darlene Zobrist, custodian at Highland High School, effective Jan. 31, 2017; and
▪ James McCaw, custodian at Highland High School, effective Oct. 21, 2016.
Resignation: Mari Lewis, program assistant at Highland Primary, effective Oct. 11, 2016.
New staff: Leah Beiermann, RtI interventionist at Highland Elementary/Highland Middle School, effective Sept. 28, 2016.
Football team wants to sell ad space
The football team asked the board if it could sell advertising on board that would be displayed at HHS home games. Several other schools do such a fundraiser. The board will officially vote on that proposal at the November meeting.