O'Fallon Progress

OTHS board supports conducting consolidation study

From left, O’Fallon School District 90 Board President John Wagnon, and Aubrey Mister, who received the Jim Burnes Leadership award but was also honored in several track events recently, and O’Fallon CCSD 90 Athletic Director Tracy Lauderdale during Tuesday, June 20 board meeting.
From left, O’Fallon School District 90 Board President John Wagnon, and Aubrey Mister, who received the Jim Burnes Leadership award but was also honored in several track events recently, and O’Fallon CCSD 90 Athletic Director Tracy Lauderdale during Tuesday, June 20 board meeting. Courtesy photo

Here is a round up of the June Shiloh and O’Fallon public school district’s Board of Education meetings, including Shiloh School District 85, O’Fallon Community Consolidated School District 90, Central School District 104 and O’Fallon Township High School 203.

O’Fallon SD 90

O’Fallon SD 90 passed all agenda items, except for two, at its June 20 board meeting.

The board failed to pass the recommendation for the creation of a curriculum coordinator to aid in the increased enrollment at Marie Schaefer Elementary because of the option that was passed during the boundaries discussion in February. Board members Becky Drury, Matt Lloyd, Jason Boone and Steve Springer voted in opposition, while Mary Baskett and John Wagnon voted in favor.

The plan passed in February relocated several preschool classrooms to the other elementary schools in order to make available more classrooms at Schaefer for K-5 students. Within Schaefer’s school boundaries, there are several residential developments causing enrollment to increase, according to Carrie Hruby, O’Fallon SD 90 superintendent.

Now that the early childhood program will be dispersed throughout the other elementary schools in the district, Early Childhood Director Gina Harding will spend more of her time away from Schaefer school.

Currently, the school has one principal, and the recommendation that was voted down would have added another administrator to the school, which Hruby said would also have filled a need to have a staff member dedicated to drafting curriculum documents, leading teacher curriculum review committees and articulating the scope and sequence.

“The board members recognized the need for those two duties, but discussed that the state of Illinois is not meeting its financial obligation to districts, which makes it very difficult to commit funds for new staff,” Hruby said.

However, the board did approve the recall of the three elementary class size teaching positions that were received reduction in force notices in the spring.

The board discussed this item thoroughly as well, citing similar concerns with the potential lack of funding from the state. However, several members pointed out that, without these positions, class sizes would increase beyond where the districts would be “comfortable,” due to the fact that enrollment continues to increase.

Several board members, Steve Springer, Jason Boone and John Wagnon, expressed their frustration with the latest prevailing wage that this is required by law. They voted to approve the prevailing wage resolution 5-1, with Springer casting the single opposing vote.

After the vote to approve the prevailing wage resolution, there was a resolution considered to oppose the prevailing wage law, as well as to ask IASB to lobby on behalf of a change to the legislation, Hruby said.

Boone stated that while he understood the reason for the effort to lobby, it seemed counter intuitive to oppose something they just voted to pass a few minutes prior, which several members agreed. The motion for it then failed with Drury, Lloyd, Boone and Baskett voting no and Springer and Wagnon voting yes.

The Title I plan, which is for reduced and free meals federal funding dollars, passed, and board members complimented Harding on the hard work in writing it.

Central SD 104

Central SD 104 approved all agenda with the exception of the Joseph Arthur Middle School Athletic Handbook, which will be reviewed at the July board meeting.

Big items on the agenda included district pay increases for some staff and the hiring of a part-time, summer employee Brent Schwoebel.

Non-certified employees receiving at 3.5 percent pay raise included: Cassy Shelton, special education coordinator; Jered Weh, JAMS principal; Virginia Shelton, district and board secretary; and, Jane Hamm, business manager.

Also, Scott McKay, director of technology, received a 2.03 percent increase.

Dawn Elser, interim superintendent, ran the board meeting since John Bute, superintendent, was on vacation. Bute will be leaving the district, effective June 30, to start his superintendent position at Prairie Grove Consolidated School District 46 in Crystal Lake, Illinois, where he was hired in January.

OTHS 203

Darcy Benway, OTHS 203 superintendent, said the board supports conducting a consolidation study that evaluates all consolidation scenarios for O’Fallon and Shiloh schools through the Building Educational Success Together Committee.

“The board believes the study should be independent from the schools. Thus, the board also believes it would be best if the financing of the study could also remain independent from the schools,” Benway said.

The board reviewed the 2016-17 amended budget where there were some changes transferring money from working cash for deficits in the educational, operational and transportation funds. Some maintenance costs, such as school parking lot maintenance, were deferred until 2018.

“Revenues were decreased (in the amended budget) to reflect the payments not being made by the state. Contingency line items were decreased, due to the fact it is the end of the year, and those contingencies are not needed in the amounts originally budgeted. Other minor changes were made within line items in various funds, with no impact on the overall budget,” Benway explained.

Budget has $1.29 million transferred from working cash to the education fund. The actual amount of transfer will be determined at the end of the year and is anticipated to be less than the budgeted amount, Benway said.

Project Compassion was the only item that was held for further discussion, pending a report from Martha Weld, assistant superintendent.

Shiloh SD 85

The Shiloh SD 85 School Board passed all items on the agenda at its monthly Board of Education meeting June 19.

The board thanked Scott Air Force Base for its support in enhancing Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics programs in the metro-east, and in particular, Dr. Cindy Doil, SAFB school liaison officer, for her work in securing a $2,500 grant in STEM monies to be used in Shiloh schools.

The grant is funded through the Department of Defense’s K-12 STEM Program, which about 18 other organizations will be also granted funding.

Recipients are determined by a the SAFB STEM Advisory Group, which Doil is a member of under the head of the group SAFB Chief Scientist Dr. Donna Senft.

“The group and I try to help as many local schools to enhance their STEM programs, as well as other organizations like the Illinois Math and Science Academy. The government gives this money to encourage students to get energized about STEM so they will then later go on to study STEM subjects and go into STEM career fields,” Doil said.

Shiloh SD 85 Superintendent Dale Sauer said of Doil, “she is an incredible asset to our schools.”

Sauer also announced that five more slots are available in Shiloh’s tuition preschool program.