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The Chargers Make Selections Courtesy of Joy Swearingen

Managing Editor -The Journal Pilot

Illini West School board heard a request from science teachers about use of a lab classroom, and a proposal from the Hancock County Gun Club to sponsor a scholastic clay target program. Connie Flesner, Carthage biology teacher, requested that the science room #2 lab not be used as a regular classroom, stressing curriculum and safety issues.

The room was remodeled in 1996 and is used by many different science teachers to schedule labs throughout the year.

"The lab room is not set up to conduct lectures. Students would be seated at stations where there is limited space.

Some students would have their backs to the teacher at all times," she said. "Lab experiences would suffer," she said. Teachers leave labs set up over night, set up lab practical exams, and conduct experiments that take more than one day.

Safety issues for students in non lab classes using the rooms include gas nozzles that could be tampered with, Bunsen burners that require cool down time, and possible exposure to chemicals.

"We clean up after experiments, but I would not recommend students sitting an a lab immediately after a chemistry or biology lab," Flesner said.

"It is important for the quality of our science curriculum and the safety of students.

We want you to be aware of these concerns as you discuss classroom availability for next fall."

Keith Hartweg of the Hancock County Gun Club offered a proposal for an extracurricular sport to be recognized by the Illini West High School, with the ability for a student to letter.

The "season" for this shot gun sport runs from the spring to fall. It has been developed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, it is used in 10 states, including eight schools in Illinois.

"The program costs nothing for the school, other than transportation. It costs little to the student," Hartweg said.

Students would not be required to join the National Rifle Association, but would need to join the Amateur Trapshooting Association. Students would not need to own a gun to participate.

The program teaches the history, nomenclature, etiquette and safety needed for shooting sports.

"Students would be required to participate and successfully complete classroom instruction before approaching the field for shooting.

The sport teaches disciplines not available in the classroom or in other sports," Hartweg said.

He proposed limiting the program to 20 students in the beginning.

The board took information from both presenters to discuss.

No action was taken. The board also saw a presentation by Teresa Twaddle and two web page design students,

Andrea Rose and Tori Rehahn. The students had designed a potential webpage for the district, which could at least temporarily be put on the site.

The board hired assistant coaches, including football assistants, Tim Lafferty, Eric Bryan, Lyle Klein, Zak Huston, Tyler Walker (half-time) and Pat Raftis (half-time); boys basketball, John Edris and Eric Weaver; and girls basketball, Sci Hickenbottom.

A second girls basketball assistant position remains unfilled. There were no applicants for assistant volleyball coaches.

Vicky Van Trump was approved as district bookkeeper, and Ann Menschel was hired as administrative assistant to superintendent Mike Mauzy. Interim superintendent

Harold Ford noted that the district is still short an English and physical education teacher. He said the amount of time needed for staff that is shared with one of the elementary districts will be established soon.

The board approved creating a new administrative position as associate principal/transportation director, by a 4-2 vote. Yes votes came from Janet Vass, Robert Clifton, Tom Holtsclaw and Tracey Anders.

No votes were from Jennifer Edholm and R.D. Trout.

"This is a decision where we could go either way," said board member Robert Clifton.

"But this is a time when I want to err on the side of having enough help to begin school smoothly."

Board president Tracey Anders said that the Committee of Ten had earlier felt they could go with a principal and superintendent administrative team.

"Our crystal ball was a little fuzzy two and a half years ago. We made our best guess of what our needs would be," Anders said.

The portion of time spend on transportation issues will be reimbursed to the district.

This person may coordinate transportation for the high school and three related elementary districts.

Illini West has no buses and will rely on buses from the elementary districts.

All four districts are using the same computer program for transportation.

Linda Hartweg showed the board a sample of how the Carthage medium blue and navy blue band uniform can be modified with Illini West colors. The cost is $15,000 for the 90 uniforms.

The board approved the plan. They also approved a proposal for athletic uniforms costing a total of $27,000 for all sports. This plan includes using previous navy blue

"Thunder" football pants from LaHarpe. Additional items going into the student handbook were discussed.

A plan to add 2 percent to a student's grade for having no more than two excused absences in a class was proposed as an attendance incentive.

There was also discussion of discipline for inappropriate use of cell phones; the definition of "weapon"; and eligibility for activities if a failing grade is received.

The board authorized the superintendent to issue id documents for insurance needs.

They discussed progress on getting portable classrooms and finalizing a lease agreement for the use of the Carthage High School building. "We are now to a point where we are working on a written document for the lease agreement," Ford said.

"We are down to working out the details." Robert Clifton, Tracey Anders and Dr. Ford were named as the negotiating team for contracts with certified staff. The next Illini West board meeting is April 25 at 7 p.m. in the Methode Electronics board room.

Ethan Snodgrass, a freshman member of the Carthage High School band, models the adapted uniform that will be used for the Charger marching Band next year. The orange edged and lettered sash, along with an orange cape give the medium blue and navy blue uniform a new look. The plume on the silver helmet is navy blue.

-photos courtesy of Journal Pilot

The Charger mascot was designed by Tyler Sharp of LaHarpe. The horse's mane and neck/lightning bolt are orange, the background is dark blue.