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Regular West Central School Board Meeting includes Budget Hearing

The West Central Community Unit School District #235 Board of Education conducted a budget hearing on Thursday, September 18th at 6:30 p.m.

The budget hearing was convened by President Brent. All board members except Mr. Sams were present at roll call. Following roll call, President Brent opened the floor for comments from the audience concerning the FY09 district budget. There were no comments offered from members of the audience. President Brent then adjourned the public hearing at approximately 6:33 p.m.

Following the budget hearing President Brent introduced the members of the Board of Education to those in attendance. Following that each building principal introduced their new teachers to the board.

At the regular meeting of the West Central CUSD #235 Board of Education on September 18, 2008 the following items took place:

Board President Brent called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the elementary gymnasium. All board members were present at roll call except for board member Sams.

President Brent then led the members of audience in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Under good news items, the board recognized approximately 150 West Central students who exceeded state standards and/or earned a perfect score on the spring 2008 ISAT or PSAE tests.

Those students who were in attendance were presented a certificate by Board President Brent and then shook hands with each board member. Many of their parents were in attendance. Regional Superintendent of Schools, Jodi Scott was present to call the names of the students who were receiving recognition by the board. The board reconvened their meeting in the elementary cafeteria.

The following items were identified as celebration of success:

The board approved the agenda with the following additions:

Under the recognition of audience request for presentation the board heard an update from CSC envoy, Sam Sudaker. President Brent also recognized Katie Cole and Jane Alexander who had signed in and wished to address the board on action item, Personal Fitness Equipment for WCHS PE department as well as Terry Thacker and Sara Bigger who wished to address the board on discussion item, naming the north campus football field.

The board approved the consent agenda as presented. The following items were approved under the consent agenda:

The board approved payment of the September bills as presented, the August activity accounts as presented and the July and August treasurer's reports as presented.

The board briefly discussed the FY09 district budget. Supt. Grimm reviewed with the board a list of assumptions that were used to put together the FY09 district budget. It was pointed out that the anticipated revenue for FY09 is $10.7 million dollars and that is approximately $600,000 more than anticipated in the FY08 district budget. It was also pointed out that anticipated expenditures are approximately $10.45 million dollars, compared to anticipated expenditures for FY08 at $10.7 million dollars. Following a brief question and answer session regarding the budget, the board approved the FY09 budget as presented.

The board approved on first reading a series of proposed board policy changes. Supt. Grimm informed the board that the board policy committee had not yet met to discuss these policies but since first reading was merely a formality, it would be appropriate to approve these proposed changes prior to the committee meeting. It was pointed out that the board's sub-committee has a tentative date to meet of Monday, October 6th and that they will bring back to the board their recommendation for action on these policies. They will be brought back to the board in October for second reading and adoption.

The board again discussed a request from WCHS PE teacher, Nancy Gibb for the purchase of 15 pieces of fitness equipment to be used in the personal fitness PE class. As part of the conversation, the board heard from WCHS student Katie Cole and WCHS teacher Jane Alexander who spoke in favor of the purchase of the equipment. Following their discussion, the board voted to approve the purchase of five Schwinn AD4 Airdyne Exercise bikes, five NE 2000 Elliptical machines and one PS 100 True Treadmill.

The board considered a request to purchase the Connect Ed messaging system. The board heard a brief report from Supt. Grimm on additional research that he had done concerning the Sky Alert system that would directly interface with the Skyward student management system. Following the discussion, the board approved the request to purchase the Connect Ed student messaging system at an approximate cost of $3800.

The board approved a transfer of restricted tort funds from the Building and Transportation Funds to a newly created Tort Fund. This request and action is necessary due to some changes in the Illinois Program Accounting Manual which regulates how school districts may receive and spend money.

The board gave direction to Supt. Grimm to secure an additional quote for replacing/repairing the stage mats in the high school gym. Supt. Grimm was granted permission to secure the second quote and to proceed with the lower of the two quotes and have the work done for an amount not to exceed $2550. The board expressed their concern and displeasure over the condition of the mats at this point in time and indicated in no uncertain terms that this will be the last time that they will replace these mats and if students continue to tear them up, it will be up to high school groups to replace them.

The board heard reports from the building principals Mr. Buss, Mr. Nichols and Mr. Geiser. The board also heard an update from District Curriculum Director Mrs. Serven, District Technology Director Mrs. Frakes, and District Special Education Director Mrs. Farniok. Mrs. Farniok also updated the board on current special education numbers. The board was quite pleased to learn that our total number of special education students is declining and as a percent of our student population, our special education students make up approximately 14.5% of our student population.

Supt. Grimm indicated again to the board that while our special education numbers are declining, the level of service to our students with special needs is not diminishing in any way. We are merely finding different ways to address the various needs that our students present to us on a daily basis.

The board briefly discussed the school board conference in Chicago in November.

The board heard a brief report from Supt. Grimm concerning the sixth day enrollment numbers. Supt. Grimm suggested that while our 6th day enrollment number was less than last years number, it was not as big of a drop as we had seen in the past.

The board heard a request from Terry Thacker and Sara Bigger to rename the north campus football field, "The Brian Hetrick Memorial Football Field". The board discussed this request at great length and by consensus gave their approval of this idea. The board directed Supt. Grimm to bring this back to the October board meeting as an action item.

The board discussed the north campus remodeling project for industrial arts and ag shop, the north campus water project and the West Central Educational Foundation as one item. In general terms, Supt. Grimm suggested to the board that we have need for additional space in the high school, most notably in the ag shop, industrial arts area and the science labs. Several ideas were discussed to possibly alleviate some of the space needs in the areas mentioned above during this portion of the agenda. As a result of the conversation, the board directed Supt. Grimm to meet with the board's building and grounds sub-committee and begin exploring some different options in terms of providing space and finding alternative ways to pay for that space.

As part of this topic, Supt. Grimm informed the board that the Village of Biggsville is moving forward on their water project to bring a water line from the Dallas Rural Water District into the City of Biggsville. Supt. Grimm reminded the board that a couple of years ago an idea was floated that if and when the City of Biggsville was able to secure funding for this water line, it might be appropriate for the school district to look at running a water line and/or sewer lines into the school at the same time in hopes of saving money on the design of such a project.

Again, after a brief discussion the board directed Supt. Grimm to discuss this issue with the board's building and grounds sub-committee and to bring a report back to the board at the October board meeting.

The board also heard a report regarding the progress being made on establishing a West Central Education Foundation.

It was suggested that since these two items are now on the board's radar screen, the re-establishment of the foundation becomes an important priority in terms of possibly providing people with a legitimate vehicle in which to contribute money to help offset the cost of one or both of the above mentioned projects.

Supt. Grimm asked the board to provide him with a list of names of people who might be willing to serve on a Foundation Board of Directors.

A list of names was presented to the Superintendent and board members were encouraged to continue sending names of others who might be willing to serve on this board. It is essential that a Board of Directors be identified for the West Central Education Foundation so that the necessary paperwork can then be filed with the State of Illinois to formally create this Foundation.

The board gave consensus agreement to Supt. Grimm to join the Southern Illinois Purchasing Coop. Upon receipt of our membership information, this group will not only give the district access to a large purchasing coop for district cleaning and building supplies but will also provide some much needed guidance to the administrative team on how to successfully meet the new green cleaning regulations that all school districts are now required to adhere to.

The board briefly discussed a possible "Grow Our Own Teacher" program for District 235. Following that conversation, the board suggested that perhaps there was a different way to address our concern about the shortage of teachers in specialized areas and have asked the Superintendent to pursue some different options regarding this particular agenda item.

The board heard a report from the Superintendent Grimm on the district's upgrading of the cell phone package that is in place in the district for those support staff employees who have a district provided cell phone.

There were no items request for future agendas.

The board entered closed session to discuss matters pertaining to personnel and student discipline at approximately 10:30 p.m. The board exited closed session at 11:05 p.m. and took the following action:

The board was reminded that the next meeting will be on Wednesday, October 15, 2008 at 7:00 p.m This meeting will be held in the elementary cafeteria.

There being no other business to come before the board, the meeting was adjourned at approximately 11:17 p.m.