The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
Joy Swearingen- Hancock County Journal Pilot (with permission)
The Illini West School board started their meeting Aug. 15 with a recognition of 10 staff and summer helpers who worked on classroom renovation during the summer.
"We toured the rooms at our last meeting," said board president, Tom Holtsclaw. "They are impressive. The school looks wonderful."
Two major summer projects were the consumer science education (home economics) room that had a complete renovation and new appliances, and the new technology studio/ classroom that includes Horse Head Studio. Nine rooms were renovated, along with painting and cleaning in the rest of the building.
Superintendent Kim Schilson encouraged the board's building committee to plan soon for a meeting with the Carthage Elementary School district, owner of their building, to discuss plans for next summer's work.
She suggested changing the locks so that students could have key fob entry at the doors to control access to the school building and the outside portable classrooms.
"We can pick the days and times when the student key fobs are activitated," said Schilson. "Each fob can be deactivated quickly if there is a problem with a student. We won't have to go hunting for a key."
Another issue is security with classroom doors. It was noted that metal doors without glass windows would be safer, however, rules currently require glass in the doors. The committee will look into life safety and other regulations and possibilities. Schilson wanted to move and replace some bleachers in the football field.
Principal Scott Schneider said the school and staff are ready for school to start. He noted that 35 students had been invited to a summer school session. Of the 15 that had said they would come, only 5 students came regularly and completed the work and testing. Some of the computer-based work could be done at home.
He noted that teachers would have active shooter precaution training at least two times during the year.
Holtsclaw said repetition on the shooter training is important. It was noted that the training gives options for different situations, and there is not just one way to react.
Schilson presented the tentative budget for the 2018-2019 school year ending June 30, 2019. The budget is now on file for public viewing at the district office. A budget hearing will be held at 7 p.m. at the beginning of the Sept. 19 board meeting, before the board acts on the proposed budget.
Schilson noted that there is a very healthy balance in the education fund to start the year. She gave the board a graph of spending over the past 10 years as Illini West.
"The transportation fund was down in the first years when we were leasing all our buses, but you see how it went up when we bought those buses," Schilson said. The district owns two yellow buses, two white activity buses and leases five additional buses.
"We spent a lot on the building this summer, but it is still in the black," she noted. The building fund went down in 2017 when the district bought farmland as a possibile building site, but that is growing again.
State funding now comes as Evidence Based Funding rather than General State Aid, and that amount has not been set. Schilson noted that districts are guaranteed an amount no less than the past year.
Schilson noted that John Huston was in line to receive two board member awards at the Western Division IASB meeting in September. These are based on participation in local and state board meetings and training.
Harold Northup was hired as half-time industrial arts teacher.
The board approved the following coach and sponsor assignments: