The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Illini West Board Meets

Joy Swearingen, Quill correspondent

The Illini West High School board approved the district Annual Financial Report (AFR) for the year ending June 30, 2023.

Superintendent Jay Harnack explained the report at the boardís meeting Oct. 18, held in the LaHarpe Elementary School library. Illini West earned the highest 4.0 rating, with the report noting the district has good cash balances in each of the operating funds.

The report was prepared by Roth & Co. of Chicago auditing the 2022-2023 school year finances, reviewing accounts and procedures of the districtís finances.

This the first year the district has worked with Roth, after the previous Illini West auditor notified Harnack last June that they could not do the audit for the FY23 budget year.

School districts statewide are having difficulties finding auditors to conduct the Annual Financial Report, Harnack told the board. This was the case for Illini West.

Roth informed the board they would not be able to meet the Oct. 15 deadline to file these reports with the Regional Office of Education.

The district requested and received a three-month filing extension from ROE. However, after receiving the AFR in time for this meeting, the report has filed as needed.

In preparation for the next school year, the tentative levy and levy resolution will be presented at the November board meeting.

The board set a levy hearing for 7 p.m. on Dec. 13 at the December board meeting, which will be held one week earlier than the typical board meeting date. At this time the public can give comments or ask questions on the dollar amount requested for local tax funds.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, several parents with Brett Housewright as spokesman aired concerns about the volleyball team. The comments resulted in the board going into closed session.

Harnack reported on a school maintenance grant being offered by the state in 2024. The board approved submitting a grant application for $50,000 to be used for Phase 2 of the windows project.

The district is working on replacement of original windows in the 1956 portion of the school. Estimated cost of the whole project is $200,000.

Harnack told the board that the number of students interested in serving on the Student Advisory Committee has increased significantly this year. They have been divided into two groups of around 10 students each that will meet bi-monthly and as a whole group twice a year.

Students have made suggestions related to PBIS and Charger Bucks, posed questions on grading consistency school-wide, and discussed the most effective ways to use detentions and in-school suspension.

The board approved an early graduation request for Noah McConnell. The board approved holding graduation on May 19, 2024.

An overnight trip was approved for 12 students to attend the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis Oct. 31 to Nov. 4.