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TAYLORVILLE — “There’s this snail, and this snail bought himself a sports car. He puts it in the Indianapolis 500, and he’s so proud of this race car that he puts the ’S’ all over the place — the front, the back, the top, even on the hub caps. They drop the flag, and away they went, and he’s a hundred yards out in front of everybody, and that first turn, everybody yelled, ‘Look at that S car go!’”
In a short lull between the 5:45 budget meeting, which adjourned at 5:55, and the 6 p.m. board meeting, Dr. Ronald Mizer shared this joke, kicking off the light-hearted and celebratory night.
The Taylorville Community Unit Schools Board of Education met Tuesday, June 28, in the high school cafeteria. Tricia Marburger, President of the Board, and Brenda Patrick attended remotely via phone. Marburger officially ran the meeting, but Dr. Chris Dougherty, Superintendent, served as her “voice.”
In the communications portion, Taylorville had much to celebrate. Before the meeting, they held a reception for retirees with cake and drinks. Art Ward and Kris Daugherty attended. The other two retiring teachers, both in physical education, Joseph Champley and Tonya Goodroe, could not attend.
“Well, I’ve said enough over the years,” Ward laughed when Dougherty asked the teachers if they wanted to share.
Ward worked for the district in special education for 15 years, and Daugherty in early childhood education for 23.
“I enjoyed every moment in this district, and I love the children that have crossed the threshold into my classroom,” Daugherty said. As leaving, she joked to the similarly-named Superintendent, “Dr. Dougherty, I leave you as the only Chris Dougherty in the District.”
Student recognitions included the track athletes from the Junior High who qualified for State, as well as recipients of the last two Tornado Appreciation Awards (Quint Dunn, who was recognized for his “helpfulness to teachers in the classroom,” and the 2022 graduating seniors). Taylorville FFA had many victories in the past few weeks at the state, national and world levels. The Board also recognized the THS business management class and their donation of over $300 to Hope House.
Staff recognitions included Jennifer Ramsoondar, employee of the month, and Matthew Hutchison, Illinois Principal Association’s Principal of the Year for the Abe Lincoln region.
Regarding personnel, resignations included: Joslyn Williams, kindergarten teacher at North, effective June 16, 2022; Anna Sakach, science teacher at THS, effective June 28, 2022; Megan Rhodes, varsity softball coach at THS, effective June 16, 2022; Nadine Williams, cafeteria/recess supervisor at North, effective June 3, 2022; Donald Christopher, custodian at TJHS, effective June 1, 2022; Jacob Koniak, girls varsity track coach at THS, effective May 31, 2022; Tracie Boheme, half ticket manager at THS, effective end of 2021-22 school year; Tamara Durbin, and special education aide at THS, effective May 20, 2022.
Intents to retire included: Marti Minnott, teacher at TJHS, effective July 2026.
Requests for leave of absence included: Ashley McCallister, teacher at Memorial, effective September 16, 2022.
Changes of assignment included (all effective 2022-23 school year): Kara Renwick, from special education teacher at North to special education teacher at Memorial; Ryan Brown, from PE teacher at TJHS to PE teacher at Memorial/TJHS; Megan Curtin, PE teacher at Memorial/TJHS to PE teacher at TJHS; Parker Stokes, ninth grade football coach split to ninth grade football coach; Eric Farden, ninth grade football coach to sophomore football coach; Doug Bowsher, seventh grade girls basketball coach to eighth grade girls basketball coach; Toni Johnson, second grade teacher at North to special education teacher at North; and Sandy Hooper, kindergarten teacher at North to second grade teacher at North.
Recommendations to employ included (all effective 2022-23 school year): Susan Hicks, special education teacher at TJHS; Trisha Waters, self-contained special education teacher at Central; Jason Wolters, art teacher at TJHS; Brittni Schmedeke, playground supervisor/crossing guard at Memorial; Ginny Shapiro, secretary at Memorial; Donna Scott, morning supervisor and lunch/recess supervisor at North; Kim Kruse, crossing guard at North; Cheryl Potter, half ticket manager at THS; Matthew Peabody, seventh grade volleyball coach; and McKenzi Whitehead, cheer coach at TJHS.
Consideration of overnight trips included: boys basketball to Quincy University camp on June 17, 2022 and girls volleyball to Indianapolis on July 21, 22 and 23, 2022.
The consent agenda was approved unanimously.
Two resignations were voted on separately: Paige Patrick, preschool teacher aide at Central School, effective June 16, 2022, which Tricia Patrick abstained from, and Jason Handegan, sophomore football coach at THS, which Marbuger abstained from.
Old business started with approving the 2021-22 final public school calendar and adoption of the 2022 fiscal year amended budget, which they discussed at the 5:45 amended budget hearing meeting. Both were approved unanimously. For the next school year, the district would like to utilize remote learning days instead of snow days to prevent going so late into June at the end of the year.
As it has been in recent meetings, the east wing building project was a big topic of conversation. They voted to hire a construction manager, and Rick Bryan updated the board on the ongoing plans. He said that the demolition and building will be safe to do during the school year. The architects will be meeting with teachers and other stakeholders to work on room specifics next week. A 3-D prototype of the building is expected within the month. For temporary parking, the high school will be utilizing the old tennis courts, which will provide 59 spots.
The board read and adopted IASB Press Plus Policy updates with administrative procedures.
The meeting took a more serious turn during a discussion regarding issues with the district’s contract with Durham Bus Company. The district is going into their second year of a two-year contract. Durham is asking for more money to have a competitive wage for bus drivers, as there is a severe bus driver shortage. Contractually, Durham is only allowed to increase prices by four percent, but they are asking for 16 percent and threatening to terminate the contract. The district offered them seven percent but was denied. The district already pays for their own gas, so the increase goes purely to wages.
Though the Superintendent said that “good faith usually warrants good results,” board members were not as inclined to concede. Bryan insisted that “this is extortion,” and Jennifer Dammerman said the idea “leaves a bad taste in my mouth.”
It is too short notice to look at other companies for the 2022-23 school year, and the upfront cost is too high for the district to purchase their own fleet. They will speak to the district attorney for legal options.
New business included consideration of the 2023 fiscal year foodservice management contract renewal and the 2023 fiscal year property, casualty insurance renewal. For foodservice, they approved the CEP grant. The Superintendent also mentioned other improvements and changes to foodservice, including a grant to purchase white plates because using white plates helps children “select better nutritional foods,” fresh coolers and hot plates, and a smoothie station.
The board wants to encourage students to purchase meals every day, as it helps the school with funding.
They also considered and approved the Therakids service agreement and 2022-23 general supply bid results.
The Superintendent report mentioned safety changes, some of which will not be made public (for safety concerns), but included wanting to go keyless, instead utilizing fobs.
Important upcoming dates are: Board meeting on July 26, 2022, where architects with reveal a prototype of the east wing build; Teacher Institute on Aug 15 and 16, 2022; first day for students on Aug. 17, 2022; and Board meeting Aug. 16, 2022.
The board went into a closed session at 7:30 for hearing a student disciplinary case.