The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
The meeting was called to order at 6 pm by Board President Brent. All board members were present at roll call.
Other good news items highlighted were:
The board approved the agenda with the following additions:
XII (D). Supt. Grimm's participation on the Governor's Classroom First Commission Study Group
XII (E). Self-Evaluation of the School Board
Under recognition of audience request for participation, district resident Carl Swon addressed the board on district finances, the proposed SAFE building, and district test scores.
The board approved the consent agenda as presented. Items approved under the consent agenda included:
Under financial activity, Supt Grimm informed the board that there had been a typographical error in one of the bills that was in their report and a correction sheet was given to the board indicating the correct amount paid to the vendor and the net effect of that change in the total of the bills for the month of December. The board then approved payment of all bills as presented. The board approved the December activity accounts and the December treasurer's report as presented. The board heard that as of the end of December actual expenditures and revenue to budget should be 50%. It was noted that actual expenditures were 47.72% of budget and actual revenue received was 49.01% of budget as of the end of December 2011. Supt. Grimm also reported that as of January 18, 2012, the State has vouchered but not yet paid District #235 $498,182.
With the board's approval, the board moved action item X(B) to the top of the action item list as there were several audience members in attendance for this action item. This agenda item included a presentation from District Architect Bill Phillips on the proposed SAFE building that the board has been discussing over the past couple of months. Mr. Phillips presented the board with three options for the construction of this SAFE building. The first option was for the SAFE building alone, the second option included the addition of 3 classrooms to the SAFE building as an alternate bid for this project. The third option included the SAFE building, the three additional classrooms identified in option 2 plus additional space that could be added to this project that would allow bringing the Pre K program from the Media campus to the north campus. This particular option would allow for the closure of the Media facility at some point in time in the future. Following Mr. Phillip's presentation, there was a question and answer session about the proposed SAFE building and the two additional options that were presented.
Following the discussion of the proposed SAFE building, Supt. Grimm presented the board with a lengthy report on possible funding options that should be considered to pay for the district's share of the SAFE building as well as paying for any additional space that the board may deem necessary and appropriate. The board was reminded that the reason for pursuing this grant and the additional space was to leverage FEMA dollars with local dollars to create additional space that may be needed in the future. If the FEMA grant is funded, it would pay 75% of the total costs of the SAFE building itself and the district would be required to pay 25%. The additional three classrooms that were discussed as well as the additional space for the Pre K program would be 100% paid for by the district. Supt. Grimm then presented some information to the board on the process that would be need to be followed if the board chose to use a financing approach that included working cash fund bonds.
As a result of a lengthy conversation on this topic, the board decided that they collectively needed some time to review the information that was presented to them at the meeting and that they would conduct a special meeting sometime in the next 2 weeks to take any action that they deem necessary relative to moving forward with the FEMA grant application process to pay for 75% of the SAFE room and/or possible additional alternative bids for additional space. If they were to decide to continue with the FEMA application and this application was approved then a funding option to pay the district's share of the construction costs would need to be decided. No date was set for this special meeting.
The board was reminded that the decision being made in only as to whether or not to continue with the application process and possible funding issues and this SAFE Building would only be built if the grant was funded.
The board approved a request of a West Central High School current junior student to graduate at the end of their seventh semester of their senior year.
The board reviewed and discussed a Memorandum of Understanding with WCATS. This particular MOU provides a mechanism to assist financially three district teachers who have yet to successfully complete the National Board Certification Process with the funding.
The board heard reports from the building Principals Mr. Buss, Mr. Nichols, and Mr. Bradburn. In addition West Central Elementary Assistant Principal Mrs. Hanson made a few comments about her report that was included in the board packet. The board also briefly reviewed reports submitted by Mrs. Rima and Mr. Dwyer.
Mr. Grimm highlighted a few comments that were made in the district curriculum report.
Mrs. Frakes addressed the board on the district's three year technology plan that she is working to create. She informed the board that she hoped to have discussion on the district's technology at the District's Planning Retreat to be held on Saturday, January 21, 2012 and that the board would have a copy of the final draft that needs to be approved at the February meeting so it may be submitted to the Illinois State Board of Education.
The board heard a report from Mrs. Farniok regarding special education.
The board heard a report from WCHS Assistant Principal, Mr. Dwyer on the second semester discipline statistics. Mr. Dwyer pointed out that in reviewing the numbers from first semester of the 2011-12 school year there has been a significant decline in the number of office referrals and other discipline issues from the same time frame last year.
The board discussed a five year enrollment projection that Supt. Grimm provided the board. Supt. Grimm reviewed with the board the assumptions that were made to prepare this document. It was also pointed out that the district's enrollment continues to trend downward and the projections are that this trend will continue over the course of the next 3-4 years. It was also pointed out that even though our numbers are trending downward, history suggests that district's with a high percentage of low income students typically see declining enrollment during economic downturns and then when the economy begins to improve, people return to those schools and the enrollment numbers trend upward. It was suggested that this will happen again in the West Central School District at some point in time in the future although there are no guarantees.
Board member Brad Arnold presented the board with a brief overview of the school farm and how it operates. Mr. Arnold shared with the board the types of farming operations that take place on the school farm and he reviewed the basic terms of the current tenant's agreement that is currently in place.
Supt. Grimm reviewed with the board some information that the building and grounds committee had reviewed at their last meeting regarding the summer mowing and equipment needs. Basically, Supt. Grimm suggested to the board that at the February board meeting he would like to bring to them a recommendation to declare several pieces of equipment as surplus property so that they can be sold. In addition, Supt. Grimm informed the board that he would be seeking permission to purchase several pieces of equipment and seek bids for a large tractor that would be used for the mowing operation of the district. It was suggested that the district would be better off purchasing some new equipment, keep some of the old equipment and using existing staff to cover the mowing responsibilities during the late spring, summer and early fall. It was also suggested that it would be in the district's best interest financially to pursue this particular course of action rather than seeking bids to have someone contract with the district to complete this work.
The board had a brief discussion about Superintendent Grimm's participation in a work group for the Classroom First Commission that is being chaired by Lieutenant Governor Shelia Simon. The board reviewed the email that Supt. Grimm received inviting him to participate in the work group. It was decided after some discussion that Supt. Grimm could attend the first meeting of the group and determine how much additional time the workgroup would require and then report back to the board these findings.
The board discussed briefly the idea of having a board self-evaluation. This would take place under the direction of a representative from the Illinois Association of School Boards. As a result of this conversation, Board President Brent was asked to make contact with the IASB representative to gather some additional information and then report back to the board.
Under future agenda items, it was suggested that the board construct a survey to be used with the parents of those students who have left our district. A second agenda item is to review the district evaluation instrument and process for evaluating building principals.
The board took the following action regarding personnel:
The board entered closed session at 9:10 p.m. to discuss matters pertaining to personnel. The board exited closed session at 11:24.
The board was reminded that the next meeting of the board would be on Saturday, January 21st for a special meeting to conduct a board planning retreat.
This meeting will begin at 8:15 a.m. and be held at the Pzazz conference room in Burlington. The board's next regular board meeting will be held on Wednesday, February 15, 2012. This meeting will be held in the elementary cafeteria and will begin at 6 p.m.
There being no other business to come before the board, the board adjourned their meeting at 11:26 p.m.