Litchfield Board Meets Twice This Week

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Members of the Litchfield School board gathered on Tuesday evening, March 17, for the first of two meetings this week.

The first meeting was a special meeting held at Sihler School in Litchfield with all board members in attendance. They would meet in open session for about half an hour, followed by a closed session for nearly an hour to discuss personnel matters.

During open session, the board unanimously approved several items under new business.

Acting on behalf of the Fogleman Trust, board members set this year’s scholarship amount as $2,200 per scholarship for the 2019-2020 school year. Board members Mark Bloome and Mike Fleming abstained from the vote, as they both have children who are eligible to apply for the scholarship. 

Farm managers Larry Halleman, Roger Krabbe and Chad Ruppert of Bank and Trust in Litchfield were also present to give a quarterly report on the farm.

The board would also approve an amended calendar for the 2019-2020 school year, reflecting the use of four emergency days to this point. That makes the final  full day of school Tuesday, May 26 with early dismissal for all students on Wednesday, May 27.

Board members would approve a proposed calendar for the 2020-2021 school year with a start date of Friday, Aug. 14, for students. Teachers in-service days would be held on Aug. 12 and Aug. 13. Christmas break is scheduled from Monday, Dec. 21 through Monday, Jan. 4. 

Without the use of any emergency days, the final day for student attendance would be May 21.

The board approved board of education meetings for the 2020-2021 school year on the third Thursday of each month, beginning at 6 p.m. at Sihler School in Litchfield, with two exceptions. 

In September, the meeting will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 22, and in November, the meeting will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 17. 

The board will meet as Fogleman trustees quarterly on Sept. 22, Dec. 17, March 18 and June 17.

Board members approved a lease agreement with Synergy for district security cameras for 60 months. They also approved an HVAC maintenance contract with Johnson Controls for one year for the district buildings for $33,592.

In continuing to work with Johnson Controls, the board approved the replacement of the chiller at Litchfield Middle School for $128,923  and replacement and repairs to the HVAC system at the middle school/high school complex for $861,113.

In a final item of new business, the board approved policy updates regarding a drug and alcohol-free workplace, e-cigarettes, tobacco and cannabis prohibition.

Following nearly an hour in closed session, the board approved a lengthy personnel report.

They approved administrator contracts and assignments for the upcoming school year, including Adam Favre at Sihler and Madison Park, Jeremy Heigert at Colt and Russell, Russ Tepen at Litchfield Middle School, Doug Hoster at Litchfield High School and Jennifer Thompson as the curriculum director and special education.

Board members also approved a family medical leave request for pre-K teacher Kaitlin Heinz, as well as letters of resignation from high school art teacher Kyle Lenhardt, elementary special education teacher Josyane Bartello, elementary physical education teacher Stacie Triplett and high school special education teacher Theresa Barton. Barton’s resignation is effective March 11, while the others are effective at the end of the school year.

They also hired Dan Stewart as seventh grade social studies teacher and approved the transfer of Adam Taylor from seventh grade special education to eighth grade special education and Savannah Dieckow from eighth grade special education to seventh grade special education.

The board hired Penny Niemann as Title I family coordinator and approved a new certified position of career and services coordinator for the 2020-2021 school year.

In sports news, they accepted the resignations of Heather Fuchs as eighth grade volleyball coach, Justin Ripley as eighth grade boys basketball coach and Anthony Robinson as seventh grade boys basketball coach, all effective immediately. They also approved Megan Skinner and Abby Frerichs as volunteers to the high school softball program, pending background checks.

The board will meet again today, Thursday, March 19, at noon at Sihler School in Litchfield for their regular monthly meeting.

On the agenda, they will approve classroom volunteers and membership into the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) for the 2020-2021 school year. They will also discuss the consideration of a resolution to issue up to $21 million in general obligation school bonds for bringing the elementary school buildings up to code. The board will also discuss approval of April bills, in case of continued school closures and meeting limitations.

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