Litchfield Honors Student Success

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It was a night of celebration for members of the Litchfield School Board, who welcomed the state championship scholastic bowl team as part of their regular meeting on Tuesday evening, April 15, at Litchfield High School.

The board usually meets on the third Thursday of each month, but the meeting was moved due to the district's spring break schedule. Board member Ron Anglin was absent from the meeting, as he had surgery that day.

Scholastic bowl coach Amanda Lamore presented the state championship trophy to the board and introduced the team members, presenting each with a certificate of recognition. She added that the team has a well-supported program with many juniors coming back next year.

Lamore said the team had a record of 78-11 and won several tournaments throughout the season. She gave thanks to everyone for their support throughout the season, and told the board she was pleased the district's first IHSA state championship came in academics.

Team captain David York added to her remarks and said it had been a really great year.

Administrators also had a chance to recognize several students selected to attend the Illinois Principals Association of the Kaskaskia Region student recognition breakfast on March 19 at Greenville College. Those selected to attend included Rylie Mix from Madison Park, Za'Nisha Mitchell from Colt, Paige Foss from Russell, Hannah Niemann from Litchfield Middle School and Jordan Powell from Litchfield High School. Students were selected based on academics, athletics, character and leadership, and one student was selected from each building in the school district.

Following the presentation, Superintendent John Mullett said Litchfield had been selected to receive a $500 scholarship from the Illinois Association of Superintendents in the Kaskaskia Region, and he awarded it to Powell.

Just prior to the regular meeting, board members met for a few minutes to approve the list of Fogleman Trust Scholarships for this year. They will award 91 $2,500 scholarships this year, including 31 to Litchfield High School seniors. Those seniors will be recognized at the annual awards night ceremony on May 5.

Other Business

In other business, the board voted to approve the amended calendar for the 2013-2014 school year. Mullett said they usually do this in March, but with unusual winter weather, they waited until April. The last full day for students will be May 27, followed by a teachers' institute on May 28 and report card day on May 29. Litchfield High School Principal Dr. DeAnn Heck reported graduation will be Friday, May 23, at 7 p.m. on the football field, weather permitting.

Board members also approved the proposed calendar for the 2014-2015 school year with a teachers' institute on Aug. 13 and the first full student day on Aug. 14. Mullett said state law now requires the first student day to be a full day of school.

He said the rest of the calendar follows the pattern of the current school year, except for a Regional Office of Education training event for teachers on Oct. 10.

Mullett said he feels that since it will be the first combined ROE event with Montgomery/Christian and Fayette/Bond, that the district should be well represented at the institute.

In another change, Mullett said the last day of student attendance will be May 19, followed by a teachers' institute. There will be no report card day, and report cards will be sent to families by mail or e-mail following the institute.

In addition, the board set its regular meeting schedule for the coming year, with meetings on the third Thursday of each month, beginning at 7 p.m. in the conference room at Litchfield High School. The only exception to that is the November meeting, which will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 18, because the regular board meeting conflicts with the Illinois Association of School Boards conference in Chicago.

The board authorized a line item transfer of $69,000 in Title I and pre-K expenses from line 2330 (special area administrative services) to 2310 (board of education) to comply with the Ilinois State Board of Education limitation of administrative costs. Mullett said the funding helps to offset administrative salaries.

In a final note, the board authorized Mullett to negotiate terms and conditions of an energy services agreement with Ameresco, Inc. for a comprehensive contract for energy conservation and facility improvement projects.

Mullett said that Director of Student Services Mark Hunt worked very hard to secure matching grant funds for these projects and that they accepted the bid from Ameresco out of three total bids. He said they will act as the general contractor and site manager for the project, and that their work is impeccable. Mullett added that the district asked them to use local workers for the projects when possible.

In old business, the board approved the second reading of 13 updates to the board's policy manual. The first reading of the policy updates was held in March.

Under the consent agenda, the board approved early graduation of four students, Kimberly Millsap, Mercedes Wright, Kaitlyn Jett and Ryan Ross. All four will attend Lincoln Land Community College this summer to acquire the necessary credits to graduate LHS after the fall semester.

Information Items

In his monthly treasurer's report, Mullett said the district is right on target where they were hoping to be by this time in the school year. He noted the IMRF (retirement fund) was a little "out of whack," and that the district expects to receive final bills on the roofing project soon, which will  bring down the health, life, safety fund.

"We're right on track," he said. "But it's a little scary with the state of Illinois. You never know what they are going to do. I just hope we stay on track."

Board member Jeff Seabaugh asked if the district expected to receive its final payment in general state aid, and Mullett said he is hearing rumors they will, based on a close governor's election this fall.

In other information items, enrollment was down four students from the month of March across the district, but still up four students from the start of the school year.

Mullett added that Wolff Oil won the district's fuel bid from April 1 through April 15 for $3.1839 per gallon unleaded and $3.4081 per gallon for diesel. M&M Service Company won the bid from April 16 through April 30 with a bid of $3.296 per gallon unleaded and $3.421 per gallon for diesel.

He said board member Ron Anglin is planning to attend the Mid-State Special Education governing board meeting on April 28 in Morrisonville. Since Anglin just had surgery, Mullett asked the board to have a back-up just in case he cannot attend.

Board President Stephanie Blankenship said the spring meeting for the school boards of the Kaskaskia region will be held Thursday, May 1, at Maverick Steaks and Spirits in Litchfield, and she encouraged the board to have a good showing since the meeting would be in Litchfield.

In a final note, Mullett gave thanks to the board, administrators, teachers and parents for his first year as superintendent of the district.

"I'm shocked at how fast the school year has gone," he said.

In his report, LHS Student Council President David York said the group is busy planning for the school picnic on May 16. The group also joined with the Interact Club and created Easter baskets for young cancer patients in the district, Faith Hartzell and Hunter Niehaus. York said the idea came from Interact Club President Celie Bloome.

In a follow-up to his energy conservation report suggestion last month, York said they found a company willing to sell motion sensors for rooms at cost, and they are working on four trial classrooms. York added that he had hoped to remove one of the light bulbs from classroom light fixtures as another means of energy conservation, but discovered the lights use the same amount of energy whether they have two or three bulbs.

York said the LHS Prom will be held on Saturday, May 3, with the Prom Walk at 6:30 p.m., followed by the coronation of the king and queen at 7 p.m. He added that the scholastic bowl team will be unable to attend Prom this year because they will be competing in the small school national tournament in Minneapolis, MN.

Personnel

Following just over an hour in closed session, the board approved the monthly personnel report.

They accepted the resignation of Renee Rovey as high school cheerleading coach and approved the appointment of Jennifer Ruschhaupt and Ariel Rariden as co-coaches for the middle school scholastic bowl team and Jessie Bone as middle school cheerleading coach.

Board members also approved Maryann Brackman, Emily Kuhn, Shannon Holtgrave and Angela Cochran as substitute teachers and Trena White as a substitute teacher's aide.

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