Superintendent Informs Board About State Issues

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The April meeting of the Nokomis School Board was called to order on Tuesday, April 20, by President Chad Ruppert.   In addition to Ruppert, Superintendent Scott Doerr, board members Joe Gasparich, Steve Janssen, Denny Bauman, Carl Ray Fesser, and Ben Tarter were all present.  Board member Jim Eisenbarth was absent.  Also in attendance were principals Reedy, McDowell, and McDonald, as well as other interested guests.   Zoom internet access to the meetings has been discontinued as of this meeting.

In his report to the board, Superintendent Doerr informed them the third quarter mandated categorical payments to the district in March had not yet been paid.  He said the state owed the district $111,668.79 in the categories of special education, driver’s education, early childhood and transportation funds.  He did not elaborate on when he thought they might receive that payment.

In other news regarding the state that concerned the district, he reported there were currently 24 bills in the House and Senate that will potentially change the curriculum for each district in the state.  

Doerr reported the grant has been approved for the vast majority of the proposed summer projects.  He said the greenhouse had been ordered and would be delivered in six to eight weeks.  Also ordered were the security system and updated intercom system at North School, as was the duct work and air quality work, which would begin in July.  He said the electrician is working on the price quotes for rewiring the stage and the plumber is working on quotes for hot water on the first floor of the east side of the high school building.  He also said they had met with the architect and kitchen designer on the kitchen remodel and anticipated receiving the drawings soon.  He said this remodel should include an oven and hood, hand sink, serving line, and warmers.

Doerr said high school graduation was planned for Saturday, May 29 at 7 p.m.  The ceremony will be held in the new gym.  Each graduate will receive eight tickets for family and friends.  Junior marshals will be present, but teacher attendance will be limited to approval by the principal.  There will be no band or chorus present.

He said eighth grade promotion will happen on Tuesday, May 25 at 1:30 p.m.  It will be for eighth graders only, at which time they will receive awards and promotion certificates.  

They will be allotted five tickets per student for parents.  There will then be an eighth grader only celebration from 2:30 until 4 p.m.

Doerr reported some administrative transfers which include Ms. Kim moving to second grade, Mrs. Marty switching to kindergarten, and Janet Warren becoming special education aide.  No board action was required for these changes.

Dr. Doerr said the FY21 budget will be amended this year.  He informed a notice will be published in May with a scheduled June adoption date.

During the discussion of the consent agenda, Doerr reported IHSA would be charging assessments this year as a part of their renewal process.  He said it was the first time they had charged an assessment in “many, many years.”  He said the district’s estimated fee is $875 and would cover the next one to three years.  Gasparich rhetorically asked if membership was required, but acknowledged it was necessary in order to participate in post-season play.  In a related question during the approval of bills in the consent agenda process, Gasparich noted the spike in athletic fees for the period, which Doerr explained was the sudden influx of referees’ fees and tournament fees due to the return of competitive sports.

Doerr provided a report to the board on the district’s remote learners, saying they had one permanent remote learner at the North School and no temporary remotes as of that day.  He said at junior and senior high schools they had one permanent remote and seven temporary remote learners.

Earlier in the meeting, the board heard a brief presentation from Cheryl Martin, who is the Nokomis food service director from Opaa!, the food service management company for the district.  She reported student participation in the meal program had shown an impressive increase, not only because of the state free meal program, but also because she believed the students like the food.  She went on to commend the school kitchen staff and gave a brief overview of future plans for the school meal program.

The board also heard from concerned parent Mike Schneider.  He spoke to the board regarding an issue at North school of “calling kids out” about tying their shoes and not allowing them to participate because of it, saying at that age they may not yet know how.  He felt this set them up for additional teasing at the hands of their classmates and damage to their self-esteem.  The board thanked him for his time.

In addition to written reports they provided to the board, Mr. Reedy added that “the Easter parade was awesome.”  He said he felt the community’s participation was fantastic and the kids thought it was like a field trip and loved it.  He also reported that at last count the penny wars fundraiser had raised $2,146 at last count.  Ruppert asked Reedy if he was happy with the personnel moves already discussed, which he affirmed.  Principal McDowell had nothing additional to add to her report, except that SAT testing had went well.

McDonald reported that Nokomis application to enter into the Cahokia Conference and the Lincoln Prairie Conference was not looking good and Nokomis would likely have to remain independent at this time.  He said the biggest stumbling block was scheduling and that the conferences would prefer to admit new schools two at a time.  He added that many of these schools have their schedules–especially for football–set three and four years out.  Ruppert told him that the board would provide any support or lobbying they could.

 Janssen made a motion to approve the FY21 amended school calendar.  The motion was seconded by Fesser.  Doerr explained that the final calendar included the use of the two snow days and takes the last student attendance day to May 25 and the last day for teachers being May 26.  The motion passed unanimously on a voice vote.

Gasparich made a motion to approve the tentative FY22 school year.  Tarter seconded the motion.  Doerr said the calendar had been coordinated with the other schools in the county to facilitate the vocational consortium.  He said it included 176 days for students and 180 days for staff.  The motion passed unanimously on a voice vote.

Gasparich made a motion to approve the memorandum of understanding between Nokomis CUDS #22 and the Nokomis Education Association.  Fesser seconded the motion and it passed unanimously on a roll call vote.

Janssen made a motion to approve the memorandum of understanding for the SCI Career and Innovation Center.  Doerr explained it was a little different than the memorandum they approved last year because it now included the Macoupin County schools.  He said it included the formation of a “quasi-board” and an agreement to share classes, etc.  Ruppert questioned the formation of the board and representation, which Doerr said would probably not be addressed until the consortium building was remodeled.  Doerr said there was also some minor issues due to not all the schools being in the Lincoln Land Community College district.  Tarter seconded the motion and it approved unanimously.

Fesser made a motion to approve the service agreement with GO Solutions for the 2021-2022 school year.  Doerr explained it was a one-year contract with the third-party administrator that handles all the districts’ Medicare claims and that they had helped the district immensely over the years.  Janssen seconded the motion and it was approved unanimously on a roll call vote.

Gasparich made a motion to approve a 2.5 percent salary increase for support staff effective July 1 as presented.  Doerr recommended the move and pointed out that it aligned with other increases.  Fesser seconded the motion and it was approved unanimously on a roll call vote.

Fesser moved to enter closed session at 8:47 p.m., which was seconded by Tarter and approved by the board.The board reentered regular session at 9:25 p.m. and Tarter made a motion to approve the resignation of Peggy Brown at the conclusion of the 2020-2021 school year.  Janssen seconded the motion and it passed on a voice vote. Gasparich made a motion to employ Mason Fesser as the NHS agriculture teacher for the 2021-2022 school year pending final certification and background checks.  The motion was seconded by Tarter and approved on a roll call vote with all members present voting yes except Fesser, who abstained.

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