Okawville School Board Approves Handbook Changes

By Jill Moon

The Okawville School Board met April 28 and discussed the school handbook. Most of the small changes came directly from the Regional Office of Education’s handbook. Principal Spinka said the bulk of the changes were to clarify policies for parents.

One difference is that there are to be no escalating punishments; for example a cell phone violation gets detention and a parent has to come to the school and pick up the phone each and every time. No matter if it’s the first or fifth violation.

Another policy adopted is that all students must wear athletic shoes every day, at all times, to preserve the new gym floors. Tobacco products and fire causing items are prohibited.

One issue still in debate is seniors opting out of final exams. Principal Keith Senior proposed that only seniors be allowed to do so if they met qualifying conditions: they maintained a 2.0 GPA, had no suspensions, and no unexcused absences. Board President Ron Recker questioned this proposal.

After some discussion it was tentatively agreed that only students meeting the requirements for exemption be given the option and then, if they chose to take the final, it would not count against the final grade they had already earned.

The board agreed after a question from Okawville parent Danielle Williams that the drop-off zone for students would be at the grade school end only and there would be no parking allowed.

Cones have already been utilized this school year to stop parents from passing. High school students will have two days to provide a hand-written note from a parent following an absence; no e-mail excuses will be accepted.

Lloyd Isringhaus was voted to keep his position as representative for the Kaskaskia Special Education District.

The school’s budget will be available to the public on May 23 and voted on at 7:45 June 23. The school district treasurer’s salary was approved at $1,400.

The board accepted the retirement of 6th grade teacher Judy Hevner. She thanked the board for her 25 years with Okawville. The board also accepted the resignation of Jeanine Shepperd after 8 years.

Principal Spinka reported that the grade school raised over $13,000 for a jump rope fundraiser.

Principal Senior reported that the district as of now had 37 incoming freshmen.

He also stated that the average score of Okawville juniors on the ACT was 23.6 while the state average is 20.

Superintendent Fuhrhop expected another success for the Okawville Jr.-Sr. Prom with 95% of students traditionally attending both the prom and after-prom. He gave special admiration for the efforts of the after-prom volunteers who kept the kids at the school all night and out of trouble.

In further comments, Fuhrhop noted that some of the concrete work needed at the baseball field is done but the rest must wait for the season to be finished.

As the state overpaid school districts two years ago it does want it back. However, Fuhrhop said Okawville’s overpayment was in the $11,000 range compared to other districts in the $40,000 range and up and would be pro-rated.