By Alex Haglund
At the April meeting of the NCHS board, held on the evening of Monday, April 16, Interim Superintendent Thomas Hawkins was wearing multiple hats, as both District Bookkeeper Stephanie Bauza and Principal Mark Begando were absent that night.
In the district’s financial accounts, Hawkins stated that despite the education fund going down throughout the year, “we still have almost $1.5-million in the ed fund.”
There are building improvements that Hawkins and the board have been discussing since the fall. The improvements were recommended by the inspection team from the regional office of education, and Hawkins is seeking to have them paid for with health/life safety funds, which are set aside by school districts and can only be used for these types of improvements. The use of those funds requires an amendment, which was already approved by the school board, and which is then sent to the state.
“I do have an amendment in to the state,” Hawkins told the board. “Surprise, surprise, I haven’t heard back from them yet.”
Switching over to the reports normally given by Begando, Hawkins stated, “we’re back at 95% attendance,” which he said was a good thing, following the early months of 2018, “particularly January, with the flu.”
In a brief disciplinary report, Hawkins stated that most of the referrals for discipline handled at NCHS were for unexcused absences, missing detentions, not signing in at lunch, and cell phone use.
“All schools have issues,” Hawkins said, “and we’ll do what we have to in order to address them,” but conceded that overall, students at NCHS were doing pretty well with regards to problems, which were comparatively minor compared to those experienced by some districts.
The district received a donation from Little Hornets football, with Chad Courson speaking to the board about some of the changes Little Hornets was undergoing and some of the emphasis that the program had. For more, see page A5 of the April 25 edition of The Nashville News.
Setting up committees to handle certain issues that the board may experience has been a goal of Hawkins’ throughout the school year. Now, with the 2018-2019 school year fast approaching,
Hawkins asked the board to designate two more committees in preparation, which they did.
The transportation committee will include Kim Morris, Tom Speedie and Randy Schwartkopf.
The collective bargaining committee will include Sean Cook, Sharon Ogrzewalla and Paul Barczewski.
The board agreed to hire Cody Bauza and Hayden Heggemeier as part time custodial help for Barry Morris during the summer. Both Bauza and Heggemeier have worked in this role before and
Hawkins said that Morris was encouraging Hawkins to ask that they be rehired.
In personnel issues, Haeli Williamson tendered her resignation as the sponsor of the National Honor Society, effective as of the end of the 2017-2018 school year.
Cheerleading coach Roxen Pelczysnki resigned from the role, effective immediately.
The board approved signing a new contract with Balfour for the school yearbook. Hawkins stated that Alicia Heggemeier had spoken positively about Balfour and their role in keeping costs down for the yearbook activity fund, which before they were contracted, were out of control.
The board passed the prevailing wage ordinance, a formality, but required by law.
The board approved two new policy changes. The first, number 7:180 is a related to student harassment issues and lays out guidelines for order students to cease and desist from harassment.
“It’s a sad commentary on the state of things,” Hawkins said, to make these two policies necessary, but they did need to be in place.
The second policy, 7:270, set guidelines for the administration of anti-opioid and opioid-blocking medications, in the case of an emergency or overdose. This policy was likened to the district’s policy on the use of the AED (Automatic External Defibrillator), which is used for cardiac emergencies, and can be administered in an emergency as long as the person doing so has received the necessary training.
“Thank heavens that we’ve not needed it,” Hawkins said, “and I hope and pray that we never do.”
Ethan Reid was approved by the board as a volunteer football coach, pending completion of a required background check and orientation training.
Hawkins reported to the board that the district’s disposal of old materials had gone well. The board approved him disposing or selling the items, many from the kitchen, at the last meeting. While he had intended to sell the items, what he did instead was to offer them to the teachers first, allowing them to take items that they thought could be used in their classes, and many items were used in this manner.
While some items were sold (he quoted a figure of $64 being brought in), what was left over at the end would not have particularly been worth the effort to sell, and instead, he told the board that he contacted Carole Moeller and donated the last items to her to be sold at the rummage sale benefitting the State Theater.
Now, “we have two big deep fryers,” from the kitchen, Hawkins said, which he didn’t think would be worth selling because of how much trouble it would take to remove them, but was told by kitchen staff that they were already disconnected and essentially just needed to be lifted up and out. There was also a belt sander that Industrial Arts teacher Doug Kell stated was no longer needed which would also be sold by the district.
Hawkins gave the board an update on the Ag Incentive grant which the district was receiving.
“I really want to thank Mrs. Bond-Ledford,” Hawkins said. “I know that you know she’s good, but I don’t know if you know how good…I can hardly keep up with her.”
The Ag Incentive grant will help to pour a concrete pad for the greenhouse, and is in the amount of $4,900.
“The goal is to have the pad poured by June 30,” said Hawkins
The board approved authorizing Hawkins to prepare a tentative amended budget, the last for the fiscal year. They also approved setting a budget hearing for that last amended budget, to occur at 6 p.m., on June 25, just before the last regular school board meeting of the fiscal year.
Also setting the stage for the new school year, the board approved renewing the Title I schoolwide needs assessment and waiver. By having the waiver in place, the district can apply Title I funds where ever they are needed, to any students.
“My goal is, come July 1,” said Hawkins, “All Mr. Turner will need to do is turn your schoolwide application in and you’ll be up and running.”
The chainlink fence, which will be put up by the freshman/sophomore baseball fields, has a group of volunteers put together by Barczewski, ready to do work on it.
“We actually tried last week,” Barczewski told Hawkins and the rest of the board, “but the ground was too soft.”
Friends of Hornets baseball has put up a temporary fence for now, and in the long term, “we might not even need the extra hundred feet,” Barczewski said, referencing fencing material that the board had previously considered the purchase of.
Hawkins brought the Assembly Hall display board, discussed at the March meeting, up to the school board again.
“We’re going to let that go to the wayside,” he said. “we don’t want to adversely effect people who are already giving to this school and divert it to that display board.”
The board approved redesignating board member John Hallock as the District’s representative to the Kaskaskia Special Education District (KSED).
Summer office hours for the District were set as 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Thursday.
The board announced the date and time for this year’s graduation, Sunday, May 27, at 2 p.m., and the baccalaureate, Sunday, May 20, at 2 p.m.
The LCD Display Board that will be placed near the road in front of NCHS has had its placing marked, Hawkins told the board. Barczewski stated he was worried that it might too far back to see from the road when vehicles were heading north to south, but other board members stated they worried that too close to the road and drivers might run off and hit it accidentally. The issue will be discussed before final construction and installation is carried out.