Brad Turner, CENTER, shown with school board members Tom Speedie and John Hallock, speaks at the meeting of the NCHS Board on Tuesday, July 17, his first as school Superintendent.
New Fiscal Year Begins With Turner Taking Reins At District 99
By Alex Haglund
The meeting of the Nashville Community High School Board on Tuesday, July 17, was the first meeting officially presided over by new district superintendent Brad Turner. The meeting was also the first of the new fiscal year and was a relatively brief one.
The meeting did start with hearing due to the board planning to take a waiver of an Illinois School Code. Turner said that the hearing and waiver was due to administrative costs being limited to a five-percent yearly increase.
Due to the abrupt departure of former superintendent Ernie Fowler and the retirement agreement related to that, as well as the employment of interim superintendent Thomas Hawkins, last year’s administrative costs went up by 12%, “so we have to apply for this waiver,” said Turner, “it’s a one-time thing.”
No members of the public were present for the meeting, but Turner said that he had spoken to someone over the phone about, stating that after he explained the circumstances for it being unique to this year, the caller seemed satisfied.
As for general financial issues, “July is pretty easy,” said Turner, while the state does still owe the district money for fourth quarter categorical payments, after huge payments received in transportation and general state aid by the district at the end of June, and no local funds set to come in, “it’s just expenditures.”
Starting the meeting, acting board president John Hallock (board president Shawn Cook was not present) greeted Turner and once more offered the board’s thanks to Hawkins, particularly for the last minute work done after receiving the payments from the state mentioned above on the day of the board’s final meeting of the fiscal year.
District Bookkeeper Stefanie Bauza completed that last minute work on the budget with Hawkins and agreed with Turner that particularly compared to that, July was quiet. Bauza was also reappointed by the board to be the district’s IMRF (Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund) Authorized Agent.
With school starting up again soon, the fall season of school sports will be coming too. The board approved setting the prices for athletic admissions for the upcoming school year, with no changes to the prices for the upcoming year.
Hallock did mention that he had been asked why there was no discount for season ticket holders versus just buying the tickets to each event separately, while Bauza said she had assumed that the board had gotten requests for senior discounts for tickets
Board member Kim Morris said that for season tickets, “Basketball, you get a seat, that’s the advantage. Football is just general admission.”
While board members did seem receptive to the both the idea of a senior discount price (perhaps set between the cost of an adult admission and a student one), as well as the idea of a discount for season ticket purchasers, it was stated that the price of admission needs to be set at a level equal to other teams in the Hornets’ conferences and need to be set before tickets can be printed for sports beginning soon. With this in mind, the board stated they might revisit the ideas before the start of the next school year, but for now set the prices the same as last year.
After closed session, the board approved the resignation of Jessica Spenner as an assistant girls track coach. Spenner has been approved to be reclassified as a volunteer girls assistant track coach.
The board approved hiring Evelyn Hankins as a part-time academic enrichment teacher.
There was a personnel item to approve a new girls assistant track coach. The item was tabled and will be brought back at the August meeting, to be held on Monday, August 20, when the board will be considering other personnel-related items.
Turner told the board that a Title I grant had been submitted to the state by Hawkins, and after that is approved, a Title I Schoolwide plan, which distributes the application of Title I funds across the entire school instead of just targeted populations, could be implemented by him with Board approval– which they gave.
The board set the dates for the regular meetings next year. Meetings are generally held on the third Monday of each month, at 6 p.m., in the school board room located just left inside of the main entrance to NCHS (meetings with more people in attendance than normal are usually moved to the NCHS Media Center).
There are three planned exceptions to meetings being held on the third Monday of a month: in September, the meeting will be held on the fourth Monday, September 24, to allow the requisite 30 days after an amended budget is first display. In February, the meeting will be moved to Monday, February 25, due to the meeting originally falling on Presidents’ Day. Finally, in June, the meeting is moved to Monday, June 24, so that the board can have more time before approving the final amended budget of the fiscal year.
The board approved on second reading a number of changes to their board policy manual. The revised board policies were changed at the suggestion of the ISBA, but one item, related to school gifted programs was omitted – NCHS doesn’t have one, so it wasn’t applicable.
The only item Turner had for the board as part of his superintendent’s report was that he had received notice that the school’s energy contract has expired on June 1 and without it, “we go back on regular Ameren accounts.”
Turner said that while the programs did make budgeting easier, they didn’t save a huge amount of money. He asked the board what they would like him to do and they agreed that reenrolling in a billing program or seeking a new one sounded like a good idea if it made his job easier and saved money.