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March BOE Update
March BOE Update
Fredrick Lamkey
Wednesday, March 18, 2020

The Mount Pulaski Board of Education met for the March 16th regular meeting at 6:00 PM in the district office located at Mount Pulaski Grade School.  All Board members were in attendance less Doug Martin.  No members of the audience chose to address the Board.

The Board began the meeting by approving the Consent Agenda which included payment of bills and sales tax revenue report.   There were no questions on the Consent Agenda.

Under Reports, Mr. Lamkey spoke of the vast progress at the high school construction site.  The roof has been completed and workers are closing in outside walls, pouring concrete, completing HVAC and electric work and roughing in plumbing.  Mr. Lamkey suggests having the April Regular Board Meeting at the high school so Board Members may tour the construction site first hand. 

Mr. Lamkey reviewed the work of the district leadership team and the building leadership teams.  Members of the high school team are: Mr. Copley, Mrs. Grunder, Mr. Morgan, Mrs. Selinger and Mr. Waterkotte.  The grade school team members include Mrs. Burgard, Mrs. Kloba, Miss Lex, Mrs. Lora, Mr. Newton, Miss Powell and Mrs. Switzer.  District leadership team members include Mr. Lamkey, Mr. Cowan, Mrs. Mott, Mr. Morgan, Mr. Newton, Mrs. Fricke, Mr. Copley, Mrs. Grunder, Mrs. Kloba and Miss Powell.  Parents, students and community members will occasionally be asked to serve on the team as well. 

Under New Business, Superintendent Lamkey introduced a discussion topic concerning tax abatement.  Board members shared ideas about abating taxes for the upcoming year.  Mr. Lamkey will gather more information from the county and the board will give the concept further consideration at the April Regular Meeting of the Board.

The district special education cooperative, Tri-County Special Education Association (TCSEA), came to an agreement on a memorandum of understanding with its bargaining unit to raise salaries for school psychologists and social workers who serve the cooperative.  There is such a shortage in these fields, that TCSEA felt it necessary to raise salaries in order to retain current staff and attract future candidates.  The Mt. Pulaski Board approved the memorandum of understanding 6-0.

The next item under New business concerned the Strategic Planning Report which was the product of the February 22nd Strategic Planning Meeting.  Patrick Allen, of the Illinois Association of School Boards, facilitated discussion from that February meeting, gathered data and summarized the participants work into a report.  The school district will now hand this report over to the district leadership team to form the Mount Pulaski CUSD 23 District Improvement Plan.  This plan will guide school improvement planning for the next 3-5 years for the district.  Goal areas include School and Community Relations, District Finance, Student Achievement and Curriculum, Facilities and Programs/Services.

Mr. Lamkey then discussed the COVID-19 Virus (coronavirus).  In this discussion, Mr. Lamkey discussed the actions taken by the district which include satellite lunch services, home instruction, early closure and the two week closure issued by Governor Pritzker.  Mr. Lamkey commended the entire staff for their efforts to pull together and prepare for this unprecedented closure.  Superintendent Lamkey stated “I am so proud of how our staff and students have handled this situation.  While these decisions are difficult, we need to have a global perspective about why these restrictions are necessary.”  School is currently slated to return to session on March 31st, but the Board fears this closure could run even longer.

On a more positive note, the Board approved the Personnel Report 6-0 hiring Meg Meeker as junior high science and Alisha Wahls as junior English language arts.  Mr. Newton added that he and Mrs. Lora were very pleased with the process and results.  An another hire included Marty Spears as a part-time bus driver and Mr. Allen will add an additional instructional period to his schedule as an Agriculture Teacher bringing him to 7/8 time.  Grade school teachers, Mrs. Switzer and Miss Powell were also granted tenure.

The Board entered executive session to discuss the employment and evaluation of district staff.  Upon returning to open session, the Board renewed Superintendent Fred Lamkey’s contract running through June of 2023.

Mrs. Mott discussed an Illinois Association of School Boards professional development opportunity in August.  Board members were checking calendars for their availability.  The meeting then adjourned at 7:25 PM.

The next meeting will be on Monday, April 20, 2020 in the district office at the Mt. Pulaski Grade School.