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February BOE Update
February BOE Update
Fred Lamkey
Thursday, February 18, 2021

2021-22 School Calendar Approved

The Mount Pulaski Board of Education conducted their regular meeting on February 17th at 6:00 PM with all members in attendance including Mr. Brown by Zoom and Mrs. Combs by phone.

Roll call was taken for the February regular meeting at 6:00 PM.  Five attendees were present for the meeting, but no one addressed the Board during Recognition of the Public.

The Board voted 7-0 to approve the Consent Agenda, which included payment of bills, sales tax revenue report, minutes from January 20, 2021 regular meeting, minutes from January 20, 2021 executive session. 

In Reports, Mr. Lamkey relayed that the district was now certified to administer COVID-19 Antigen testing.  The tests arrived last week and the district’s main intent is to have the tests available for employees, but administration was exploring the concept of testing students as well.  Superintendent Lamkey also noted that the CDC and LCHD informed residents that people who receive both vaccination shots will not be required to quarantine if they are in direct contact with a person infected with COVID-19.  This exemption lasts for three months after the second vaccination.

The energy crisis in Texas has reached Illinois.  Mr. Lamkey notified the Board that he was monitoring the district’s natural gas usage because of the soaring rates related to the energy shortage in Texas.  Mt. Pulaski Schools are under contract for a specific amount of therms at a prearranged price, but any overage of therms would be at market value.  Superintendent Lamkey is working with Ameren and Stone River Group to determine the district’s best course of action.

Next, athletic director Ryan McVickers spoke with the Board about the state of athletics and the process of jump starting sports.  While winter sports are well underway, he is still awaiting news on how the second winter and spring seasons will play out.  Mr. McVickers exclaimed to the Board “It is just great to have the kids playing again!”

In Unfinished Business, Mr. Lamkey took questions from the Board on the pandemic.  The superintendent was pleased to announce the district has gone over three weeks without a positive case, but still remains diligent on mitigation practices.  Mr. Smith asked if the district was still seeking to extend the school day to 3:00 PM for the 4th Quarter.  Mr. Lamkey replied it is our goal to return to full days as soon as possible, but there are barriers that the administration must work through.  He also indicated that the districts options will be much clearer in March.

Under New Business, Mrs. Fricke explained the required agreement for SOPPA (Student Online Personal Protective Act) which is designed to protect students and their information.  SOPPA is a work in progress as districts across the state hope to have it up and running for next school year.  The agreement was approved 7-0.

The Board then approved a resolution authorizing the abatement of sales tax revenues to pay bond debts incurred during high school construction.  The Board had previously approved the abatement, but this resolution authorizes the county to abate the sales tax revenues.   The resolution passed 7-0.

The Board then voted 7-0 to a joint agreement to continue offering course work with the Lincolnland Technical Education Center for the upcoming school year.

A resolution was presented to the Board from the Teachers Retirement System to add a supplemental savings plan for teachers.  While the resolution is a mandate, Superintendent Lamkey advised the Board to not act on this item until more clarity was provided for how the plan will function.  The Board voted 7-0 to postpone this action until Mr. Lamkey could offer further detail.

Mr. Lamkey presented the 2021-22 School Calendar to the Board and it was approved 7-0.  Highlights of the calendar include:

  • Student attendance begins on Monday, August 23rd
  • 8 Day Christmas Break
  • 6 Day Easter Break
  • School holidays observed for Labor Day, Columbus Day, Thanksgiving Break, Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday, President’s Day, Pulaski Day, Memorial Day and the 4th of July
  • Students will attend Veteran’s Day and each school will conduct activities to bring about awareness and civic responsibility
  • High School Graduation will be Sunday, May 22, 2022 at 3:00 PM
  • The final day of student attendance will be May 25th and final day for teachers will be May 26th

After a brief discussion, the Board chose to move the date of the April Regular Board Meeting from Monday April 19th to Wednesday April 21st to seat newly elected members who will be confirmed on April 20th.

Mrs. Fricke and Mr. Morgan will be working to replace office staff member Mrs. Reed who resigned her position in January.  Mr. Lamkey presented an updated job description for her position which was approved 7-0 after brief discussion of qualifications.

In the Personnel report, the Board approved the hiring of Ryan Davis as Junior Varsity Basketball Coach, Madison Thomas as volunteer grade school and high school volleyball coach and the resignation of food service worker Kristen Traum.

The Board then entered Executive at 7:19 PM to discuss the employment and evaluation of staff.  There were no further action items following Executive Session and the Board adjourned at approximately 7:45 PM.  The next Board meeting is scheduled for March 15, 2021.