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April BOE Update
April BOE Update
Fred Lamke
Thursday, April 22, 2021

Incumbent Board Members Take Oath of Office

On Wednesday, April 21st, the Mt. Pulaski CUSD 23 Board of Education met for the regular meeting at 5:30 PM in the Mt. Pulaski Grade School Learning Center.  This meeting was originally scheduled for Monday, April 19th, but was postponed until the 21st so that the official Logan County Abstract of Votes could be received in order to seat newly elected Board members.  All seven Board members were present.

The Board started the meeting in Executive Session to conduct a self-evaluation activity as well as consider employment of staff.  The Board exited Executive Session at approximately 5:25 PM.

The first action of the Board was to seat the newly elected Board with the Oath of Office.  Once the oath of office was completed, the meeting transitioned to the selection of Board Officers.  Eric Cowan was elected as President, Deanne Mott was elected as Vice-President and Ashley Combs was elected as Secretary.  The Board then approved Board meeting dates and times for next school year.  Meetings will be held the third Monday of each month except for 3 months.  In January and February the regular meetings will be held on the third Wednesday and in April the meeting will be held on the 4th Monday due to spring break.  Meetings will be conducted at 6:00 PM with the primary location being at the Mt. Pulaski Grade School Learning Center.

Under Recognition of Public, Superintendent Lamkey read a letter from Jennifer Beggs that protested the changes in the grade school promotion ceremony which was accompanied by a petition of 105 people who supported holding the ceremony in a traditional fashion.  There were three other guests, none of whom requested to address the Board.

The Board adopted the Consent Agenda which included approval of the payment of bills, sales tax revenue report, March 15 regular Board meeting minutes, March 15 Executive Session minutes and membership renewals for the IESA and IHSA.  The motion passed unanimously.

Board member, Rob Smith, recapped the first meeting of the newly formed Finance Committee.  The committee is composed of Mr. Smith, President Cowan, Kathy Tschantz and Mr. Lamkey.  Their purpose is to work with Mr. Lamkey to gain a greater understanding of school finance which can then be translated to the entire Board.  The committee will have a special focus on budgeting and the tax levy.  

Doug Martin then reported on the recent Building and Grounds Committee meeting which included an update on future projects.  The district will be moving forward on constructing a new marquee sign in front of the high school, due in large part to a private donation bestowed upon the district this winter.  In addition, a lighting project along Spring Street was discussed as well as a joint sidewalk project with the city.  Superintendent Lamkey described the recent Health Life Safety Survey conducted by the district architect which revealed needed improvements on the district's campus.  The most prominent of improvements includes a new roof on the 1963 portion of the high school, as well as a new roof on the grade school gym.  The Building and Grounds Committee will release the Capital Projects list later this spring.

In Unfinished Business, the Board discussed the current landscape of the pandemic, noting changes in quarantine and social distancing in schools.  Conversations were also held in regard to masks and other mitigations. 

Mr. Morgan confirmed Board member graduation responsibilities in the first item of new business.  Mrs. Mott and Mr. Martin will have the honor of awarding graduates with diplomas on May 23rd.  The high school ceremony will begin at 3:00 PM and is planned to be held in the 1963 gymnasium.  Mr. Morgan is working with the families of graduates to determine attendees.  The high school is still hopeful for reduced mitigation restrictions as more and more people become vaccinated.  Mrs. Lora noted that the grade school promotion ceremony will be Wednesday, June 2nd at 1:00 PM in the grade school gym.

The Board then unanimously approved three consecutive items all related to the district Health Life Safety Survey.  This survey will allow the district to use money generated through Health Life Safety to make district improvements to infrastructure.   

The company that manages the district’s website passed along changes concerning privacy issues and their work with the district.  This motion was approved 7-0.

Superintendent Lamkey then asked the Board to postpone voting on the potential memorandum of understanding with Mt. Pulaski Education Association and the linked FY22 calendar amendment.  Mr. Lamkey explained that it would be better to have the agreement vetted by the Personnel Committee prior to being brought to the Board for consideration.  A Personnel Committee meeting will be held  prior to the May 17 regular meeting so that the board may reconsider the motions then.  Both motions were postponed by a 7-0 vote.

The Board then engaged in a lively discussion concerning the potential for adding a requirement of three years of math in high school.  Currently 8th grade Algebra I credit counts toward the three required high school math credits.  Moving forward, this could mean that students could opt out of math in their junior and senior years leaving them less prepared for post high school.  The discussion ended with the Board requesting to hear from Mr. Copley, Ms. Hinson and Mrs. Fricke for further explanation next month.

The Board next approved the MPHS Course Catalog for next year which includes the addition of a 4th year math class that will focus on students transitioning into post high school training and workforce.  The motion passed unanimously.

The administration then recommended the revamping of library supervision in the district.  The grade school position becomes available as Mrs. Kretzinger will move from her position as a library paraprofessional to a high school administrative assistant.  Administrators are recommending the combination of the high school and grade school library paraprofessional positions to become one single district position.  The Board approved the new job description 7-0.

In the Personnel Report, the Board unanimously approved the following items:

  • Retiring Employment Agreement with Kathleen Tarrant

  • Kristi Olson as MPGS Cheer Coach for the 2021-22 season.

  • Jamie Jones as MPGS Yearbook Sponsor for the 2021-22 school year.

  • The resignation of Chelsea Irwin as MPGS paraprofessional

  • The employment of Erin Alderson as MPGS paraprofessional

  • The employment of Troy Burgard as MPGS baseball coach for the 2021-22 season

  • The employment of Travis Lingafelter as MPGS softball coach for the 2021-22 season

Noting no additional other business, the Board adjourned at approximately 8:00 PM.  The next regular meeting of the Board of Education will be held on Monday, May 17th.