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September BOE Update
September BOE Update
Fred Lamkey
Thursday, September 23, 2021

School Improvement Plans Unveiled

Board Recognized as IASB

The Mt. Pulaski CUSD 23 Board of Education called their regular meeting, amended budget hearing and paving hearing on September 20, 2021 to order at 7:00 PM in the grade school learning center.  All Board members were present.

The first item of business was the FY2022 Budget Hearing.  Superintendent Lamkey has made the Budget available for public viewing and received no inquiries.  Being that there were no additional questions, the budget hearing adjourned at 7:05.

The Board then began the Public Hearing for Paving work.  The hearing is required by the Illinois State Board of Education if any Fire Prevention and Safety Funds are to be used for paving.  The Building and Grounds Committee of the Board of Education identified the high school parking lot and the grade school playground as projects of focus on the Capital Projects List.  Mr. Lamkey had no questions presented to the district office.  Being that there were no additional questions, the paving hearing adjourned at 7:10.

The Board then completed Roll Call for the regular meeting. There were 25 members in the audience with 6 requesting to address the Board on the state’s mask mandiate.  The Board allowed all requesting members time to address the Board and then thanked them for their input.

The first item of business was the Consent Agenda, which included the approval for the payment of bills, the sales tax report, meeting minutes from August 16, 2021.  Superintendent Lamkey informed the Board that sales tax revenues reported for June were $28,039.95, which maintains the recent trend of increased sales in Logan County.  The motion passed 7-0.

Under Reports, Superintendent Lamkey announced that the Mt. Pulaski Board of Education has been recognized by the Illinois Association of School Boards as one of 35 districts in the state to earn the IASB’s 2021 School Board Governance Recognition designation. The Board will be honored at the IASA October Dinner Meeting in Rochester, as well as at the Joint Annual Conference in November. Mt. Pulaski was the only district in the Abe Lincoln Region to be selected.  This recognition is designed to acknowledge those school boards that have engaged in activities and modeled behaviors that lead to excellence in local school governance in support of quality public education.  This is an outstanding honor and a reminder of the incredible work we are doing in our district.  It not only represents the hard work of the Board, but also the collaborative effort of our principals and staff. 

In Unfinished Business, Mr. Lamkey updated the Board on changes to current restrictions and local metrics.  He noted that the district has three students under quarantine with two students testing positive.  County-wide trends indicate that COVID-19 spread is decreasing, but is still a concern.  Logan County is one of 19 counties earning a reduced warning status.  Discussion ensued regarding the effectiveness of masks and current mitigation measures.  Administrators and teachers alike confirmed that the school year is off to a great start and while masks are not preferred, they are not taking away from the district's success.  Mr. Lamkey pointed out that other larger districts are experiencing greater numbers of quarantine due to their larger student population, while others saw upswings due to foregoing the mask mandate. 

President Cowan and Mr. Smith addressed the Board on the ineffectiveness of masks, according to medical studies they have encountered.  Mr. Smith would like to seek alternative approaches to the current mask mitigation practices that could improve student well-being.  Superintendent Lamkey pointed out that students and teachers alike were functioning at high and very successful levels to start the school year and he would hate to endanger that success.  Mr. Smith said he would communicate with each Board member to determine if there was interest to conduct a special board meeting to consider alternative options.

In other unfinished business, Principal Fricke presented options on replacing banners in the 1963 gymnasium.  Options ranged from keeping the old banners to replacing all banners in a uniform manner. Mrs. Fricke will move forward with the option of replacing banners and sharing design concepts with the Building and Grounds Committee.

The Board then entered Executive Session to discuss personnel issues.

Under New Business, Mr. Lamkey and the Finance Committee delivered a FY2022 Budget presentation.  Superintendent Lamkey commented that all funds are showing a surplus and minimum fund balances are being maintained.  The committee highlighted five year trends for revenues, expenditures and fund balances, which are all trending up.  The Finance Committee will meet again this fall to discuss additional spending plans for the upcoming year.  The Board approved the FY2022 Budget 7-0.

Next the Board approved the resolution allowing for Fire Prevention and Safety funds to be potentially used for district paving projects.  The motion passed 7-0.

Mr. Lamkey then introduced the building principals and their building leadership teams to present the FY2022 School Improvement Plans.  The buildings presented the plans jointly and highlighted the three goal areas: student growth, curriculum and instruction and stakeholder collaboration.  These goal areas were derived from the District Improvement Plan that was approved by the Board in January of 2021 and the Strategic Planning that took place in February of 2020.  Superintendent Lamkey acknowledged the work by the administration and staff, stating “It is amazing what they have accomplished while navigating the challenges of the pandemic.”  This is the first time that the district has collectively engaged in district and school improvement plans.  This planning process is cyclical and will enable the district to maintain systems of best practices, accountability and evaluation each year.  The plans are available for public viewing on the school website.  The plans were approved 7-0.

The district opened the door to a new student activity, e-Sports, through the approval of a memorandum of understanding, allowing for the creation of a coach for e-Sports.  e-Sports is a gaming platform that allows students to participate virtually against other schools across the state.  e-Sports is an up and coming activity that can lead to college scholarships and career opportunities.  The Board approved the memorandum of understanding 7-0.

The Personnel Report hired the following positions:

  • MPGS Paraprofessional - Alexis Kuznik

  • MPHS e-Sports Coach - Anthony Lisenko

  • MPHS Bus Aide - Emma Otto

  • MPHS Assistant Baseball Coach - Troy Burgard

  • MPHS Assistant Softball Coach - Rex Tschantz

  • MPGS Assistant Baseball Coach - Gale Clark

  • MPHS Volunteer Girls Basketball Coach - Carey McVickers

Accepted the resignation of Brian Woodsworth as MPGS assistant softball coach.

The Personnel Report was approved 7-0.

The two positions below were pulled from the Personnel Report to be voted on separately.  Each item passed 6-0 with one present vote.

  • MPHS Paraprofessional - Sam Brown

  • MPGS Volunteer Boys Basketball Coach - Doug Martin

Under Items of Discussion

  • Superintendent Lamkey reminded the Building and Grounds Committee that a joint inspection with the park boards of Veterans and Frazier Park need to be scheduled in the upcoming weeks.  Mr. Martin volunteered to schedule the meeting.

  • Mr. Lamkey reminded the Board of the October 6th IASB Dinner Meeting in Rochester.  Mrs. Combs and Mr. Wilham each volunteered to represent the district at the meeting.

  • Mr. Lamkey then asked the Board if MPCUSD23 would like to host the March 1, 2022 IASB Dinner Meeting this spring.  The Board enthusiastically supported the opportunity.

The Board adjourned the meeting at 10:58 PM.  The next regular meeting will be Monday, October 18th in the MPGS Learning Center at 6:00 PM.