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Top Hat Presents Wind Farm Details to the Board

The Mt. Pulaski CUSD 23 Board of Education called their regular meeting to order on May 16, 2022 at 5:00 PM in the grade school learning center.  All members were present except for Ashley Combs.

After Roll Call, the Board entered into Executive Session to discuss items dealing with employment, compensation and the evaluation of staff.  The Board returned to open session at 6:20 PM.

Under Recognition of Public, there was no request to address the Board.

The Consent Agenda included the approval for the payment of bills, the sales tax report, meeting minutes from April 27, 2022 and April 27, 2022 Executive Session minutes.  Superintendent Lamkey informed the Board that sales tax revenues reported for December rebounded to $27,968.77 for Logan County.  There were no additional questions on the consent agenda, which passed 6-0.

Under Reports, Superintendent Lamkey highlighted information about the expansion of the electricity consortium the school has participated in that will allow for future energy savings.  The consortium will involve over 400 school districts in Illinois and Ohio and allow for cost savings as the group purchases electricity in bulk.  Mr. Lamkey also reported that the flooring recall project was completed and the final walk-thru took place earlier Monday.  The replacement cost the district no money or resources to correct.  Finally, Mr. Lamkey spoke to the Board about a meeting with the Village of Elkhart concerning a TIF district renewal.  Mr. Smith and Mr. Lamkey will be meeting with Senator Turner and a district representative to discuss the new plan.  Elkhart will address the Board in June to go into detail of the renewal.

Mrs. Grunder and the Spanish Club presented to the Board on their trip to Chicago and the educational opportunities they encountered.  They thanked the district for their continued support which allows the students to broaden their learning.

The final item under Reports came from district Athletic Director Ryan McVickers.  Mr. McVickers highlighted Mt. Pulaski’s successful year in athletics which includes to date seven regional champions, five sectional championships, multiple State track competitors, JH Baseball 4th at State, 7th Grade Girls Basketball 2nd at State and 8th Grade Volleyball 3rd at State.  This is a great deal of success for one school district especially considering high school baseball, softball and track have all yet to finish their seasons.  Mr. McVickers also outlined the offseason work being completed by our players and coaches.

The discipline report reflected three in-school suspensions at the high school all for failure to serve detentions.  Two in-school suspensions and one out of school suspension at the grade school, all for disrespect toward staff.  All suspensions were one day or less except for a two day suspension at the grade school.

Leading New Business, Top Hat Wind Farm addressed the Board to inform them of the upcoming projects and timelines.  The majority of the new wind farm will be east of Mt. Pulaski between highways 54 and 121.  Work will begin late next winter and carry through the winter of 2024.  Our district will have 40 wind turbines that are expected to generate $1 million in the first year and average tax revenues of $750-$850,000 per year.  The district can expect to see a positive effect on district tax dollars by the 2025-26 school year.

The Board then considered a bid to resurface the parking lot at the high school and the playground at the grade school, which came in just over 1.1 million dollars.  The plans to resurface these areas were targeted last year when oil prices were much lower.  The cost of the project is over 40% higher than previously expected.  The Board postponed their vote on accepting the bid to seek potential change orders that could lower the costs.

Principal’s Lora and Fricke then presented the proposed changes to their prospective student handbooks.  Changes for the upcoming year were addressed and discussed with the Board.  The Board voted 6-0 to approve the handbook, omitting Section 11 from both which addressed the pandemic health guidelines.  This omission will allow the district to roll back handbook expectations to pre-pandemic standards.  

The Board then discussed salaries for district educational support staff (ESP) for the upcoming year.  Mr. Lamkey presented information to the Board revealing that our ESP salaries lagged behind other county school districts.  Administration described that these lower salaries hampered the hiring process and the retention of qualified staff.  The Board offered a range of raises from 3-11% that will make ESP salaries more locally competitive.  The increase was approved 6-0.

Next the Board approved a 3.5% salary increase for the district's two principals.  Superintendent Lamkey spoke very highly of Mt. Pulaski administrators and the work they are doing for the district.  The Board approved the raises 6-0.

The last item on the agenda was the Personnel Report.  The Board approved the following hires and resignations with a 6-0 vote:

  • The following resignations were approved:

    • Whitney Nichols as MPGS Paraprofessional

    • Anthony Lisenko as MPHS Math Teacher

    • Mary Osborne as MPGS Custodian

  • The following hires were also approved:

    • Ralph Allen as a full-time MPHS Ag Teacher

    • Jan Bowers as MPHS Math Teacher

    • Alora Goodey as MPHS and MPGS Volleyball Coach

    • Ryan Deibert as MPHS Basketball Coach

    • Ryan Davis as MPHS Assistant Boys Basketball Coach

    • Jeff Clements as MPHS Volunteer Assistant Basketball Coach

    • Tanker Wade as MPHS Volunteer Assistant Boys Basketball Coach

    • Noah Riedle as Summer Custodian

  • Brian Erlenbush as MPGS Boys Basketball Coach 5-1

The Board adjourned at 7:17 PM.  The next meeting will be June 20, 2022 at 5:00 PM.