May 20, 2022 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

Live at SJO School Board

We are here at SJO School Board. In the music room.
Got my temperature checked. I passed.

The only audience members are me and Mr. Searby.

Adding an agenda item for a memorandum of understanding between STA and the district.

Jim Acklin is the assistant cross country coach.

Kevin Martlege is the volunteer tennis sponsor. #sports

The tort fund was running a negative because the district had not received its levy money.

SIDENOTE: This music room is a LOVELY room. It’s so bright and cheerful. I don’t have a musical bone in my body but I would take band just to hang out in here.

Searby, is the STA president, saying that the teachers are excited to be back. “It has been a long spring and summer.”

Sept. 4 the district is adding a remote planning day. The grade school is doing it that same day. NO SCHOOL FOR STUDENTS THAT DAY. I misunderstood earlier so thank you to the parent who pointed it out!

6.5 percent of the student body is full-time remote. (So 30 kids give or take)

Sept. 28 is the budget hearing. In 11 years one person has attended a budget hearing. They usually last 2 minutes. But feel free to come!

Board Policy updates.

SIDENOTE: All the administrators, visitors and board members are wearing masks and wearing them correctly! I’ve heard other districts (Not any we cover) aren’t as good at mask wearing. #modelinggoodbehavior

Tentative budget information.

Basically, this year has messed with the budget so … it’s different than other years. For example, money the district would receive from hosting sporting events has been cut way back, ect.

The district has only received half their levy money. #GETITTOGETHER

Brooks saying they have had a really good start to the school year saying having kids back in the building has been amazing. “The students and staff have been great. There have been a ton of challenges, don’t get me wrong but it is so much better than it was in the spring.”

“We are going to have issues and challenges,” Brooks said. “Our goal is to remain open until someone forces us to not be in some capacity. “

There are some challenges with remote learning from a teacher and student perspective. We have had a few situations where people have had symptoms but no positives yet. When there is a positive they will go through their proceedures.

“We have put students and staff in as safe a situation as possible at this time,” Brooks said.

“We are very fortunate to have the staff we have with the attitude they have,” Brooks said.

Page saying the kids are happy to be back. “They haven’t tried to buck the system at all,” he said. “They have been very willing to do whatever it takes to stay in school so that has been a huge help on why we have had such a successful start.”

Searby saying the teacher institute days were filled with apprehension whether “We would even be able to do this” but the first day came and went and then the second. “We are just going to keep doing this until we can’t.”

Glenn Fisher Athletic Complex Update. The monument will be put near the parking lot near the north gate. Jim Rein saying it will be very visible.

The cost is 3250. #wellworthit

Intergovernmental agreement time- SJO’s librarian goes to the grade school for one hour a week. The Grade School pays the expenditures for the librarian’s overload.

STA and District agreement discussion. Evaluation- due to COVID-19, tenured teachers have the option to not be evaluated this year but be evaluated next year and the following year. (They are evaluated every other year) They also have the option to be evaluated this year. Non-tenured teachers are not given the option. Brooks saying he, Page and Franzen can evaluate teachers so he is not concerned with bumping the evaluations to the following year.

Sick leave agreement- discussing how potentially a teacher could be out 24 days and never be ill due to health department requirements. The agreement would allow teachers who are “quarantined” and not ill to continue teaching remotely. The teacher would have to be live with their students during the time they have classes. There would be a sub in the physical classroom.

Currently, there is a staff member who’s spouse tested positive for covid. Health department said she could be out for 24 days.

No action tonight. The teachers are not required to do this. They can utilize the federal coronavirus sick leave, ect.

Principal’s Report- enrollment figures. “We are really, really down.”
434 students in the district. “This is the lowest it has been in recent memory.”

17 moved out, 4 moved in. The exchange student did not return.
They had a request for an exchange student this summer but denied it due to COVID. Some students who were going to return for extended services did not return, two of the 434 are at READY.

They are lower than the projections.

“We have had three or four students who have chosen to be homeschooled due to COVID,” Page said. “But the others are leaving the district.”

113 projected for freshman class now down to 105.

Each class on average loses 10 kids over the course of four years.

“I don’t see the numbers improving until the current seventh-grade class,” Page said. Page said that class is the next “large” class.

SJO Friend of Education- Jon Walden has been nominated two years in a row by Shane Baker. Jon worked for Fed Ex and donated a “boat-load of stuff” to the school district. For example, he has donated spray paint for the baseball and softball diamonds. Anything they cannot utilize he donates to the school district. “He has just been over the top with those types of things. He has done a lot of great things for our school district.”

Jim Rein giving a shoutout to the teachers and administrators for a good start to the school year.


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