December 6, 2022 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

Live at SJO School Board

I am the only one in the audience.

The House on Main Street is coming down this week or next. Then the school will own that entire area.

FInancial update: One levy payment from the 2021 levy. They have not received the second. Discussing how gas and utility rates will affect their budget. Expecting to be $22,000 over for fuel for buses and drivers ed cars. “That is not ideal, obviously,” said Superintenent Brian Brooks.

Saying that if gas prices don’t go down they may have to look at extracurricular schedules and get “creative” with scheduling, and transportation.

Kitchen and Cafeteria prices update. The district has not updated prices in years. “We have had a huge number of kids in the last year or so who come into the commons and purchase the ala carte.” Brooks saying not a lot of students pick the actual meal. They do ala carte items.

Brooks saying the price increase would be very small.

SRO Contract: The contract expired this year. There has been a little bit of a lag. Brooks’ recommendation is to continue the 2-year agreement with the Sheriff’s department. Sharing the officers with the grade school and PVO.

Alicia Maxey has concerns. She 100 percent agrees that we need a resource officer in this building. With all of the things that have happened in the past with these shootings. These shootings are over in 3 to 7 minutes. If he is at the grade school he is no help here.



“I personally believe we are not doing a service to our kids and our community if we don’t have a resource officer here 100 percent of the time. I don’t want to be the one to tell the parent that we didn’t pick up the other 29 percent because we were trying to be nice and now there are a bunch of dead children.”

Maxey said Bloomington just hired a former SRO as head of security for their schools. There are other options, she said. “It bares some conversation and it shouldn’t be open and shut.”

Brooks saying the biggest issue is not financial. The Sheriff’s office has said they don’t have the people. Another district needs one and there were only two options.

“Things are too uncertain and they are not going to be any good to whoever is in this building if they are in another building,” Maxey said.

“I am not OK with it,” Maxey said. “I don’t want to have to explain to a parent why their kid is no longer with us because we didn’t push hard enough to get our own officer.”

Jim Rein said he would like the full-time SRO. “You never know when it will ever happen.”

Maxey saying this hasn’t been pushed hard enough with the schools because the sheriff’s office says “oh you will be fine.” “It will not be fine,” she said.

If I am understanding it right if the SRO is on vacation they don’t put a filler in. The Sherriff Department encourages them to take a vacation during the summer.

Maxey saying when Parkland happened someone from the department came and convinced the three districts that one officer was fine. She vehemently disagrees.

Brooks saying he would like someone here full time. “I am not sure. I don’t know if they can do that.”

“In my soul, i feel like this is the correct thing to do,” Maxey says regarding bringing it up.

Rein saying they should have conversations with the feeder schools about having a full time SRO.

Maxey saying there is a lot of grants available to fund SROs in schools. Pointing out that PVO is so spread out that if an officer was at SJGS they would never make it to Flatville in time to prevent or stop anything.

Brooks saying he wants to talk to their feeder schools before any decisions are made.

They approved the contract with them sharing with the understanding that they want to discuss having their own.

Discussing the situation in other districts that don’t have SROs.

What do you think? Should every district have their own SRO?

Discussing maintenance staff hiring. Shane Baker also drives a bus. #Thatisdedication

PRINCIPAL REPORT: 763 dual credit hours were earned while this senior class was in high school. That’s half a semester for every single kid if you break it down.

181 kids earned credits at SJO. 11 kids earned credits online.

They are in closed session now.

They are discussing bonuses for employees that are here June 30, 2022. Includes all staff. it will be on a scaled structure.

Discussing Active Shooter Training. Brooks and Page went to a presentation. It was outstanding, Brooks said.




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