At the March Stark County School Board meeting, the board voted to approve some cost cutting measures and increases in various fees for the upcoming school year. The district will bid out their property/casualty and workers compensation insurance, reduce principals’ budgets by 5% and skip the next textbook rotation scheduled.
Increases will include: student athletic fees will go from $25 to $40 per sport, capped at $80 per student (currently $50) and $160 per family (currently $100); adult athletic ticket prices from $3 to $4, an adult pass from $30 to $40 and a family pass from $60 to $80; and drivers education fees from $35 to $50. Board president Brian Rewerts said that these fees are still in line with other area schools.
Student lunch prices will increase by ten cents to $1.90 at the elementary, $2.15 at the junior high and $2.40 at the high school. It has been normal practice to increase the lunch prices on a yearly basis in order to stay within federal guidelines.
Any unplanned spending for the current school year has also been frozen. Items that were tabled for further information include the reduction of extracurricular trip mileage and the elimination or reduction of attendance at the Triple I annual conference.
Stark County science teacher and junior high track coach Bart Frey presented a check for $1,000 to the board to be used for the junior high track program. The money was donated by the Frey family in memory of Mr. Frey’s father Rodney Frey who had served as a volunteer track coach for the Midland School District.
The finance committee recommended to the board that they award a three-year lease for two 2016, 65-passenger buses to Midwest Transit of Kankakee. The board voted to award the bid at an annual cost of $9,532 per bus.
The board also accepted the recommendation of the finance committee to approve agreement letters with agent Kings Financial and legal counsel Chapman & Cutler to present options to the board for restructuring the districts existing debt. The committee recommended the use of up to $1 million in reserves toward early payment of existing bonds and that the board issue new bonds in an amount necessary to pre-pay the remaining debt on 2007 and 2008 bonds. This move is expected to save taxpayers almost $1 million in interest over the next several years. This measure would result in an approximate bond and interest levy of $458,000 through 2022 as opposed to a currently anticipated levy of $650,000 through 2029.
The board approved summer school classes in June for the junior high and high school as needed and for the elementary in late July and early August.
Changes to the Stark County Education Foundation by-laws were accepted and endorsed by the board and membership renewal in the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) was approved.
After an executive session, the board voted to accept the resignation of Elementary principal Tessa Samuelsen effective June 30, 2015. Samuelsen and her children will be moving to southern California where her husband has already moved after accepting a job offer there.
The board also accepted the resignation of teachers Cynthia Smyser and Jacob Rorem effective at the conclusion of the current school year.
The board approved Howard Simmons as a volunteer assistant high school girls track coach, Kim Becker as volunteer assistant junior high track coach, Joe Orwig and Brandon Simpson as volunteer assistant high school baseball coaches and Kevin Wise as volunteer assistant high school softball coach.
Items that may be discussed at the April board meeting include: consideration of summer workers, evaluation of winter sponsors and coaches, possible handbook changes and possible employment or reduction of staff.
Board member Skip Turnbull was absent from the meeting.