By Keith Gillett
The Mascoutah District 19 Board of Education needed two meetings to complete its business for December: s meeting last Tuesday and then again on Monday earlier this week to vote on two additional items.
At the Board of Education at a Special Meeting on Monday, Dec. 20, members appointed MHS principal Brandon Woodrome as Assistant Superintendent beginning in the 2022-2023 school year. Woodrome will take over for Cindy Presnell, who is retiring at the end of this current school year.
In September, Woodrome was recognized as High School Principal of the Year from the Illinois Principals Association Southwest Region.
Following a public hearing on the proposed tax levy for Tax Year 2021, the Board approved a tax levy of 4.8456 for FY 2023 during their regular meeting, which is a slight increase from the current rate of 4.8380. The District is estimating that the equalized assessed value (EAV) for the District is just over $283 million. In December the District makes its request for local revenue that will impact FY23, using an estimated EAV. The proposed levy sets the ceiling for the final revenue request which will be set in March. In March the District makes its final request for local revenue that will impact FY23. The District cannot exceed the December levy which has been proposed as just under $10 million.
Revenue estimates can be adjusted lower, but they can’t exceed the December request.
The final rate will be determined by St. Clair County and will be based on the final EAV and extension.
The District proposes a levy of $5.2 million for education, $1.415 for operations and maintainance, $566,000 for transportation, $113,000 for special education, $685,000 for tort, $735,000 for IMRF, $1.125 for social security, with a subtotal of just under $10 million. Debt service adds an additional $3.725 million for a total of $13.714.
In other business the Board:
• The District also learned that US News and World Report released its first-ever rankings of public elementary and middle schools, with Mascoutah Elementary, Scott Elementary and Wingate Elementary earning a Best Elementary Schools badge and Mascoutah Middle School earning a Best Middle School badge, because they placed among the top 30 percent in Illinois.
Mascoutah High School has been ranked for the past several years, with new rating due out in the spring.
• Approved the alternate revenue bond abatement used to build Wingate Elementary School. The abatement means that the debt payments are paid by the District’s general fun and are not considered when calculating the amount of tax revenue needed to pay the District’s debt payments.
• Approved the leasing of the District’s newly purchased 67.86 acres, located just north of Mascoutah Middle School and east of Sixth Street. The lease is for three years, and will go to the highest responsible bidder. At the time of the Board meeting there were five bidders. The highest bidder was Blake Helbig of Dutch-Marie Dairy for $28,569.06, followed by Brad Haas for $27,211.86, Jim Walter of Walter Farms for $27,143, Mike Streif for $22,258, and Keith Eschmann for $16,150.
• Approved the purchase and installation of lights at the District Stadium for $172,137. The winning bid was from Electrico. The new lights will replace lights that were installed in 1998. There will be a total of 57 LED lights, with a ten-year warranty, and they will be controlled with an app.
• Approved the purchase and installation of new audio enhancement equipment for District classrooms for $415,713 from Marco, replacing a system that was installed 12 years ago. The District will use a Digital Equity Grant of $219,262 to reduce the cost to $196,451, under the budgeted amount of $300,000.
• Approved the purchase of a Lexia subscription for $80,883, paid for with ESSER III funding. The Lexia Core5 Reading is an adaptive, blended learning program accessible to all K-5 students. Renewal of the program will assist in closing learning gaps due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
• Approved the Intergovernmental Cooperation Agreement (ICA) for the next school year between the District and Southwest Illinois College for the Running Start Program, with a $20,000 scholarship fund.
This is an agreement that allows MHS juniors and seniors to attend SWIC full time, earning college credits as well as high school credits for graduation from MHS. Currently there are 22 juniors and 11 seniors participating.
• The Board also heard a presentation from first and second grade teachers at Wingate about the Professional Learning Community (PLC) process via a recorded video.
• The Board also heard a presentation from the Mascoutah Education Association (MEA).
• The Illinois State Scholars for the Class of 2022 were announced. The 38 seniors who were selected based on ACT or SAT scores, class rank at the end of their junior year and grade point average are: Shayla Aerni, Ian Barnes, Thomas Beck, Ryan Bibb, Xander Bressendorff, Shelby Bushong, Abigail Duncan, Jayme Espino, Rylie Ewers, John Fairbanks, Katherine Falls, Madelyn Forquer, Ella Fournie, John Harris, Jackson Hodges, Alyssa Housley, Rebecca Janson, Brooke Junker, Hannah Krener, Samuel LaJoye, Mark Levrault, Ella Lowry, Kayla Lynn, Lance Miller, Nicholas Morra, Jayden Mueller, Samuel Norrenberns, Daniel Ortega, Anna Reese, Audrey Sanders, Jack Seibert, Cody Thiel, Taelyn Thompson, Rebecca Vaughan, Nicole Waller, Camryn Walter, Sydney Walter, and Jayda Williams.
The Board approved the following certified personnel actions:
• Hired Nicholas Schubert as a special education teacher at MES, and Bryson Collier as a music teacher at MES. Approved the resignations of Kimberlee Matthews as a music teacher at MES, Sarah Johnson as a Spanish teacher at MHS, and Danette Butler as ELA teacher at MHS. Approved Tiffany Marcinkowski as Model UN sponsor at MHS, April Jungewaelter as track coach at MMS, replacing John Schnable, who resigned.
The Board approved the following classified personnel actions:
• Hired Tara Reuting as a supervisory aide at WES, Jeanna Muskopf as an instructional aide at WES, Cheyanne Kimmle as an extended time student worker at MES, and Tyler Reaka as a bus driver. Accepted the resignations of Julie Lloyd as a secretary at MES, Kayla Cook as an instructional aide at MMS, April Brooks as an individual care aide at MMS, and Marlene Groennert as a bus aide. Approved Tym McDonnell as an assistant football coach, and Eve Slago as MMS wrestling coach. It accepted the resignation of Austin Waugh as freshman baseball coach.
Special Monday meeting:
• At the special Monday meetings the Board approved the purchase of and installation of digital signs at four school sites from Foppe Visual Communication for $110,750, which includes a $4,150 discount. Purchase of the signs before the end of the year allows the District to receive a slight discount and avoid price hikes expected next year. Bids for the signage were not available at the Dec 14 meeting, resulting in the special meeting of the Board on Monday.
The signs will include new marquee signs at MES, WES, SES, and MMS and will be installed in 2022.
• The Board also approved Triple I conference expenses for Board attendance at the Triple I Conference in Chicago on Nov. 21.