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  • Fairbury News staff

Board approves audit

The Fiscal Year 21 audit and financial report was approved by members of the Prairie Central Board of Education Thursday night during the group’s regular meeting at PCHS in Fairbury.

Superintendent Paula Crane said the district “came out well” with no significant findings from Floyd and Associates, CPAs. There were no instances of non-compliance, fixed assets have been steadily increasing and the long-term debt allowance went up. Equalized assessed value increased by a large amount.

The district overspent on capital projects but had reserve funds in place. Audit information also revealed operating expenses per pupil are lower than the state average.

During her superintendent report, Crane updated the board on COVID Shield testing which just started. It has taken a few months to get the program going at Prairie Central.

“It’s going to take a while to get used to it,” Crane admitted.

Testing is going well as the district hired a testing coordinator to help organize the weekly testing. The program has both preventative and reactive components. Weekly testing is a preventative measure but the new test to stay feature is considered reactive. More than 20 students have done the test to stay program and have been able to remain in school.

Unlike at the start of the school year, more kids are now bringing the virus into the school system from home.

“Most kids are in quarantine because of their mom or dad being positive at home,” explained Crane.

COVID-19 is not being passed within the school like it was, according to Crane.

Crane reviewed how money from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, or ESSER, is being used. Additional employees were hired and counseling services were added. Funds were also used to purchase supplies such as face masks and gloves. Crane said intervention is needed in addition to regular instruction to help catch kids up. There is a new English and math curriculum at the high school and additional band instruments are needed for those students not able to afford one.

K-6 director of curriculum and instruction, Codi Conway, presented information on a program called Schoolzilla which gathers all of the district information into one location.

“Building stakeholders can have access to this,” said Conway.

Schoolzilla allows district level access and teachers can view individual student data. The program shows trend lines for enrollment or academics.

“It also gives us our school rankings.”

Conway will work with teacher leaders to input goals into this program.

Director of curriculum, instruction and technology, Brian Quam, also appeared before the board discussing where the school wants to be in the future. Quam wants to provide opportunities for those students wanting to join the workforce or attend a trade school rather than college. A new math course known as Geometry and Construction is focused more on hands-on learning.

Quam is excited about dual credit opportunities at Prairie Central which can provide a student significant cost savings for college. The district is looking for student teachers and PC will have a presence at an Illinois State University job fair.

“We really want people to be aware of what is out there for our kids,” added Quam.

Under old business, the board approved changes to the stipends and fee schedule for Fiscal Year 22, increasing the substitute bus driver stipend to $18.00 an hour.

New business items included renewing Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurance for 2022 and reviewing potential policy changes. The insurance will cost an additional $30,000 for the coming calendar year with BCBS as 177 employees are taking insurance. Five different plans will be offered.

A hearing took place concerning the board’s intent to sell $6,000,000 in working cash fund bonds which will be for the purpose of replenishing the Working Cash fund account which will be depleted through construction of a gymnasium at Prairie Central Elementary and additional capital projects.

Following an executive session, the board:

· Accepted the resignation of Charisse Price, Transportation Director, effective September 24, 2021.

· Accepted the resignation of Juanita Cavazos with intent to retire, effective the end of the 2021-22 school year.

· Accepted the resignation of Kim Retter as Transportation Secretary, effective October 6, 2021

· Accepted the resignation of Amy Marchetti, PCE paraprofessional, effective October 8, 2021

· Accepted the resignation of Scott Willi as high school girls assistant track coach, effective immediately.

· Appointed Stephanie Holm as Transportation Secretary and bus monitor effective immediately.

· Appointed Katrina Cribbett as PCJH secretary effective October 4, 2021.

· Appointed Tucker Hillier PCHS assistant wrestling coach effective the 2021-22 school year.

· Appointed Caden Tjarks as PCJH wrestling coach, effective the 2021-22 school year.

· Appointed Amber Aberle at JH/East café worker effective immediately.

· Appointed Chris Wilder as Transportation Director effective September 27, 2021.

· Appointed Danielle Seifrit as bus monitor effective immediately.

· Granted a transfer request to Ashley Allonge from HS café worker to West paraprofessional effective September 27, 2021.

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