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  • Fairbury News staff

School board hears reports

The annual food services and transportation reports were approved by members of the Prairie Central Board of Education during the group’s regular July meeting in Fairbury.

Food Services Director Susan Cavazos reported COVID waivers expired so they returned to the previous program where students were required to pay for meals unless they qualified for free or reduced lunch. This resulted in a drop of the number of meals served by about 15 percent for lunch and 25 percent for breakfast.

The district is currently carrying around $36,000 in school lunch debt for student accounts but is operating within its means. Supply chain assistance funds and other grants have helped the school maintain positive balances.

Transportation Director Chris Wilder presented the board a copy of maintenance and repair reports for each vehicle. High repair bills will be closely monitored to see which vehicles to trade first. In the past year, district vehicles had around 525,000 miles, which is an increase of around 75,000 miles with 63,000 gallons of fuel used. Maintenance costs were up from last year and a new software purchase was made to help with routing and to maximize route efficiency.

In other business, the board learned the administration continues to work on the Vacancy Grant Pilot program which aims to attract, hire and support or retain teachers. The district plans to use funds to help those with an unrelated bachelor’s degree complete coursework to become a licensed teacher and pay for coursework for current teachers willing to enter a content area of extreme need to become endorsed in these subjects. The grant will help pay for professional development, items and activities which help with school culture and climate for teacher retention purposes.

Project updates were given by Superintendent Paula Crane. The lighting company is expected to be at the high school to assess lighting levels after adjustments are made. Work on the gym floor has resumed as cement was poured to level the surface on July 7. Part of the wood flooring arrived July 14 and more arrived July 20. The district is waiting for an updated schedule of work from the company and a meeting is planned this week.

Utility work continues for the new ag and I.T. addition. NICOR has been re-routing gas and work is underway with Frontier to get phone lines moved. A meeting is planned with the City of Fairbury to review the drainage project.

Architect Craig Wright has a draft of the school facilities study finished and a meeting will be held with the board’s Building and Grounds Committee to review it before an official presentation to the board as a whole.

Under old business, Crane did not ask the board for a seventh grade baseball stipend as the Junior High has amended the request and will not be needing one. The board was given the opportunity to ask about policy updates which were presented at the June meeting. The board approved these updates with no further questions asked. The majority of the proposals had no changes or only small changes, mostly to bring the school district up to date with “Faith’s Law.”

In new business, a preliminary proposal was presented by Crane for the FY24 budget. The current budget shows deficit spending in Operations and Maintenance, Transportation, IMRF, Capital projects and Tort. Balanced spending or a positive balance is expected for Education, Debt services, Working cash and FPLS. Some changes will be made before a final budget is approved in September for a more accurate reflection of salaries.

The board voted to keep minutes from the past 12 months closed, as the group must review its audio executive session minutes and determine whether they should be kept confidential. They also voted to destroy the audio executive session minutes older than 18 months.

Following executive session, the board:

Approved the following resignations:

Matthew Mogged, Ass’t HS girls track coach, effective June 16, 2023

Nicole Steidinger, Interventionist, effective June 27, 2023

Jacie Martin, PCP West Paraprofessional, effective July 18, 2023

RoseMary Medina, PCP Paraprofessional, effective July 18, 2023

o Approved the following employment:

Gabrielle Zeedyk, full-time substitute teacher (HS math), effective FY24 school year only

Daniel Wells, full-time substitute teacher (HS math), effective FY24 school year only

Heidi Schaab, Speech and Language Pathologist, effective FY24 school year

Madyson DiNardi, 6th grade teacher, effective FY24 school year

Kaitlyn Sattler, JH social studies teacher, effective FY24 school year

Emma Tatro, JH yearbook sponsor, effective FY24 school year

Kiley Donley, full-time substitute teacher (East preK), effective FY24 school year only

Jamie Penney, full-time substitute teacher (East 1st grade), effective FY24 school year only

Carrie Schmidt, JH ELA teacher, effective FY 24 school year

Peyton Cole, aux football coach, effective FY24 school year

Will Tatro, sophomore boys track coach, effective FY24 school year

Emma Tatro, full-time substitute teacher (art, UE/JH) effective FY 24 only

Lacey Nelsen, full-time substitute teacher (PCE 3rd grade) effective FY24 only

o Approve the following transfer:

Susan Fehr from JH ELA to PCE Interventionist

Michelle Honegger from PCE Interventionist to PCUE Interventionist

o Approved the following leave:

Crystal Greenwell-Hilt, Maintenance Worker, effective July 14-December 18, 2023

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