- Fairbury News staff
School honors FFA teams
The Prairie Central Board of Education acknowledged the three FFA teams which competed at the national level during the regular December board meeting.
Dairy Products and Ag Sales teams were national champions this year while the Food Sciences team received 10th place. Board members expressed their appreciation for the hard work from students and sponsors.
Also during the meeting, Prairie Central Junior High School principal Amy Bachtold gave a junior high update and introduced Jasmine Mauricio, who was nominated for Boys and Girls Club Youth of the Year. Mauricio told her childhood story and success at the Boys and Girls Club. She hopes to eventually help others.
Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative’s Mike Wilson presented the board a rebate check. If money is left after expenses, customers get a rebate. The rebate will be in the form of credit on the monthly bill the next time. Eastern Illini supplies electricity to Prairie Central Junior High School.
Superintendent Paula Crane gave a COVID update and reported a sharp rise in positive cases in schools, just as the county has experienced.
“We have worked to try to keep our quarantined students to a minimum with the test to stay option, however many of our cases are family cases where students are not eligible for test to stay,” Crane explained.
The board plans to discuss and revisit the COVID safety plan at the January meeting once numbers stabilize after the holidays and students return to school.
Crane informed the group that due to input by teachers and staff members, the district will consider incentives for bringing new substitutes into the district along with rewards for substitutes currently on the list who are subbing. This will be added to the January meeting agenda. She also revealed an energy study will be conducted on buildings to help guide decisions from the Building and Grounds Committee. Ameren will fund the study if updates are made for energy efficiency.
Director of Food Services Susan Cavazos submitted a café report which indicated the district continues to experience cancelled orders and many substitutions. Those substitutions are more expensive and a new bid sheet reflects an increase in price on virtually all food items. Reimbursements from the state have helped and Chenoa received a $2,000 Gen Youth COVID grant in September to purchase a new reach-in freezer.
Under old business, the board approved the levy which asks for an overall increase of approximately eight percent in taxes.
“This additional tax money is due to the additional EAV of windmills built within our borders in McLean County as well as increased EAV on existing properties and some additional new construction,” said Crane.
Taxpayers should not experience an increase of their tax rate for the Prairie Central district. If a taxpayer’s home or land has the same value as last year, taxes to the district should remain the same or close to it. The levy will be submitted to the county clerks in Livingston, McLean and Ford counties.
Following an executive session, the board approved leaves for three employees, appointed Kade Hill and Tyson Stork as FFA sponsors for the 2021-22 school year, named Edward Goad as part-time custodian and bus monitor and appointed Michael Powers a high school math teacher for 2022-23.
Minutes of the Nov. 16 regular meeting were approved as well as the Dec. 8 special meeting. Board members approved the consent agenda which included an activity fund report, bills, financial reports, investment schedule and treasurer’s report.