The May 18 meeting of the Crescent-Iroquois Community Unit District #249 Board of Education began with a call to order by board president Steve Massey and the Pledge of Allegiance.

Jody Niebuhr took roll call with the following present: Niebuhr, Massey, Christi Pheifer, Brock Johnson, Tim Kollmann, Becky Dirks and Candi Butzow, who attended remotely.

There were no additions or deletions to the agenda so the board moved on to the time for public comments. Present were Aaron and Jennifer Hamilton, with Aaron speaking to the board. He was looking for clarification as to emails which were sent out to Crescent City Grade School parents in regards to how grades 6-8 would be instructed and where. Originally, grades 6-8 were to attend Glenn Raymond, the junior high school of Watseka Unit 9; however, dependent upon voting at that night’s meeting, the students could end up staying at CCGS.

There was no board correspondence so the administrative reports were given. Superintendent Grimsley’s report began in regards to Building and Grounds, with the announcement Crescent-Iroquois High School has been completely shut down with gas and electric service disconnected. Paperwork has been sent to the Illinois State Board of Education so the building can be removed from the Health/Life Safety list for the district. It was announced the grade school has been locked into a three-year agreement for gas and electric service, with Grimsley noting the rates were quite low at this time.

Grimsley recommended to the board the contract with Service Master be terminated. The district paid over $25,000 for cleaning and supplies last year, plus any extra work done by Service Master was billed at either $28 or $36 per hour. According to Grimsley, “the current contract is not a good value for the district at this time.” It was noted the district will purchase cleaning and custodial supplies from Steve Canady next year. Dennis Ritzma will work up to 20 hours per week as needed for maintenance, with the district to hire a custodian who will work 5-8 hours a day.

For summer cleaning, Grimsley said principal James DeMay volunteered to apply floor wax as he has experience, and Dennis Ritzma will do repairs and address the Health/Life Safety list for CCGS. Some part-time manpower will be needed to assist with moving furniture in and out of the classrooms as the floors are being done.

In discussing transportation for the district, Grimsley again reminded the board to consider purchasing a white activity bus to help with transportation issues. This issue has been discussed at previous meetings and the bus could be used during the day with a licensed bus driver and also after school by a driver with just a regular driver’s license.

Grimsley noted the reason why an amended budget had to be done. There was a difference in how the budgets were put together from last year and for two line items he had used the wrong line. The amended budget will be on display in the school office 30 days, and will be presented to the board for approval at the June 22 meeting. The budget hearing will take place at 6:55 p.m., just prior to the start of the regular meeting.

The last item in Grimsley’s report concerned state and federal reporting, with the board needing to approve the consolidated district plan that night.

Grimsley read principal DeMay’s report in which he explained the process teachers used for the learning packets. He commended office staff Tori Legan and Rachel Pueschell, along with head cook Jessica Rabe, for their efforts in handling school business and food packaging/distribution during the pandemic. He explained he and Pueschell had emptied student lockers and bagged up student possessions, and the K-4 teachers emptied desks and bagged those items for student pick up.

DeMay met with teachers May 13-14 to discuss grade book final records and student concerns for the next school year. Student concerns were in regards to curriculum – where each teacher finished compared to a normal-ending school year. Other concerns were about the summer schedule for class rooms, requests and such. He noted he would begin cleaning and waxing all classroom floors, hallways, cafeteria and gym after Memorial Day weekend.

Summer projects included the cleaning of the garage, which has several electronic items which need to be removed to give more storage space; moving athletic clothes, equipment and such from the high school to CCGS, and the school’s brick building which has several items which need to be thrown out due to damage caused by moisture.

DeMay said graduation certificates will be printed and mailed to each student. Due to the Illinois Department of Public Health regulations, the parents of eighth grade graduates will conduct a golf cart parade in June for the students and community. Members of the CCGS Class of 2020 are Blake Ritzma, Clay Smith, Gavin Krumpe, Haven Meyer, Nate Massey and Jenny Twiggs.

Grimsley then addressed non-action items, which included the amended budget, in which two line items were moved in the education fund, and hiring a full-time instructional aide, which will enable classes 4-8 to be taught one grade level at a time. Currently, the district has paid for a half-day aide through the Illinois Special Education Association. Grimsley explained the process of the certificates and training required to be an instructional aide to the board. The sports co-op agreement has been tabled until June, the policy committee went through all the updates and has agreed to add them in regards to the second reading of Press Plus Update 103. The negotiations committee will meet to discuss the financials for the teacher contract and the future of CCGS will begin to be laid out starting in August and September, with the plan to be updated on the school’s website after each board meeting.

The board approved minutes of the April 20 regular meeting, the treasurer’s report dated April 30, the payment of bills dated May 18, the Imprest fund and petty cash reports for April; left all closed minutes closed, the destruction of audio tapes older than 18 months, and the second reading of Press Plus Issue 103. The board approved the amended budget hearing set for 6:55 p.m. June 22, which is just before the regular meeting.

The board hired Liz Martin as a long-term substitute teacher for junior high English/language arts and social studies, then hired Rhonda Kollmann as a long-term substitute teacher for junior high English/language arts and social studies. Martin will instruct the first semester and Kollmann will teach the second semester.

With the hiring of Martin and Kollmann, the staffing guide for the 2020-21 school year is as follows: Rod Grimsley, interim superintendent (100-day contract); James DeMay, principal; Victoria Legan, district manager; Rachel Pueschell, school manager; Heather Johnson, kindergarten; Stephanie Rippe, first grade; Kristin Marquis, second grade; Angela Rayman, third grade; Jody Munsterman, fourth/fifth grades; Jane Daniels, sixth grade homeroom teacher and math and science teacher for grades 6-8; Martin and Kollmann, serving as seventh and eighth grade homeroom teachers, in addition to teaching ELA/reading and social studies; and DeMay, K-8 physical education instructor.

The staffing list also includes: A full-time instructional aide, to be hired; a speech, social worker and special education teacher to be hired through the ISEA; Jessica Rabe, head cook; Mary Ann Norton, cafeteria work four hours a week on delivery days; Deanne Betourne, cafeteria work two hours a day, four days per week; Dennis Ritzma, maintenance at CCGS up to 20 hours per week as needed; a 5-8 hour per day custodian, to be hired; Rosemary Popham, bus driver and transportation director; and Cathy Crego, Larry Holden and Tina Birr, bus drivers, with a sub driver to be hired.

Before entering an executive session, the board approved the consolidated district plan for the upcoming school year.

After reconvening in regular session, the board adjourned. The next meeting will be at 7 p.m. June 22, with the budget hearing taking place at 6:55 p.m. at CCGS.