The Hoopeston Area Board of Education tabled school reopening plans and remote learning plans for next school year at last week’s board meeting.

Superintendent Robert Richardson said the reason the plans were tabled was because of a recent move by the Illinois State Board of Education that declared all schools must resume at the start of the 2021-22 school year fully in-person learning for all student learning days as long as remote learning be made available for students who are not eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine or who are under a quarantine order from the local public health department or the Illinois Department of Public Health.

“Our remote learning plan did not align with the resolution that ISBE adopted yesterday,” he said.

Richardson reached out to the district’s legal counsel for guidance.

“His comments were: ‘I cannot recommend anything but hold at this time; the ground is shifting beneath us and the ISBE resolution seems to put the brakes on any remote except that remote learning that is absolutely necessary,” he said.

Richardson recommended the board table plans until ISBE comes forth with further explanation and clarification about exemptions.

Since the ISBE resolution says schools must reopen fully, Richardson recommended to the board that they focus on that subject during the district’s next public forum.

“Anything more than that, we just have to wait on ISBE to inform us,” he said.

Richardson thanked everyone who put in many hours to develop the return to learn plan and remote learning plan.

In other business, the board approved awarding a diploma to a former student who left high school to enter the military in 1960 before he could graduate.

Richardson said Arthur Howard had contacted him about getting the diploma last year in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Richardson asked Howard if he could wait until thing calmed down and Howard agreed. Howard reached out again recently and Richardson researched the district’s policy regarding this situation.

Richardson said the district does have a policy that allows it to award diplomas to honorably discharged veterans of World War II, the Korean Conflict or the Vietnam Conflict as long as they resided within the district when they left high school.

Richardson said Howard eagerly provided all of the documentation needed to meet the requirements of the policy.

Howard entered the military Jan. 29, 1960 and was honorably discharged Jan. 14, 1968.

Richardson said he would reach out to Howard to see when they get the diploma to him.

The Board approved the following personnel matters:

- Action to accept the resignation of Madeleine Lilley as English Teacher and Color Guard Sponsor at Hoopeston Area High School with an effective date of April 26, 2021.

- Action to accept the resignation of Angie Simpson as Summer Intensive Intervention Program Paraprofessional with an effective date of May 7, 2021.

- Accept the resignation of Jillian Hinners as 2nd Grade Teacher at Maple Elementary School effective at the end of the 2020-21 school year.

- Accept the resignation of Kelsie Woodward as 1st Grade Teacher at Maple Elementary School effective at the end of the 2020-21 school year.

- Accept the resignation of Emily McClure as Ag Teacher and FFA Advisor at Hoopeston Area High School effective at the end of the 2020-21 school year.

- Action to employ Matthew Avery pending an approved background check as Physical Education Teacher at John Greer Elementary and Hoopeston Area Middle School for the 2021-22 school year with an effective date of August 16, 2021.

- Action to employ Kyle Snyders pending an approved background check as RtI Teacher at John Greer Elementary School for the 2021-22 school year with an effective date of August 16, 2021.

- Action to employ Connie Huffman for Extended School Year Teacher with an effective date of June 1, 2021.

- Action to employ Sara Troxel for Extended School Year Teacher with an effective date of June 1, 2021.

- Action to employ Jodie Havens as Extended School Year Speech Language Pathologist with an effective date of June 1, 2021.

- Action to employ Kendra Marquis as Extended School Year Speech Language Pathologist with an effective date of June 1, 2021.

- Action to employ Debbie Pickett as Extended School Year Personal Aide with an effective date of June 1, 2021.

- Action to employ Jane Powell as Extended School Year Paraprofessional with an effective date of June 1, 2021.

- Action to employ Christy Etzkorn as Extended School Year Paraprofessional with an effective date of June 1, 2021.

- Action to employ Keighlee Brant pending an approved background check as Extended School Year Paraprofessional with an effective date of June 1, 2021.

- Action to employ Tracy Zorns as Summer Intensive Intervention Program Paraprofessional with an effective date of June 1, 2021.

- Action to employ Karen Smith as Summer Program Secretary at Hoopeston Area Middle School with an effective date of June 1, 2021.

- Action to employ Carrie Birch as Summer Program Secretary at Maple Elementary with an effective date of June 1, 2021.

- Action to employ Whitley Klaber as Curriculum/Technology Secretary effective August 1, 2021.

- Action to employ Michelle White as HA CUSD #11 Curriculum Director effective August 1, 2021

- Action to approve Ara Bekkering pending an approved background check as Volunteer for High School Color Guard for the 2021-22 school year.

- Action to approve the following individuals as temporary Summer 2021 Buildings and Grounds Employees effective June 1, 2021:

Andrea Glotzbach

Rain Hillard

Grace Dickison

Tracy Zorns

Eric Zorns

Carl Ankenbrand

Taylor Ankenbrand

Les Symmonds

Linda Walsh

Brad Walsh

Brooke Walsh

Linda Lugo

Daniel Lugo

Lucas Hofer

Ethan Smith

Angela Layden

John Fink

In other business, the board approved the following motions:

- Action to approve an employment contract for Dan Walder for the 2021-2022 school year as building principal of John Greer Grade School with a salary increase of 2 percent.

- Action to approve the Summer Wage Memorandum of Understanding as presented.

- Action to approve administrative compensation for summer school supervision not to exceed $2,000.

- Action to approve bid of $48,700.00 to Anderson’s Sports & Turf to rebuild the HAHS baseball field.

- Action to approve the purchase of two 70 passenger Bluebird Busses with air conditioning for $188,804.00 with ESSER II funds.

- Action to approve final pay request to Lee Farms and Excavating for $20,722.50 for grading and seeding of Honeywell property.

- Action to approve $1,000 donation to the FFA Alumni Tractor Pull.

- Action to approve the HA CUSD #11 District Chromebook policy.

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