The Hutsonville school board met in regular session Monday and were notified that things could be moving forward in regards to consolidation with Palestine.
Superintendent Julie Kraemer said that from what she understood Palestine had all 50 signatures on their half of the petition to send to the regional board of education. Hutsonville has an estimated 70 signatures on their petition, well over the 50 needed. The committee of 10 is expected to meet next Monday at 6 p.m. at Palestine Grade School.
"I'm assuming that's to reconvene and get the petition together and we'll be able to take it to the ROE 12," Kraemer said.
Kraemer and the board also discussed an invitation sent recently by Robinson Superintendent Josh Quick. Quick said in his email that at the request of some of his board members, he was interested in having a county-wide school board meeting to discuss 1 percent sales tax and school reorganization.
In response, Kraemer sent an email back requesting answers to several questions for the Robinson school district. For one, asking for specific details and clarification on what they truly were willing to look at as far as reorganization, what specifically has changed since they had shared with their community, after the feasibility study that it would not be in their best interest to reorganize? She also shared in the email that she found the timing of the request interesting.
"To my knowledge this is the first time Robinson has reached out since the feasibility study was done in 2014," Kraemer said.
While she said she's not opposed to it, Kraemer said it would be best to get the community involved as to the specifics Robinson is looking for reorganization.
"I think it's time for people to start coming out and truly speaking in front of the public, not behind closed doors," Kraemer said. "As to directly what it is they are willing to offer and go into."
After discussion, the board agreed they were still not interested in a consolidated county school, citing they are a small community and value a small school atmosphere.
The board also heard a report regarding the FY-18 district budget, which is on display in the superintendent's office until the Sept. 25 public hearing and adoption at 7 p.m. The tentative budget shows a deficit budget for FY-18 of around $98,000. Kraemer commented that the deficit budget is due to continued reduction in categorical payments, which she did not account for all. She clarified she'd also take another look at the education budget.
"I would like to take another pass through education, take another look to see if I can't get closer," Kraemer said.
That category shows a deficit of $213,834, with revenue totaling $2,258,059, and expenses at $2,471,893.
Tort has improved this year, with a surplus of $147. Kraemer said that in the past the district has been low on tort, but improvements have been made this year, which in turn helped all fund balances.
Following a motion the board approved adopting the tentative budget.
The fall semester started last week with two days of teacher's institutes, followed by the annual employee and family picnic at Hickory Holler campground. The first day of school was Friday and the first full day was Monday.
Open house will be Sept. 18, with a 2 p.m. dismissal. Open house provides parents a great opportunity to get into their child's classroom, meet the teacher, see the classroom and learn about the student management software program that will help them monitor their students' progress. It also provides updates to the PBIS program and blended learning environment with the deployment of Chromebooks.
The student accident insurance is an online form again this year and students may also choose to purchase a 12 month Chromebook Replacement Insurance from a third party vendor for $31.
High school principal Travis Titsworth announced that last Tuesday's freshmen orientation was well attended. On Monday, students made pinhole boxes, as well as used glasses to view the eclipse.
Grade school principal Guy Rumler shared that middle school students were also given an opportunity to view the eclipse. Bus evacuation practice will be next week.
In other business, the board adopted the SESE memo of understanding resolution and made several staff changes. Diana Dart was hired as an aide. The board also hired Cade Fulling as high school social science teacher beginning in January. Lauren Gullett was hired as junior high science teacher.
The board also accepted the resignations of Beth Eddy as junior high science teacher and Caleb Will as volunteer assistant high school basketball coach.