Despite not being on the agenda Monday, a good portion of Hutsonville Unit 1 school board meeting was spent discussing the condition of the high-school football program it shares with Palestine Unit 3.
Superintendent Julie Kraemer told board members discussions of a co-op in football with Oblong Unit 4 have restarted after Oblong representatives offered an invitation by mail recently to both Palestine and Hutsonville.
Several schools from the Little Okaw Valley Conference have voiced concerns with the stability and longevity of the football program because of a continued decline in participants and an increase in late-season forfeits.
Palestine-Hutsonville was unable to have fresh/soph games and could not finish this year because of a lack of healthy players. The program has had to forfeit three games in the last two seasons.
Kraemer noted that the program started with 31 players this year and believes this is something the district should strongly look into.
"For us to truly continue to have football it's probably the only way we could do it, is to reach out and get another school," Kraemer said. "This would be a true sharing of that particular program."
Board president Tina Callaway also told the board that based on 2017 enrollment numbers the program would be on the bubble of being a AAA school.
The board approved letting interim Palestine Superintendent Chris Long know they're up for it.
Kraemer updated the board on the petition for consolidation with Palestine being approved by both ROE 12 Superintendent Monte Newlin and State Superintendent Tony Smith.
She guessed there likely won't be another Committee of 10 meeting until the beginning of the year. Kraemer also informed the board that Robinson's September meeting minutes made it clear that the only reorganization method that benefited their district was students paying tuition to attend.
In his report, high school principal Travis Titsworth announced that the boys basketball season opened Monday with a tournament in Paris. Also, there will be an early dismissal at 2 p.m. Wednesday, for Thanksgiving.
In addition, the high school varsity band concert will be at 2 p.m. Dec. 10. Final exams will be Dec. 18 and 19 for all high school students, with students choosing again to work on service projects Dec. 20.
Titsworth also acknowledged how proud he was of the regional champion high school volleyball team, as well as the cross county team which advanced to sections. Negus Bogard finished his sophomore season by winning the Effingham regional, placed sixth at the Carlinville sectional and 27th at the state meet in Peoria with a time of 15:33.
Grade school principal Guy Rumler told the board that a Buddy Bench will be dedicated at the school today in memory of former student Austin Smith.
The Buddy Bench is a growing trend around schools, playgrounds and daycare centers. It is known for being a special place in a school playground where a child can go when needing to talk to someone. Dedication was 11 a.m. today.
Rumler also shared that the Veterans Day Program Nov. 10 was a great success. Diana Stephens organized the program and Air Force Lt. Colonel Steve Clark, an HHS graduate, spoke to students.
Following an executive session, Mike Ray was hired as assistant basketball coach, Randy Strohm was hired as a substitute bus driver, Whitney McDowell was named volunteer junior-high volleyball coach and Cade Fulling was named head baseball coach.
In other business, the board released executive session minutes after review.
Members also approved to have a truth in taxation hearing on the tentative 2017 tax levy before the next board meeting Dec. 14 at 5 p.m. Kraemer recommended the hearing after the finance committee met earlier in the evening.
"It would be smart practice to have the truth in taxation hearing to capture all EAV's out there," Kraemer said.
The board also directed Kraemer to advertise for fuel and oil products.