It's great when a plan works, and it seems the course the Oblong 4 Unit 4 Board of Education charted a few years ago to get through the Illinois school funding crisis is on course.
Oblong Superintendent Jeff Patchett showed the board this year's treasurer's report and compared it to the last five years which demonstrated growth for the first time.
"Years ago, we laid out a plan which included spending down reserves in the education fund to deal with the state budget crisis," Patchett told board members. "We sold bonds to build up the fund, made cuts and saw the fund go lower and lower, which made our auditor nervous. But this year, we are in the black for the first time in years."
Patchett thanked the board members as well as the teachers and staff members at the schools for their work in identifying areas where cuts could be made and for their willingness to work under trying conditions.
Patchett said Oblong High School was recently recognized as one of America's best high schools for 2018 according to the US News and World Report and congratulated Hutsonville High School who received the same recognition.
In personnel matters, the board accepted the resignation of Heather Martin as special education resource teacher and Tiffany Grove as kindergarten teacher and Ryan Cheek as high school basketball and baseball coach.
The board hired Kimberly Reeder as an elementary teacher and Leslie Davis as special ed teacher and also hired Stephanie Frichtl as custodian and Jackie Utley and Kim Sanders as aides.
The board also approved bids from Prairie Farms to provide milk, Aunt Millies Bakeries for baked goods and Wabash Valley Service Co. for fuel for the 2018-19 school year.
Board President Rod Sparks informed the board the new bus for the district is expected by the end of the month and that the school bus routes will be completed shortly after registration. He said the district was still looking for bids for an old school bus and a van the district would like to sell.
In other business, the board approved:
The district Volunteer Program, Procedure and Volunteer Handbook and the Administrative Guidelines for Employees for the 2018-19 school year
An agreement with Silverthorne Chevrolet to supply the Driver's Education car for the 2018-19 school year
An agreement with Environmental Safety Consultants Limited as the districts Environmental Consultant
The board also approved the concussion protocol and Return to Learn procedure and voted to open closed session minutes from January to June.
The next regular school board meeting will be Monday, Aug. 20, at 6 p.m. in the Oblong Elementary Oblong Room.