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Despite illness absences, Panhandle Schools board holds January meeting

RAYMOND (Heartland Newsfeed) — Due to illness and other prior responsibilities, three familiar faces on the Panhandle School District board of education — district Superintendent Aaron Hopper, Lincolnwood High School principal Kendal Elvidge and board member Richard Bormida. However, Hopper took one for the team by making a brief appearance via speakerphone on one issue during the board’s meeting on Monday, Jan. 22.

The issue in which Hopper spoke on was regarding issues with the HVAC unit in the high school office, which had broken down and left the office unheated for a short period of time earlier in the school year.

The board received a bid from Lebeck Refrigeration, Heating and Air Conditioning of Harvel to replace the faulty unit, but Bormida had also spoken to owner Timothy Lebeck about some concerns, specifically on the costs to repair rather than replace, according to board member Brett Slightom.

Slightom added that Bormida had spoken to Hopper about the issue, but with both individuals absent, the board was unsure as to the query or the answer to said query. Following receipt of a text message noting he was available if any questions were presented, district bookkeeper Tammi Mixen called Hopper so that the board can determine their next step.

Hopper noted that Lebeck explained that the coil on the HVAC unit was original to the building and would need to be manufactured in order to repair it, noting a cost of $500 to $600 before repairs could be completed.

While the office is currently heated via baseboard heating, Hopper asked that the issue be tabled until the February meeting.

The board voted to approve the continuous service list, which is used for both certified and non-certified employees. Initial concerns were presented regarding the certified list being looked at by staff members, but that no one had checked the non-certified list, which was assumed that everyone had seen it. If either list shows discrepancies, it could result in repercussions with retirement and workforce reduction, if needed.

Mixen noted that she would speak with Hopper as to where there is a need to have the non-certified list signed off by employees as well.

Prior to approving the consent agenda, comprising of meeting minutes from the December meeting, financial reports and the disposal of closed-session recordings beyond 24 months, board member Dana Pitchford inquired about several financial items, including a $448 balance from the Class of 2017 account, a $300-plus balance in a miscellaneous fund and a $1,000 balance in the junior high cheerleading fund.

Shawn Andrews, sponsor of the class and teachers’ union representative, stated that in the past, remaining funds were contributed to the yearbook fund. Board president Terri Payne noted that money left over from graduating classes went toward a class gift, when Andrews noted that it was discussed for the Class of 2017, but wasn’t sure as to what they had chosen.

Board member Linda Brown that the miscellaneous fund balance was comprised of money collected from soda machines at the school, which had previously been used to help pay athletic fees for students unable to pay in order to participate.

Pitchford had inquired as to whether any of the money is used to the Veterans Day breakfast held at the school, noting someone had asked her the event is paid for to be held at the school, which is offered free of charge to those who have served or are serving in the military.

Mixen noted that she was uncertain, but Elvidge would be able to offer the board more details as to the funding of the event, as Refreshment Services Pepsi and Kohl Wholesale have donated items for the breakfast.

As to the junior high cheerleading balance, the squad is no longer active due to the co-operative agreement with Morrisonville for high school basketball. Josh Stone, Panhandle athletic director, has been in contact with high school cheerleading sponsor Beverly Lipe, who noted the balance was left over from before the co-op agreement took place. The funds will be transferred over to the high school cheerleading fund.

In other business:

  • Pitchford inquired about overtime pay for one of the district’s before-and-after school program aides. While Chris Paproth, Farmersville Grade School principal, stated that the amount of overtime is often minimal, but this could be happening as a result of school days where students are dismissed early. It was described that the aide works from the dismissal time of 11 a.m. until as late as 6 p.m. Paproth noted that this service is of considerable benefit to the parents in the district who are unable to pick up their children at 11 due to work obligations.
  • A proposal initially presented by Stone was revisited on whether the school’s co-op agreements with Morrisonville can be adjusted in the future to where all agreements end on the same year. This is likely a result of Pawnee signing a new co-op agreement with the district involving soccer, in addition to their current agreement for football. All involved districts in the co-op will have to renew their agreements for the new co-op team. The current agreements expire in after the 2020-21 season, though it will likely be extended. The junior high baseball agreement with Morrisonville will be extended for three years, as allowed by the IESA – Illinois Elementary School Association.

The board entered closed session at 7:35 p.m. and would reconvene in open session at 8:10 p.m. The board discussed two high school students wishing to become junior high volleyball volunteers for the 2018-19 school year. The board approved, pending completion of all required paperwork.

With no further business to discuss, the board adjourned at 8:11 p.m., set to reconvene February 19 at the Lincolnwood High School library.

About the Author

- Jake Leonard is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed. He is general manager of Heartland Internet Media Networks, an active contributor to the Nokomis Free Press-Progress/The Morrisonville Times and serves as website administrator for Pana News, Inc. He also serves as chairman of Tri-Counties Libertarian Party, deputy communications director for the Libertarian Party of Illinois and as chairman/co-founder of the Libertarian Party Millennial Caucus.

Despite illness absences, Panhandle Schools board holds January meeting