Carlinville schools to receive $379,000 in additional state
Craig Frankford was sworn is as the newest School Board member during Monday night’s meeting. Frankford replaces Dr. Tracey Smith who resigned last month. Enquirer-Democrat photo by Chris Best.
By: Chris Best
Enquirer-Democrat contributing writer
During the Carlinville School Board meeting Monday evening the board learned of the evidence based funding results for this year. Carlinville School District was deemed a Tier 1 funded school, which is what the state categorizes as the least funded schools. Of the 853 school districts in the state, 314 were in this tier. Carlinville ranks in the bottom 12 percent of these Tier 1 schools, with only 62.8 percent of the funding which the state considers to be adequate. Based on these results, $379,000 of additional revenue will be awarded to the district by the state.
In other business, the board learned that because of the decentralization of the Mid-State Special Education Cooperative, individual school districts are now taking on former Mid-State employees as their own employees, and that transition has not been without problems.
Historically, employees of the Christian Region of Mid-State were paid for August as though it were part of the following fiscal year due to a lack of funding in the budget. This essentially passed the burden a year down the line indefinitely. Now that these employees are no longer employed by Mid-State, this practice has left a gap where the affected employees have not been paid for the services that they provided.
Some of the districts in the Christian Region have agreed to pay the former Mid-State employees in their district for the remaining month that was owed; however, Nokomis, Pana and Taylorville have refused to cover that time for the affected employees in their districts. Other member districts of Mid-State, including Carlinville, could agree to pay those employees, but Superintendent Becky Schuchman indicated that, barring any opposition from the board, she would continue to vote against doing so. If none of the Mid-State districts agree to pay these individuals, the former employees would be forced to take legal action or forfeit their pay.
In other business, the tentative 2019-2020 District budget was approved. A budget hearing will be held on September 23 at 6:45 p.m. to approve the final budget. The budget will address over a $70,000 increase for hourly employees salaries as a result of the state increase to minimum wage. The increased hourly wage schedule is intended not only to meet but also surpass new state standards, keeping Carlinville School District competitive against other entry level positions. Similarly, the daily pay for substitute teachers was increased from $80 per day to $95 per day. Paraprofessionals will now make $85 per day.
A new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) was adopted between the Carlinville Board of Education and the Carlinville Education Association to be in effect Sept. 1, 2019-Aug. 31, 2022. The agreement creates a new salary schedule in the 2019-2020 year, no increase in the 2020-2021 year and 0.75 percent increase in the 2021-2022 year. A three percent increase was also approved for the following non-CBA salaried positions: building Principals, Transportation Director, Facilities and Maintenance Supervisor, School Business Manager, Network Administrator and Technology Coordinator.
The board approved a measure to financially support a Carlinville Police Department officer to serve as a school resource officer for the District. The decision is pending the approval of the Carlinville City Council. The agreement would likely involve a three year contract between the Police Department and the District. The district would only pay for the officer for the nine months of the year that school is in session. Though the district has utilized the services of a school resource officer in the past, it has been over a decade since the last time the service was utilized. School resource officers are not meant to be disciplinarian figures, and they are required to attend special training for the position.
The officer would take on some security responsibilities, but there will also be what Schuchman referred to as a “counseling component.” The officer is intended to provide students at each grade level with positive interactions with a police officer to help remove any negative stigma that students might have against officers. The officer would split their time between the different schools in the district on an irregular schedule to avoid a predictable routine.
The City Council will review the proposal for the new officer at an upcoming meeting.
Superintendent Schuchman voiced her concerns with the newest contract drafted by Solential lawyers for the proposed solar array installation at the high school, including: unclear definitions of what could cause the district to be in default of the contract; contradicting statements between Solential Energy Director of Sales Corey Miller and the actual legal contract (specifically, if the arrays would be gifted to the district or if the district would be required to purchase them from Solential) and the $2.6 million in liability the school takes on initially (though this value would decrease each year). Negotiations will continue between the District and Solential Energy regarding the potential solar project.
The board accepted the following resignations: Michelle Schmidt as grades 4-8 foreign language teacher; Dustine Rhodes as a paraprofessional at the Primary School; Erin Simpson as the Middle School Scholastic Bowl Coach and Crystal Wiese as Intermediate School Secretary.
They employment of the following individuals was also approved: Sean O’Brien as a volunteer coach for football; Darren DeNeve as the Middle School Assistant Girls’ Basketball coach; Karen Daugherty as a substitute bus driver pending the required documentation and Randy Gibson as a Volunteer Middle School Softball Coach.
The next school board meeting will be held September 9 at the High School media center.