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Hyde assures Board New School will be complete in Feb. 2013

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8th period is a great success

Tom Hyde presents the new school exterior materials to the school board.

Tom Hyde updated the school board on current capital projects on Monday evening’s board meeting that took place on April 23. Hyde introduced an updated schedule and an overall planning schedule. The planning schedule dated from 2009 when the site selection committee was established to 2012, where we are today.

The construction schedule is set to be complete in February of 2013. “There is a lot to go yet, but that is kind of what we are looking at,” Hyde explained. He went on to say the biggest issue that set the project back was the mine grouting. According to Hyde, they planned for three months and it took five months.

Korte & Luitjohan started April 1 and has most of the foundation complete and will start on the south end of the building shortly.  Their work is scheduled to be complete toward the end of May. Steel should be brought it in the beginning of next week. Contegra has also started on the underground plumbing.

Hyde then went on to explain the color scheme to the board. The outside of the school will be “Gillespie Brick” along with 3 feet of pre-cast material which will look like lime-stone. “It doesn’t look like lime-stone up close, but it will from a distance,” Hyde assured. The exterior roof will be beige along with the accent material of the windows. “It will go best with the brick.”

“We are looking at a 39% energy efficient savings over the requirements for today,” Hyde noted, “The number still does not reflect wind power and natural day light.” Hyde went on to ask the school board to approve a $53,107 change order on the installation for underground utilities. The underground wiring would run from the Methodist Church down Kelly Street into the transformer outside of the school. To eliminate all above ground powering from the church down to Oak Street would basically hide all the wiring on the entire property. The figure also includes 5 street lights down Kelly Street.

Jennifer Brown, RTR director, explains that the 8th period is a great success.

Superintendent Paul Skeans urged the board to approve the $53,107 change order to “beautify” the property. “I want the school to look as beautiful as possible and I think we could do this by hiding all the wiring,” Skeans added. Board members frowned upon why these figures were not included in the original bid while Hyde explained that Ameren was not available at that time to get their bid. The school board later went on to object the change order and keep the wiring above ground for no additional cost.

Mrs. Jennifer Brown, RTR director, gave the school board an update on eighth period. Brown reiterated that the program is only for first and second semester senior and juniors whose grade point average was above 3.0 along with second semester sophomore who were above 3.0. “I think the program is great,” Brown explained, “We moved some kids out of the program. I think it is a great success!”

Targeted students receive interventions at least twice per week or four intensive days if they are need of both math and reading. Other students can use their time in eighth hour with their teachers using a pass system, so they could get the one-on-one time with their teachers. 30% of the students in the program were able to filter out of tier two small group instruction for eighth hour and 75% of students overall have showed marked improvement.

Under certificated personnel, the Board of Education hired Jennifer Brown for summer school 2012 consumer education and driver’s education and hired Rob Macias for summer school 2012 drivers’ education. They also approved posting for 2 Elementary School teaching positions for FSY 2013.

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For non-certificated, the Board of Education hired Denise Graham for the Unit Office Staff position and posted a summer food service position. The board also accepted resignation of high school scholar bowl coach, Matt Brawner effective at the end of the FSY 2012. The board went on to approve to post for a high school scholar bowl coach position for FSY 2013.

After requesting bids on three school buses, the board approved sales of the surplus property. The board of education accepted the bid of $2,051.25 from John Van Doren for bus #8, a 1996 International Thomas 65 passenger school bus. They also accepted the bid of $3,015.00 for bus #9, 2001 Freightliner Thomas 65 passenger school bus, and $1,420.00 for bus #17, 1993 International Thomas 71 passenger school bus, from Ponder Equipment & Company.

School administrators then updated the board on current activity in each building. Mr. Tiburzi, high school principal, told the board that mid-term report cards were distributed on April 19th. He also congratulated Dallas DeMartini on his first place WYSE state physics competition and congratulated Abigail Harszy as she was a state winner in Environmental Science and Natural resources Management competition.

Tiburzi went on to extend congratulations to Zach Logan for runner-up in Diversified Horticulture competition and to the Ag Mechanics Team who received first place in sectional competition. Members included Zach Logan (First Electricity), Kyle Reid (First Tractor Power), Graham Cooper (First Welding), Stephanie Hartke (Second Surveying), Austin Neider (Second Carpentry), and Spencer Laughlin (Fifth Ag Business Management).

Lastly, he congratulated Austin Neider for first in MTI Welding Competition along with Graham Cooper who received second and Josh Jacobs who received third. He went on to explain that prom is scheduled for May 5 and graduation is slated for May 20 at 2:00pm.

Lori Emmons, middle school principal, extended her luck to Stephen DeMartini and Emily Harszy who will be attending the State Science Fair in Champaign. She also explained that fifth grade students will attend an orientation in the middle school to ease the preparation for sixth grade. “We are very excited to do this for our future 6 grade students,” Emmons explained, “Hopefully it will ease some of the anxiety that goes along with starting middle school.”

Emmons went on to announce that the middle school honors banquet will be on May 2 and Mrs. Gloria Sidar will be the guest speaker. She closed with conference news. The baseball team won the 2M conference this year along with the eighth grade basketball team while the eighth grade girls baseball team and seventh grade boys basketball team got second in the 2M conference.

Benld Elementary principal, Angela Turcol, announced that Rylee Jarman won the fifth grade spelling bee held at Carlinville Intermediate School. She also went on to say that the AR Picnic with the Principal is going to be held on May 11. Students who reached their AR goal will be treated to a picnic at Big Brick Park where they get to dine with the principal and engage in activities.

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Lastly, the board approved the FSY 2013 school calendar as presented, and approved to amend FSY 2012 calendar as presented in new business. They also approved to apply for the 50/50 match maintenance Grant of $50,000 as presented and accepted the FSY 2012 School District Library Grant in the amount of $1,012.57.

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School board deals with personnel issues during special meeting

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Stephanie Bray

Meeting in special session Monday night, members of the Community Unit School District 7 Board of Education accepted “with regrets” the resignation for purposes of retirement of Stephanie Bray, one of the district’s three technology integration specialists, effective June 4.

The board called a special session to deal with the apparently unexpected resignation before the board’s regularly scheduled monthly meeting later this month. However, board members tabled action on approving a revised job description for the Student Information System/Data Integration Specialist position, pending further discussion.

The board also tabled action on posting the newly created vacancy and tabled posting a district-level secretary’s position.

In February of 2022, the board accepted “with regrets” Bray’s announcement of her retirement “no later than the end of the 2025-26 school year.” There was no indication of why Bray moved her retirement date up by two years.

On a motion by Weye Schmidt, seconded by Amanda Ross, the board voted unanimously to accept Bray’s resignation. The action followed a 50-minute executive session to discuss personnel issues behind closed doors. The public portion of the meeting lasted less than 10 minutes.

In other action, the board voted to renew the district’s One Room contract to offer a remotely taught Spanish class to fulfill the district’s foreign language requirement for the 2024-25 school year. This will be the second year an off-site teacher will teach foreign language at GHS, using remote communication technology. Supt. Shane Owsley said the district had no applications for the vacant teaching position last year. This year, an applicant from Brazil explored the possibility of teaching in Gillespie but ultimately accepted a tutoring position at Greenville University. Owsley said hiring the applicant could have become cumbersome because she was not yet certificated to teach high school Spanish. He said he recently changed the job description from Spanish to foreign language to expand the pool of potential applicants.

In other personnel action, the board approved the maternity leave request of Amber Allan, BenGil Elementary physical education teacher, effective Aug. 28 through Jan. 20.

In separate actions, the board accepted Nathan Henrichs resignation as Gillespie High School freshman football coach, posted the position as vacant, and appointed Henrichs as a varsity assistant football coach. The board also voted unanimously to appoint Alex Jasper as an assistant freshman football coach. The board unanimously accepted Wayne Ireland’s resignation as a volunteer assistant football coach, and voted unanimously to appoint Jarrod Herron and hire Trenton Cleveland as volunteer assistant football coaches.

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The board voted unanimously to hire Michael Rodriguez as a high school volunteer assistant women’s basketball coach.

On a motion by Schmidt, seconded by Kelli Vesper, the board hired Alexis Ollis as a head cook and kitchen staff member, pending documentation of certification and a background check. The board also Brittany Hughes as a district kitchen staff worker, pending documentation of certification and background check.

On a motion by Vesper, the board voted unanimously to post a vacancy for a one-on-one paraprofessional aide.

Board members voted unanimously to accept the resignation of Jessica Kelly as a middle school assistant track and field coach and voted unanimously to hire Jay Weber as the high school head track and field coach.

The regular monthly meeting of the board is set for 6 p.m., Monday, June 24, at the district’s administrative office.

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Americana festival set for July 4 at Benld Park

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Jess Barker, The Lodge Brothers, and The New Prairie Drifters are set to take the stage at Benld City Park on Thursday, July 4 as part of the Americana Festival.

The music festival intends to celebrate the birthday and spirit of America with thriving local culture of music, food, and art. It is scheduled to begin at 12 noon and end at 6 pm.

Food will be available for purchase from The Barracks American Table, a new Gillespie restaurant, and skincare products will be available from Nature’s Bliss, a Benld gift shop.

The park is located at 305 North Main Street in Benld. Admission is free.

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Macoupin County Fair underway until Sunday

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Rides, tents, food trucks, music, animals, and plenty of other offerings fill the grounds at the Macoupin County Fair for the 172nd year. The fair is held June 4 through June 9 at the Macoupin County Fairground north of Carlinville.

The oldest county fair in Illinois, the Macoupin County Fair welcomes thousands of guests to the area and unites agriculture, family, and community. The fair continues through Sunday with highlights every evening.

The fair also meets the needs of families on a budget, for just $10 per person you get parking and all-access to the carnival rides. The cost-friendly fun draws in visitors and locals who get to embrace the county’s namesakes.

Tracy Lawrence and Walker Montgomery are set to take the stage Thursday evening, June 6, at 7:30pm. Friday evening features the tractor and truck pull, and Saturday evening is the crowd-favorite demolition derby.

The fair opens every morning at 8am and closes at 12 midnight. For a full list of schedule of events or to pre-pay for entry, visit the fair’s website here.

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