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July 25 School Board Meeting: Bernot Suggests Halt Construction

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CUSD #7 school board met on the evening of July 25 for their regular scheduled meeting. Assistant Superintendent Joe Tieman replaced Superintendent Paul Skeans while he is away on vacation. After 58 minutes in executive session, the board appeared before the public. All 7 board members were in attendance Monday night. After the Pledge of Allegiance was repeated, first tab under open action was personnel issues.

The board certificated many open vacancies tonight; they are as follows:

  • Motion made by Bernot, seconded by Dobrino to appoint Matt Brawner as Gillespie High School Scholar Bowl Sponsor for FSY 2012.
  • Motion made by Griffel, seconded by Carter to appoint Tina (Niehaus) Blevins as Gillespie High School Prom Sponsor for FSY 2012.
  • Motion made by Schmidt, seconded by Bernot to appoint Andy Easton as Middle School Girls Assistant Basketball Coach for FSY 2012.
  • Motion made by Alerpa, seconded by Carter to accept the resignation of Dennis Tiburzi as Gillespie High School Freshmen Boys Basketball Coach for FSY 2012 and to post the position of Gillespie High School Freshmen Boys Basketball Coach for FSY 2012. Griffel added to the discussion after the job was posted. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Tiburzi,” Griffel said, “on an excellent job as freshmen coach. He has been coach for over 20 years and I have had 2 sons go through his program. I greatly commend him and all I can say is, he will be greatly missed.”
  • Motion made by Bernot, seconded by Carter to recall CUSD #7 paraprofessionals as presented for FSY 2012; Amy Baker (BES), Trinity Bray-Jet (GMS), Theresa Carter (BES), Sharon Heyen (BES – Title), Misty Parker (BES – Title), Ella May Roemer (GHS), Tim Wargo (GMS), Kathy Wheeler (GHS – Staunton), and Nicole Zenner (Pre-Kindergarten Aide).

In legal action, motion made by Alepra, seconded by Griffel to accept legal easements as presented. Griffel added that the drainage of the water on the new elementary site will drain from the east instead of the west. He provided that this will be very convenient, there were no other comments made.

Under the consent agenda, motion made by Carter, seconded by Schmidt to approve the minutes of the regular meeting and executive session minutes of June 27 and the special meeting minutes and executive session minutes of July 13, 2011. In further action, the board approved the payment of July bills. Motion made by Bernot, seconded by Dobrino to approve payment of the July bills as follows:

  • Education Fund: $88,774.29
  • Building Fund: $191,894.51
  • Transportation Fund: $8,031.00
  • Total Insurance Fund: $25,116.00
  • For a Grand Total of: $313,815.80

With no recognition of the public, Mr. Tieman read the superintendent’s report. Tieman advised the public that Mr. Paul Skeans recently attended a city council meeting to advice them that road was being built from Route 16 to the site of the new elementary school so there will be no destruction to Kelly Street. Tieman also provided that the school is only 54% of the property taxes. As many residents taxes are increasing, the school is not fully accountable for the increase since it is only about half of it. Tieman added that the 5 year plan is available in the library and advised the public to get one and view what is in store for the district in the next 5 years. Alepra added that the past plans have been changed 11 times due to the amount of progress the school is making.

Mr. Tieman then turned it over to the principals. Ms. Angela Turcol (Benld) discussed Family Literacy Night. The program is funded by an IRC Grant which was awarded to the Title Reading Teachers: Dana Tieman, Suzie Tiburzi, Lorraine Strutner, and Kimberly Link. The grant is $1500 and is to be used to promote family reading. The family literacy night is planned for September 8 from 6:00-8:00pm. Every student who attends the program will leave with book to keep as their own. Turcol went on to discuss the summer reading program. The program was instated at the end of the last school year when each student was given a summer reading packet to encourage them to read throughout the summer. When the students return in August, they will turn in the reading form to their teacher and be given a token for a Dairy Queen treat as well as other recognition. Turcol is working on the ISAT report for the teachers so they will know how last year’s students scored as well as enable them to begin working on the students’ skills immediately.

Tieman reads the superintendent's report.

Ms. Lori Emmons then gave the principals report for the middle school. Emmons said registration is set to begin August 2nd, and all information regarding sign-ups can be found on the districts website. Emmons also advised the board that baseball practice will begin next week. The ISAT data was compiled from individual student scores by Emmons through the student information systems on the ISBE website. According to her data, 6th grade had 51 students increase in Language Arts while 25 fell and 66 students increased in Math while 15 fell. In 7th grade, 80 students increased in Language Arts while 13 fell and 63 increased in Math while 17 fell. In 8th grade, 49 students increased in Language Arts and 13 fells while 52 students increased in Math and 5 fell. Overall, the middle school noticed a slight increase, but is still not meeting comparing to the rest of the nation.

Mr. Dennis Tiburzi then updated what is going on in the high school. Tiburzi stated that registration is slated for next week and an informational meeting on “8th period” is scheduled for Tuesday, August 9 at 6:00 pm in the cafeteria. Tiburzi also advised the board that the freshmen orientation is scheduled for Thursday, August 11 at 6:00pm and a meet and greet with the new band director is scheduled for July 30 at 1:00 in the afternoon. Tiburzi provided insight on the athletics also. 10 footballs helmets were received from a $1500 grant from USA Football, this is the fourth year the program has received this grant. The football team just got back from Vanderbilt were they competed in a 7 on 7 passing tournament. The girls volleyball team competed in a summer tournament and the JV squad did very well in Auburn, Tiburzi said. Both the girls and boys basketball summer programs are wrapping up as well as the boys soccer program. The soccer program just completed a summer camp and Tiburzi announced that all home games will now be played at the Coal County Sports Complex near Little Dog Mine now.

Board listens to Hyde explaining the energy efficient features incorporated in the new school.

In old business, Hyde and Bernot explained the school in Richardsville they viewed over the weekend. Bernot explained the school is one of his greatest experiences in his life and he highly advised the board to consider halting construction and having Hyde draw up a 2 story plan that could potentially save the district 10 million dollars. After much debate from Griffel and other board members, no action was taken. Griffel said the contracts for the mine grouting is already signed and to reject the contract now would be a tedious process as well as a possible lawsuit. Bernot assured him that the contract has not even been signed “for one” and “If you read the contract,” Bernot stated, “we have the option to null any contract at any time.” Alepra added that waiting on construction could jeopardize the CBD grant. Bernot persistently went on to advice the board that they are just a phone call away. “I am sure they would understand that we could potentially save them millions of dollars, I am sure we would get our extension then,” Bernot said. With much debate, the board decided it was proper to go ahead with the $27 million dollar school and there will be no changes to the design.

Bernot seemed to get the last word in again, “There is an elephant in here; is it our objective to spend the most money on this school and send the bill to the taxpayers? No, but that is what it seems like you all want to do! We had 2 designs for the school, a ‘H’ design and a ‘V’ design. As you all know, the ‘H’ was $150,000 cheaper and yet we still went with the ‘V’. Now that is only $150,000, we are talking $10 million dollars here! Our architect just stood before you and told you that 2 story building would be cheaper, and yet none of you blink. I went to Kentucky to compare two schools and I come back and tell yous that this new design could save $10 million dollars and none of you blink an eye.”

With no other comments, the board moved on to awarding bids. The board awarded trash, fuel, milk, and bread bids. With a motion made by Alepra, seconded by Dobrino, the district awarded the trash bid to Merritt of Bunker Hill. Merritt will cost $17,550 for 3 years and there will be no increase each year. The fuel bid was awarded to M&M Service Company of Carlinville, the milk bid to Prairie Farms in Carlinville, and the bread bid to IBC Sales Preparation of Peoria for FSY 2012 as presented.

In new business, motion made by Hayes, seconded by Carter to approve student fees for FSY 2012 as presented. All $20 classes were raised to $25. Driver’s Education remained at $50 for this year, but is expected to be raised FSY 2013. Welding class was raised from $50 to $60. The parking sticker fee was also raised from $50 to $60. The textbook rental fees remained the same as well as the locker fee and all cafeteria food prices.

In other new business, motion made by Alepra, seconded by Dobrino to keep executive session minutes from March 2010 to February 2011 closed and to destroy executive session tapes from September 2008 to August 2009.

Meeting was adjourned at 8:18 and the next board meeting is scheduled for August 15 at 7:00pm.

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Court News

Macoupin County Courthouse News

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Cases filed during July 7 through July 13. Visit the “Court News” category under the “Community News” tab for other editions.

FELONIES

Timothy D. Conlee, 29 of Gillespie, is charged with aggravated fleeing or attempting to elude a peace officer, driving on a suspended license, and reckless driving in connection with a July 6 incident.

Dylan J. Arview, 25 of Benld, is charged with driving under the influence while license revoked or suspending, DUI, driving on a suspended license and driving 15-20 mph above the limit in connection with a July 5 incident.

Bobby L. Walker, 35 of Sorento, is charged with driving revoked/suspended with a DUI, driving on revoked license, operating an uninsured motor vehicle, displayed registration plate, and expired registration in connection with a June 27 incident.

Dustin W. Gooch, 34 of Beecher City, is charged with aggravated fleeing/bodily injury, unlawful display of a title, improper use of registration/title, operating an uninsured motor vehicle, and registration light in connection with a June 17 incident.

MISDEMEANORS

Jordan A. Black, 24 of Gillespie, is charged with battery/causing bodily harm in connection with a July 8 incident.

Dustin R. Stieglitz, 37 of Shipman, is charged with aggravated assault/use of a deadly weapon in connection to a June 29 incident.

Steven A. Kroll, 33 of Eagarville, is charged with resisting a peace officer, fire fighter, or corrections employee in connection with a June 26 incident.

TRAFFIC

David B. Brown, 58 of Virden, is charged with cancelled/revoked/suspended registration in connection with a July 3 incident.

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Jennifer L. Roberts, 47 of Worden, is charged with driving on a suspended license and operating an uninsured motor vehicle in connection with July 5 incident.

Andrew L. Connoyer, 31 of Bethalto, is charged with improper use of registration, driving 15-20 mph above the limit, and no valid registration in connection with July 7 incident.

Megan E. Bertoldi, 37 of Gillespie, is charged with leaving the scene in connection with July 11 incident.

DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE FILED

  • Tasha McQuay versus David McQuay

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Community News

School board disciplines staff member; hires AD and Student Services Coordinator

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In a relatively brief meeting Monday night, the Community Unit School District 7 Board of Education approved a “resolution of remedial warning” against an unidentified district teacher, and hired a new Student Services Coordinator and Athletic Director.

The actions followed an 80-minute executive session during which board members presumably primarily discussed personnel issues. The regular monthly meeting of the board was moved up by one week to fill key positions, such as the Athletic Director and Student Services Coordinator, prior to the start of the school year next month. The district was taken by surprise when former Student Services Coordinator Stephanie Bray and Athletic Director Mike Bertagnolli both announced their retirements within days of each other.

Supt. Shane Owsley said the resolution of remedial warning is a disciplinary action representing “a second strike, so to speak.” Neither the teacher or the nature of the infraction was disclosed in open session.

In other action, the board, voted unanimously to hire Shelsie Timmermeier as the district’s Student Services Coordinator for the 2024-25 school year, stepping into the vacancy created by Bray’s retirement, pending confirmation of certification and a background check. In a separate action, the board also appointed Timmermeier as an assistant high school women’s volleyball coach.

Jeremy Smith was hired, also by a unanimous vote, as the district’s Athletic Director for the 2024-25 school year. In a related matter, Smith’s resignation as middle school head baseball coach was accepted. Additionally, the board posted the coaching position as vacant for the coming school year.

On a motion by Weye Schmidt, seconded by Dennis Tiburzi, the board hired Alex Jasper as a high school social science teacher for the coming school year. The board also voted unanimously to hire Tate Wargo as a first-year, non-tenured physical education instructor, pending confirmation of certification. Both positions were vacated as a result of the sudden resignation of Dalton Barnes in April as head football coach, physical education teacher and social science teacher. 

In related matters, the board also hired Wargo Monday night as an eighth grade boy’s basketball coach, and accepted Jasper’s resignation as a district paraprofessional and posted the position as vacant.

In other personnel action, the board:

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  • Hired Amanda Ewin as a one-on-one aide.
  • Hired Anthony Kravanya as a freshman men’s basketball coach.
  • Appointed Melissa Heigert as a volunteer assistant high school softball coach.

In other action, the board gave routine approval to a list of policies provided by the Illinois State Board of Education. 

Supt. Owsley also provided a brief update on the progress being made on safety projects expected to be completed before the start of the school year, including installation of a new intercom system, a card-reader entry system and shatter-proof protective film on exterior windows.

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Gillespie Library, United Community Bank to host Fraud and Scam Prevention seminar on July 22

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Gillespie Public Library (Photo by Gillespie Public Library)

Friends of the Gillespie Public Library and United Community Bank are hosting a joint “Fraud and Scam Prevention” seminar at on Monday, July 22 starting at 6 p.m. at the Gillespie Public Library.

The seminar will focus on today’s common scams and frauds, which includes imposter and check scams, money mule fraud and those that target seniors. Presenters will be Jenni Alepra of Gillespie UCB and Kennen Bertolis of Carlinville UCB.

The seminar is open to the public and is free of charge. For additional questions, call the Gillespie Public Library at 217-839-3614.

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