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New Elementary School is 6 weeks behind schedule

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Tom Hyde explains to the board the Elementary School is 6 weeks behind.

Tom Hyde, district architect, updated the school board on current capital projects during their regular scheduled board meeting on Monday, December 19. “Construction schedules are fluid based on a few different things,” Hyde opened.

First and foremost, Hyde explained that the site prep-work occurred during the month of August and was originally scheduled for July. Other work still needs to be done for the water retention area that will rest east of the drive off the side of 16.

The mine grouting process did not actually start until the middle of October and Hayward Baker has experienced numerous issues along the way such as equipment issues and material issues. The grouting process was supposed to be complete by the end of November and as they are still in the grouting process, Hyde expects them to be complete around February. “That is the best they can do with what they got,” Hyde said of Hayward Baker, “Keep in mind that they have 30 people working on site each day.”

As far as the building construction, the intent was to dove tail the foundation work with the completion of the grouting process but again, that is delayed. Hayward Baker is currently grouting on the east side of the property. They anticipated being able to grout 800 yards per day, but the best they have been able to do with one plant is 250 yards. “They have come to the generalization that they are only going to complete 400-500 yards per day, at best,” Hyde added.

As stated before, the grouting will not be complete until February, so Korte Luitjohan can not start until then. They anticipate their work on the foundation and steel work will last about 6 weeks which will be about one and one half months off schedule.

“Right now, we are about a month and a half behind schedule,” Hyde closed, “They have had a litany of issues.” According to Skeans four weeks ago, the “project is on schedule and there have been no problems whatsoever.”

The school board then went on to accept a letter from Illinois Clean Energy Commission indicating that they are pleased to inform the district “that the Clean Energy Foundation has approved a grant of $352,500 to the Gillespie School District for the Elementary School.” The forms have already been signed and sent back in to accept the grant.

“In essence, we will soon be getting a check that will be deposited in our account,” Superintendent Skeans noted, “for $352,500 to help us in ground sourcing systems such as photovoltaic and wind turbines.” Skeans did mention that the district is not done applying for grants, so there could possibly be more in the future.

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Superintendent Skeans reads that CUSD #7 received $352,500 from a Illinois Clean Energy Grant.

The Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation was established in December 1999 as an independent foundation with a $225 million endowment provided by Commonwealth Edison. The Foundation exists to improve energy efficiency, advance the development of renewable energy resources and protect natural areas for people in communities all across Illinois.

Since its first sets of grants in 2001, the Foundation has awarded over 3,600 grants, totaling $212 million, to Illinois nonprofit organizations, schools, municipalities and other local and state government agencies. The grants support activities in every one of Illinois’ 102 counties.

Under personnel actions, the board is in the process of evaluating Superintendent Paul Skeans and intends to have the process complete by the January meeting. The board went on to recommend to appoint fall coaches as presented FSY 2013 and approve 12 week maternity leave for high school instructor Kelly Bulla.

Skeans went on to announce that CUSD #7 received numerous “perfect” audits on both the federal and state levels. “I was told by the federal auditor, that resides in Indiana, that our school is the first school district he has not been able to make a comment on,” Skeans added.

In addition to the audit, Skeans noted that the district had a surprise state inspection by the State of Illinois for their transportation on December 19. “Their comments were: for an old fleet, we are great,” Skeans read, “One of the cleanest buses and facilities they have seen. All of them met every standard that they are supposed to meet.”

After meeting with several other superintendents and presenting them with Griffel’s letter concerning distant learning, Skeans announced that he received a positive response from all the superintendents. “Number one, we are going to share in the concept of distance learning and share staff for number two,” Superintendent Skeans closed. Skeans clarified that he is not just speaking to surrounding districts because the staff can be anywhere as long as there is in internet connection.

Next, the school administrators updated the school board on what is going on in each building. Mr. Tiburzi, high school principal, opened and noted the attendance for the month of November was 92.2%. Tiburzi went on to state that curriculum maps for the first quarter have been submitted and are being reviewed. Also in the curriculum, classes are presenting PSAE/ACT questions to the students to prepare for the April tests.

“The high school band and chorus concert was an outstanding performance,” Tiburzi continued. The physics team received $150.00 for placing second at the Blackburn College Science Day and the basketball teams will be competing in the Carlinville Holiday Tournament beginning Monday, December 26th. Tiburzi closed with a congratulations to wrestlers: Josh Harvill (5th), Cotey McCallister (2nd) and Eric Tiller (2nd) for placing in the Porta Wrestling Tournament.

The $352,500 can be used towards wind turbines which was in the renewable energy plan for the new elementary school.

The updates continued to the middle school where Ms. Lori Emmons noted that the teachers will be conducting ISAT skills review twice a week in study hall starting in the 3rd quarter. Emmons went on to appreciate the student council as they collected 518 cans for the Caring Center in Gillespie. The student council previously collected over $600 in a penny drive.

Principal Emmons went on to congratulate the 8th grade boys basketball team after they placed first in the Staunton Tournament and then announced that the Indians will host Litchfield at home on January 2nd.

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Ms. Angela Turcol concluded the updates as she updated the board on Elementary news. Turcol explained to the board what the school is doing to be in contact with the parents. In prior meetings, principal Turcol explained how they are keeping in touch with the students and tracing their progress, but this is the first time the elementary school has been in reach with the parents. “We really need their support in all aspects of their child’s education,” Turcol suggested.

The school board went on to approve the December bills as follows:

  • Education Fund: $55,442.50
  • Building Fund: $19,111.18
  • Transportation Fund: $9,179.18
  • Site & Construction Fund: $666,007.38
  • Grand Total: $749,740.24

 

 

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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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