Western approves annual budget; utilizes COVID testing to minimize quarantines
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By DAVID CAMPHOUSE
Western’s school board adopted the district’s fiscal year 2022 budget as presented at Western’s Wednesday, Sept. 22 board meeting.
Western Superintendent Jessica Funk reported that the district has not yet received a fiscal year 2022 transportation payment from the state, but the district has received all of its fiscal year 2021 transportation funding.
In addition, Funk said that Western has received 14 percent of its evidence based funding from the state for fiscal year 2022.
Funk also told board members that there have been 10 COVID-19 exposures at the school since the beginning of the academic year. Funk said that new testing protocols have allowed dozens of students, who would have otherwise quarantined at home, to remain in school.
“We kept 76 kids in school the week of Labor Day,” Funk said. “Testing has been huge for us. They were close contacts, but because their parents chose to allow them to be tested , they were able to stay in school. It’s a huge benefit to students.”
As part of the meeting’s consent agenda, Western’s board approved:
■ The establishment of activity funds for 2021-2022.
■ Membership in the Association of Illinois Rural and Small Schools.
■ A facility use agreement with the Barry Apple Festival.
■ A memorandum of understanding with the Western Education Association for the cycle of evaluation of certain tenured teaching staff.
Also approved was the district’s fiscal year 2022 School Maintenance Project Grant application and reservation of capital project funds.
Western High School and Elementary School Principal Connie Thomas reported that parent/teacher conferences will be held Tuesday, Oct. 12 and Thursday, Oct. 14 from 4-7:30 p.m. School will be dismissed at 2 p.m. on both days.
Western Junior High School Principal Brandi Pennock recognized the school’s August students of the month – 6th grader Paisley Patterson, 7th grader Allie Hernandez and 8th grader Madison Richardson.
Pennock also reported that Western Junior High School faculty members had utilized the Horace Mann crowdfunding site “DonorsChoose” to purchase books and musical instruments to be used at the school.
Following closed session the board approved several personnel moves.
Approved were the resignations of Steve Schultz effective Aug. 29 and Cody Ash effective Aug. 27. Ruth Kummerow’s resignation as scholastic bowl coach was also approved effective Aug. 23.
The following appointments were also approved:
■ Ashley Lefringhouse as speech language pathologist.
■ Nena Tracey as bus driver.
■ Mike Fray as part-time junior high physical education teacher.
■ Pat Rafferty as part-time junior high physical education teacher.
■ Karen Robbins as part-time junior high physical education teacher.
■ Sheree Greenwood as paraprofessional.
■ Gwedolyn Reece as scholastic bowl coach.