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By Carissa Sitki
The Southwestern Community Unit School District (CUSD) #9 Board of Education met for a special meeting last Thursday, May 5, at 7 p.m., where they acknowledged the resignation of Superintendent Kyle Hacke and approved a contract between the district and Dr. Bill Phillips, contractor with MidWest School Consultants, to begin a superintendent search.
The Board reviewed and discussed several different options, but ultimately came to the decision to contract Phillips, citing his background and the success of previous searches he had conducted for the district.
“He did great work last time,” said board member Donna Loy. “He was thorough and he was spot on in his notes with everyone he brought us.”
Loy wasn’t the only Board member to recall Phillips’ past work for the district. School Board President Andrew Bagley agreed, stating, “He brought us a good pool of candidates last time.”
Hacke also recommended Phillips, noting Phillips’ experience, and continued work as a superintendent. “He’s one of those guys who has been around forever,” said Hacke. “He was a mentor of mine when I first took the position here and he just knows everybody.”
Phillips is also a member of the Illinois Association of School Administrators (IASA) and fills in as an interim superintendent from time to time, according to Hacke.
The district plans to hit the ground running with the search. On Friday, May 6, Hacke told the Journal that he was already in contact with Phillips and that Phillips will be in contact with the Board. There may be additional meetings held in the coming weeks to discuss the search.
Hacke is moving to the North Mac School District in Girard, Ill. and his final day with CUSD 9 will be June 30.
In other business, Hacke presented to the board, some of the facilities upgrades that will be carried out in the district this summer. Of those, the high school’s multi-purpose room (MPR) roof replacement will be partially paid for with a matching facility maintenance grant fund. The grant will provide $50,000, and the district will match it using local funds. The money must be spent by the end of June. According to Hacke, the project should only take a few weeks, weather permitting, and should be done well before the deadline. The total cost of the project is approximately $200,000.
Another facility upgrade that will take place this is a bathroom upgrade that will involve all of the bathrooms in the district’s buildings being redone, aside from the Medora building. Hacke explained the proposed bathroom changes that have been drafted to ensure they are accessible for all and in line with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). These include the widening of stalls and rearranging of sinks, toilets and urinals. There will also be some upgrades to doors and an art room sink.
Additionally, the Board approved:
■ The employment of Abigail Pace as high school science teacher for the 2022-23 School Year
■ The employment of Katie Durham as high school Spanish teacher for the 2022-23 School Year
The Southwestern CUSD #9 School Board meets for their regular meetings on the third Thursday of each month at 7 p.m.