(Summary of July, August and September 2010 School Board meetings)
2010-2011 Budget Approved
Avoca School District 37’s 2010-2011 budget, totaling $14,319,669 with a reserve level of approximately 69%, was approved by the Board of Education at its September meeting. The budget is now available to the public by accessing the District’s Web site at http://avoca37.org.
The Board approved the employment of the following personnel at the July, August and September Board meetings: Kathryn LePine as a 5th grade learning resource teacher; Julie Barello as an Avoca Community Preschool teacher; Shari Theer as an Avoca West Elementary School nurse; Leslie Potter as a part-time 3rd-5th grade intervention specialist; Angela Piechowiak as a 7th grade learning resource teacher; Zaneta Zak and Tammy Shih as Avoca Community Preschool teacher assistants; and Janet FitzGerald and Ines Ringler as Avoca West Elementary School lunchroom supervisors. At the September Board meeting, the Board accepted the resignation of Mary Carpenter as the Avoca West Elementary School building secretary, effective September 17, received a notice of intent to retire from Marie Murphy School instrumental music teacher Mary Rudzinski, effective at the close of the 2014-15 school year, and approved 12-week leaves of absence for 1st grade teacher Emily Hargadon, effective January 15, 2011, and 7th grade math teacher Amanda Hoffmeister, effective November 12, 2010.
Superintendent Search Update
At the September Board meeting, the search firm of B.W.P. and Associates reported that they expected to receive a total of 40 to 45 completed applications for the superintendent position by the deadline. Applicants represented a strong balance of backgrounds and experiences. Six applicants will be selected to be interviewed by the Board in November, and the finalist will be named in December. Dr. Porto indicated he would create a transition plan with the prospective superintendent and present it at an upcoming meeting.
New Teachers’ Contract Ratified
After several months of interest-based bargaining with the Avoca Education Association, the Board ratified a new five-year teachers’ contract at its September Committee of the Whole meeting. The teachers also voted to ratify the contract shortly thereafter.
School Calendar Revised
Since the new teachers’ contract called for an additional day of student attendance, the Board approved a revision of the 2010-2011 school calendar. April 5, 2011, is now a student attendance day, and the Teacher Contract Day originally scheduled for April 5 was moved to the end of the calendar.
2010-2011 Student Lunch Prices Set
At its July meeting, the Board approved an increase in the price of a student plate lunch. The $3.20 cost represents a five-cent increase over the previous year.
2010-2011 District Goals Set
Nine District goals and corresponding action plans were presented at the September Board meeting. The goals include: Goal 1 – Research the potential causes for Avoca students feeling less prepared in literature and writing in high school than other core subjects; Goal 2 – Create a new three-year, long-range technology plan; Goal 3 – Implement suggestion action for the formation of business partnerships; Goal 4 – Assign responsibility to oversee District communications and utilize the Community Outreach Committee’s essential components; Goal 5 – Maintain a section of The Vision dedicated to educational finance and utilize the Website to offer financial links and financial calendars; Goal 6 – Explore how cultures, geography and current events can be expanded in the social studies curriculum; Goal 7 – Create physical and virtual Diversity Centers in school ITCs (libraries); Goal 8 – Provide access to key school communications in multiple languages and utilize Cross-Cultural Interpretation services for parent conferences and other school-related activities; and Goal 9 – Pursue a commitment to staff awareness and training of cultural diversity through the Professional Development Committee.
August Enrollment Summary
It was reported at the August Board meeting that the enrollment of 45 kindergarten students was the lowest number the District had experienced in recent years. Not including the preschool, which actually had a waiting list, there was a net loss of 34 students, for a total enrollment of 645 students in grades K-8.
Upcoming Board Meeting Dates
Regular Board meetings are open to the public and are held in the Community Room at Marie Murphy School during the school year. The public is invited to share input during the two visitors’ comments portions of the meeting. Regular Board meetings normally begin at 6:30 p.m. on the second to the last Thursday of the month. Committee of the Whole meetings usually take place at 5:30 p.m. on the first Monday of the month in the Marie Murphy School Library. To confirm the times and locations of these meetings, please contact the superintendent’s secretary at 847-251-3587. All open session School Board and Committee of the Whole Board meetings are videotaped. A DVD copy of a particular meeting may be requested by the public through the Marie Murphy School Library (847-251-3617). Upcoming meeting dates include:
> 10/28, 5:30 p.m. – Board Finance Committee
> 10/28, 6:30 p.m. – Board of Education
> 11/1, 5:30 p.m. – Committee of the Whole
> 11/18, 5:30 p.m. – Board Finance Committee
> 11/18, 6:30 p.m. – Board of Education