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No word on when, or if, schools will receive monies from the state

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By Dave Bell

In spite of showing a $2.1 million positive balance at the end of April, a cloud of uncertainty hangs over the finances of the Vandalia School District. That uncertainty springs from persistent rumors that the state will not be paying the state aid payments for the final month of the fiscal year, which ends June 30.

For Vandalia, that would amount to more than $500,000.

Were in real good shape right now, Superintendent Rich Well told the school board Tuesday night. Were showing positive balances in all funds. Thanks to our administrators and staff, weve been able to build up a little nest egg.

But all that could change if the state decides to forego the last two of the 24 semi-monthly payments of the fiscal year.

Weve done all the right things, Well said after the meeting. But there may not be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Well be better off than we wouldve been, but theres still a half-million dollars that wont be available for students. And if that continues to happen, well have to make cuts.

He pledged to continue to battle, and to do everything we can to avoid affecting student programs.

In other matters, the board heard a presentation from Larry Earnest, owner of Vandalia Bowling Center, who asked the board to consider adding a bowling team to the districts lineup of extracurricular activities.

He offered to cover the costs of the program for the first three years, including bowling alley use, travel and uniforms.

Noting that three South Central Conference schools have bowling programs now (Wood River, Pana and Roxanna), he said that other area schools (Highland, Shelbyville and Salem) also have teams. Bowling is a winter sport, with the season running roughly from October to January.

The board took the proposal under advisement.

Well told the board that the 2008-09 budget will have to be altered because of expense items that have changed. Specifically, the district will incur more costs in special education and in a fuel tank removal project. Further, the potential loss of state funding for June could force changes to be made in the budget. An amended budget is on display at the district office, and a budget hearing will be held on June 17 at 7 p.m.

After an executive session to discuss personnel issues as well as collective negotiating matters, the board took the following action:

Approved the honorable release of all district teacher aides: Special Education Johnny Webber, Diann Smith, Nancy Crye, Micki Durbin, Cheryl Edwards and Loretta Sarchet; Title I Mary Eisenbarth, Abigail Evans, Kathleen Todd, Whitney Smith and Kristi Grimsley; Kindergarten Readiness Program Heather Thompson, Ember Lipsey, Melody Reynolds and Anita Wilson.

Approved honorable dismissal of non-teaching coaches: Meg Marquardt, Mark Johnson, Jane Bell, Diego Gamino, Allison Smith, Chad Wilson and Billy Worker.

Approved the districts Title I Plan and District Improvement Plan.

Approved high school coaches:

Boys varsity football: head coach John Stout; assistant coaches Jason Clay, Brian Buscher, Kevin Jackson and Jeremy Curll; volunteer assistant coaches Paul Etcheson, Gonnie Morgan and Randy Shroyer.

Boys golf: open.

Boys basketball: head coach Kevin Jackson; assistant coaches Brian Buscher and Nick Niemerg.

Boys wrestling: head coach Jason Clay; assistant coach open.

Boys soccer: head coach open; assistant coaches Nancy Bradley and Rhonda Phillips.

Boys baseball: head coach Luke Hohlt; assistant coach Nick Niemerg; volunteer assistant coach Steve Hosick.

Football cheerleaders: open.

Basketball cheerleaders: open.

Girls volleyball: open.

Girls basketball: head coach Mike Butler; assistant coach James Sanders.

Girls track and field: head coach Mike Travelstead.

Boys track and field: open.

Girls tennis: head coach Kevin Schroeder.

Girls softball: head coach open; assistant coach Brian Buscher.

Athletic director: Brian Kern.

Summer weight room: Jason Clay.

Approved junior high school coaches:

Boys basketball: head coach Luke Hohlt; assistant coach open.

Sixth-grade boys basketball: open.

Girls basketball: head coach Todd Marquardt; assistant coach open.

Sixth-grade girls basketball: Todd Marquardt.

Volleyball: head coach Geri Reuss; assistant coach open.

Boys track: head coach Kevin Schroeder.

Girls track: head coach Ann Stock.

Cheerleading: head coach Meggyn Sytar.

Approved second reading of IASB policy updates for the districts policy manual.

Approved changes to district building handbook changes.

Approved the employment of Sue Warden as VCHS registrar (a non-certified position).

Approved the resignation of Barbie Elliott as VCHS science teacher.

Approved the employment of Kate Todd as VJHS fifth-grade teacher.

Approved the employment of Amber Redmen as VCHS science teacher.

Approved the employment of Jeremy Moser as VCHS physical education teacher.

Approved retirement letters from Cindy Ireland (2011) and Rhonda Phillips (2012).

Approved the recommended changes of the discipline committee.

Approved the recommended changes of the curriculum advisory committee.