State still behind on payments to schools

-A A +A
By Dave Bell

The Vandalia Board of Education, in an abbreviated meeting on Tuesday, heard that the state continues to lag several months behind in its payments to school districts.
Superintendent Rich Well said that the state owes the district $526,652 for transportation and special education, $25,000 for the Pre-K program that was started again this year on a small scale, and $250,000 for the Title I and Title II programs.
Additionally, about $600,000 is owed to the Okaw Area Vocational Center.
“This lagging behind is, unfortunately, the reality that we live in,” Well said.
“The most recent word from people in the know was that we will get transportation funds and that we will get categoricals this year. But we’re getting these funds about eight months late.”
In his report to the board, Well said that the district used some Health, Life Safety funds to replace some of the fencing around school property.
He also noted that parent-teacher conferences are scheduled from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 3. No classes will be held that day.
Well said that the district’s athletic committee will be visiting the Carterville and Freeburg school districts to learn more about their drug-testing policies.
The Carterville visit is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 1, and the Freeburg visit date is still pending. The district is considering adding a random drug-testing policy for all extra-curricular activity participants.
Each of the building principals gave a report about activities going on at their school.
Nick Casey, director of the Okaw Area Vocational Center, said that students in the welding/machine shop class have been fabricating a urinal for use in the boys physical educational locker room at the high school.
Made of a piece of stainless steel costing about $300, the project will keep the district from spending about $2,500 for a commercially available urinal.
Well said that the district’s balance in its operating accounts is $5,448,497. That is up from $5,013,621 last year at this time.
On the expense side, the district has spent about $6.8 million since the fiscal year began on July 1, 2011.
Last year at this time, expenses were about $7.1 million, Well said.
The board held a 10-minute executive session to discuss personnel issues.
At the conclusion of the 45-minute meeting, the board took the following action:
• Approved the destruction of executive session audio recordings older than 18 months.
• Approved the upcoming retirements of VCHS teacher John Stout and VES teachers Kathy Bogart, Susan Culbertson and Calista Eyman, all of whom plan to retire in June 2017.
• Approved the calendar for the 2012-13 school year. That schedule is very similar to the current year’s calendar.
• Approved maternity leave for Jaclyn Daniels, a teacher at Jefferson Primary School, beginning on April 23 and continuing through the end of the school year.
• Approved the employment of Linda Dugan as a TLC aide at Vandalia Community High School for the remainder of the 2011-2012 school year.