Kern resigns as AD; extra duties with closed campus

In a move designed to prepare for the introduction of a closed lunch hour at Vandalia Community High School this fall, the Vandalia Board of Education on Tuesday accepted Brian Kerns resignation as high school athletic director.

Kern, who has served in a split position as assistant principal and athletic director for the past two years, will retain his duties as assistant principal.

Superintendent Rich Well said after Tuesdays meeting that splitting the two jobs has been discussed periodically during the past five years, but various factors prevented the change from being made until now.

The final straw was the closed campus, Well said. With that, well have supervision responsibilities all day long. Theres just not enough time in the day to get everything done.

He said that only one other school in the South Central Conference (Gillespie) has one person filling both the assistant principal and athletic director positions.

One benefit of hiring someone for the athletic director position, Well said, is that the supervision role at athletic contests and other school events will be split three ways (principal, assistant principal and athletic director), rather than just two.

In addition to supervising those contests, the athletic director schedules games and tournaments, lines up officials and coordinates practice schedules.

The position pays about $6,000 per year in the form of a stipend that is 18 percent of the districts base salary.

Since the athletic director position is a part of the teachers union contract, Kern had to resign before the opening can be advertised and a replacement hired. Well said that advertising will be done in the next two weeks, and he hopes to have a candidate to recommend to the school board at its August meeting.

Though Kern said he will miss the contacts with coaches and other athletic directors, he wont miss the long hours that went with the position.

It was a tough combination. There are so many behind-the-scenes and time-consuming things in the job, he said. It requires a lot of nights away from the family. Now, as assistant principal, Ill be able to concentrate on academic and administrative issues. The students will be better served because of it.

In other action, Well told the school board that the district ended the year in a very good financial position. The district did receive its final state aid payment in late June, thus averting a shortfall that had been feared in that category when Gov. Rod Blagojevich threatened to withhold the final two semi-monthly payments to schools to help balance the states budget.

Well told the board that the district ended the year with a balance of $2,472,334 in the four operating accounts (education, building, transportation and working cash).

To be where we are is a very commendable thing, something to be proud of, Well said. We had some good things happen the state aid came in, we sold the Bresee property, the teachers agreed to a salary freeze, and everybody helped hold down expenses. It takes everybody to turn things around.

The only line item showing a negative number in the financial report was transportation, and Well said that was because the states fourth quarter payment was delayed. It has since been received.

The Health Life Safety fund showed a balance of $813,995 at the end of the fiscal year on June 30, but Well said that those funds will be expended as several projects in that area are completed. Currently, work is progressing on upgrading the electrical system, finishing door lock projects, installing alarms and other security provisions.

One of the final Health Life Safety projects is the repaving of the parking lot west of the high school. Starting next Monday and continuing through the remainder of the week, that lot will be closed. That $232,000 project will be done by Howell Paving of Mattoon. It includes curbing and drainage work, and will involve removing the current parking lot surface and repaving it.

During the week, parking for patrons of the swimming pool and tennis courts near the Okaw Area Vocational Center will be restricted to the parking lot at the high school baseball field on Fletcher Street.

In other action, the board:

Heard a request from VCHS band color guard sponsor Tina Ashdown for financial assistance in buying new flags and uniforms for the 14-member squad. She said that the group is planning fund-raising activities, but would appreciate help from the board.

Approved bids for food and paper products for the cafeteria program.

Approved a change in status from part-time to full-time for three employees in the Sandwich Shoppe in the VCHS cafeteria. Those employees will now work five hours per day rather than their previous three. Another employee in the cafeteria will have her time increased by 30 minutes per day. Both of these changes were necessitated by the introduction this fall of a closed campus at the school, meaning that all 525 students will be eating lunch in the VCHS cafeteria rather than having the option of walking to area restaurants to eat.

Approved a change to 12-month status for two library aides and one media specialist.

Approved the change from part-time to full-time for a custodial position at the Vandalia Junior High School.

Approved a one-year unpaid leave of absence for Cathy Houghtaling.

The board adjourned at 8:35 p.m. Absent from the meeting were board members Tammy Woolsey and Judy Wasmuth.

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