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School tax now to be used for other purposes

DEBORAH SIMCOX
Correspondent

“It is important that the community understands this is NOT an additional tax,” Vandalia Superintendent of Schools Jennifer Garrison said Tuesday in her opening report regarding a question on the March election ballot.
This vote will allow the 1 percent sales tax to be used for the school support officer and/or mental health supports and school safety. Previously this tax was used only for capital improvements.
The report from Vandalia Community High School included the following events:
• National Honor Society induction ceremony, which will be held Wednesday, Feb. 28 at 6 p.m. in the High School gym,
• Progress reports (nine-week) to be sent Friday, Mar. 8,
• Prom will be Saturday, March 16,
• District Art Show will be Friday, March 22
• Mrs. Lux and Ms. Cutright will be starting the AP Certification (Advanced Placement) process. Hopefully, the high school will be able to offer an AP history class and an AP psychology class starting with the 2025-26 school year.
And in SPORTS:
• Boys basketball regional semifinals this Wednesday and championship game on Friday, both starting at 6 p.m.,
• Dual Team Wrestling State and Girls Individual State this Friday and Saturday.
• Vandalia is hosting a girls super sectional next Monday.
Vandalia Junior High report included these events:
• VJHS will take IAR (Illinois Assessment of Readiness) beginning Monday, April 8,
• Girls volleyball regional and sectional postseason to begin Saturday, the seventh grade at Auburn, eighth grade at North Mac Regional. Vandalia will host a seventh- grade sectional Monday, March 4, at 6:30 p.m.
• Wrestling begins IESA (Illinois Elementary Sports Association) postseason this Saturday at the Jerseyville Regional.
Vandalia Elementary School report included these events:
• Each grade level celebrated 100th Day with a variety of learning centers and “lots of counting.” Second grade celebrated the 101st day with a 101 Dalmatian theme with its own learning centers.
• STAR LAB was hosted by Mrs. Philpot and Mrs. Welch last week for an interactive way to learn about space, phases of the moon, the solar system, etc.,
• Free dental care is being provided for 67 students this month through the Miles of Smiles program. “The kids were excited and the dentist and hygienists were great. Thank you to our nurses for setting this up!”
• FFA Week will begin with students being greeted in the morning by FFA members as part of the school’s Meet & Greets. On Friday, students will be attending the FFA Petting Zoo at the OKAW building.
• The second Family Reading Night hosted by Vandalia Elementary School will be held Thursday, Feb. 29, at 5:30 p.m.
The report from OKAW Area Vocational Center included these events:
• Results from the Missouri Welding Competition: 272 high school seniors entered. Wade Voelkel (Patoka), a first-year Senior with no welding experience coming into OKAW, took first place. Wade received a full-ride scholarship to Missouri Welding Institute, plus a Lincoln Ranger welding machine. Logan Hopwood of Vandalia took third place and received a $6,000 scholarship to MWI. Brayden Rickman of Vandalia took eighth place and received a $1,000 scholarship to MWI. Hunter Clark (Bond County) took ninth place and also received a $1,000 scholarship at MWI, and
• On Tuesday, Feb. 6, over 400 students attended a tour of OKAW.
The report from apecial education included these events:
• A book study of “Effects of Poverty” by Ruby Payne is being held monthly, with January’s topic on the types of Language: Casual vs. Formal,
• The elementary transition room went to see “Dinosaurs Alive” in Effingham.
• The high school TLC was to go bowling, then to Los Amigos, to practice their social skills.
• Training was held for staff on Direct Teaching Instruction.
• Planning for summer training on topics such as communication, special education law, differentiation and special education in the general education classroom.
• Appreciation of the curriculum directors in support of the Progress Monitoring, helping streamline the process in the building and make the process aligned throughout the grades.
After a closed session, the board approved the following personnel actions:
• Resignations – Lacie Donaldson, Jay Lewis and Keri Perkins.
• Employment – Ashley Blunt, Sherri Beckel, Melissa Elliott and Rachelle Hosick.
• Transfer – Renee Whightsil.
• Maternity leave – Krista Sharp.
• Retirements – Cindy Kline, Renee Whightsil, Charles Left, and Deborah Hall.