Palestine school administrators will have more on their plates for the coming year, including some classroom teaching.
The Unit 3 board Monday night approved the reassignment of duties for the superintendent and principals. Superintendent Joe Sornberger will serve as a half-time administrator at the high-school and part-time administrator at the grade school. Tangi Waldrop was given a one-year contract as dean of students and will have additional teaching responsibilities. Sheila Mikeworth was given a one-year contract as grade-school principal and will also have additional classroom teaching duties.
"The Palestine School District must redefine the roles of administrators in the school district," Sornberger said. "The district definition of administration must change. The district administrators have to take on extra assignments to help keep the district moving. In the next school year, Tangi Waldrop and Sheila Mikeworth will be in the classroom teaching. This will allow the district more flexibility in class offerings. I do not believe that many schools are doing this, but I believe we do not have a choice."
Sornberger also said the superintendent will become a director of several district programs that were otherwise operated by district employees.
In other personnel moves, the board approved the resignations of Jane Walker as pre-kindergarten teacher, and Martha Kirk as speech-language pathologist. The board directed the superintendent to post those positions.
To close out the school year, the board approved repaying loans to the education fund; $70,000 was repaid to the operation and maintenance fund and $98,000 to the working cash fund. Another $12,000 was repaid to the working cash fund from the transportation fund. The money to do this comes from the $800,000 borrowed through a tax-anticipation loan approved earlier this year.
Sornberger said he will have a budget on display at least 30 days before the September board meeting to meet time requirements. What those numbers will look like is still unknown. Sornberger reported that recently he has heard that the state may only fund transportation at 19 percent of last year's 76 percent. That translates to around $8,300. Last year the district received $76,880 in transportation reimbursement.
Sornberger also reported the district will soon be looking at contributing more to teacher pensions. He also noted that the Chicago school districts can establish a tax for that money while downstate schools will not be able to, and it will have to come out of the general education fund.
On a positive note, Sheila Mikeworth reported that recent fundraisers have raised $3,531, which will cover the cost of workbook supplies for the grade-school teachers.
Waldrop reported, with pride, that students received around $206,000 in scholarships and awards during the recent awards night.
In other business, the board set meeting dates and times for the 2013-14 school year. Meetings will be held at 6 p.m. on the third Monday, unless it is a school holiday, then it will move to Tuesday.
The athletic training agreement with Crawford Memorial Hospital was approved at a cost of $915. Palestine splits the full cost with Hutsonville.
Accepted the bid from Wabash Valley Service to supply fuel for the district.
The board also approved the purchase of an electronic grade book system from Common Goal System. Sornberger said they reviewed the system and found it compatible with the current system. The cost is $4,643 per year and is equivalent to existing costs.
The next regular board meeting will be June 17. There will be a public hearing on the issuance of bonds at 5:50, preceding the meeting.
There will be a special board meeting on May 30, to fill a board vacancy, at 6 p.m. in the grade school.