Unit 40 School Board Discusses Band Name Request


Published on November 26 2012 9:20 pm
Last Updated on July 14 2013 12:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

Unit 40 school board members Monday discussed and then delayed a decision on a request to change the name of the Effingham High School marching band.

EHS Director of Bands Brad Wallace said when the decision was made to go to a volunteer marching band he wanted to give the group its own identity.  He got the band members involved and the name that emerged was the Red Regiment.  The Band Boosters and other supporters worked to develop merchandise with the new name but, at the start of the school year, school officials voiced objections to the name change, citing a desire for the Hearts' nickname to be used by the band.


Wallace mentioned that the former EHS show choir was called "Collage" and that in earlier days the band was called the Swinging Brass.  He apologized to the Board for not seeking prior approval before making the name change.

Of those Board members who addressed the issue, President Delbert Soltwedel commended Wallace for the growth of the band under his leadership.  Soltwedel said he was "absolutely against" the name change at first, but now could "go either way" on the matter.  Member Jeff Michael cautioned, "The pride that the success of the band brings could separate you from the larger group.  We value the arts as much as athletics, and we want it to wear the same name."  Board member Carol Ruffner suggested a compromise, such as "Marching Hearts Red Regiment".  Wallace indicated he wanted to think such an idea over before commenting.

There was no vote on the issue at Monday's meeting.

The Board passed the tax levy for the coming fiscal year, reflecting an anticipated increase in the equalized assessed valuation of property in the school district of almost $23 million, about a 6% increase.  The levy totals just over $14 million.  The amount doesn't necessarily reflect the amount the district will receive, just sets the bar to insure the district will receive all funds for which it's eligible when taxes are extended later this year.

Unit 40 Business Manager Rem Woodruff reported that revenues are up from this point last year, but that's chiefly because local property tax revenue was received more quickly than last year.  He said the district is one-third of the way through its expenditures at the one-third point of the fiscal year.

Superintendent Mark Doan reminded the Board that the General Assembly fall veto session begins on Tuesday.  Doan does not anticipate any action on pension funding reform until the new legislature is seated in January since it would take a two-thirds vote to pass the measure in the veto session and only a simple majority in the new legislative session.  There is support in Springfield to shift the burden of funding pensions to local school districts even while the State is discussing another reduction in General State Aid funding to the districts.

Board member Brad Meinhart asked whether "we have become conditioned to this; no one's making a lot of noise about (less funding than has been promised from the State)?"

Doan said he feels local districts "don't get the credit for doing well with less."

The Board also approved renewing its workers compensation insurance coverage with Zenith at an 11% increase totaling just under $28,000.  Doan said, "Our (the District's) history is not a positive, and going out (for more quotes) after one year (with Zenith) is not going to get us a better rate."  Woodruff said the quote is "a fair increase based on our history and our experience." 

Board members also had to get a new bread vendor, Flowers Bakery, since Interstate Brands is out of business.  They distributed Hostess products.

Doan reported that the City has notified Unit 40 that it will not provide crossing guards after this year.  That means it'll be up to Unit 40 and St. Anthony schools to come up with their own crossing guard plan.  Doan said he plans to meet with City officials and with officials from St. Anthony schools on the issue.

In personnel moves, the Unit 40 Board hired three Central School cafeteria monitors: Nancy Marschewski, Vicki Blacker and Debra Kirby and accepted resignations from three other monitors: Matilda Dzakuma, Carrie Collier and Tina Bean.  The Board approved Family and Medical Leave Act requests from Jim Moschenrose and Dannette Williamson, and approved resignations from two other cafeteria monitors: Michelle Sidwell at the Early Learning Center and Karen McArthur at South Side.  Two retirements were also accepted: Debra Fehrenbacher after the 2015-2016 school year and Dana Keller after the 2013-2014 school year.