Unit 40 Board Wants More Info on Weighted Grades


Published on January 28 2019 9:27 pm
Last Updated on January 28 2019 9:30 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

The Effingham Unit 40 Board of Education wants more information before deciding on weighted grades at EHS.

Effingham High School Principal Kurt Roberts spoke on behalf of what he termed "a good cross-section of our staff" who are recommending against going to weighted grades.


Roberts said the staff members had four recommendations: 

--do not adopt weighted grades

--encourage students to take challenging classes

--review the process for recognizing academic excellence, including teachers and students in the process

--ensure an appropriate level of "vigor" in pursuing all courses

Greg Sapp spoke with Roberts about the recommendations following the meeting...

A group of local residents have also been studying the issue and are in favor of weighted grades. A couple of Board members asked to hear from that group before making a decision. The group will make their findings available to the Board prior to making their presentation at the Board's February meeting.

The Board voted to issue a position statement as to how Unit 40 would use the revenue from a one cent sales tax should it be approved by voters in the April election. 

The statement says the Board will use the sales tax revenue to:

--pay existing building bonds and interest that are currently being levied against property taxpayers until they are paid in full (and abate the collection of property taxes for the Bond and Interest Fund), which would be a 37-cent reduction in property taxes, including the bonding considered at Monday's meeting that would pay for the renovation of Effingham Junior High School and other health and life safety improvements totaling just over $15.7 million

--once existing bonds and the interest accrued are paid in full, the District will then utilize the revenue stream to meet the long-term needs of the district, which includes repair and upkeep of school facilities

--funds will be used in accordance with the parameters set for in State law (since there are guidelines for how the revenue can be used)

A majority of voters has to approve the sales tax question for it to pass in the county.

Several personnel moves were approved by the Board. Those hired were Maria Bushur as an English as a Second Language paraprofessional, Megan Faber as a cafeteria monitor at Central, Gerald Kinkelaar as a van driver for second semester, Kelsey Hutmacher as a special education teacher for next school year, and Mariah Tabbert as a second grade teacher for next school year. Transfers were approved for Nancy McClelland as a two-hour PM bus driver and Jennifer Kirk as high school head girls track coach. Appointments were approved for Nancy Ervin as high school assistant girls track coach, Lexie Niebrugge as 7th grade boys track coach, and Melissa Bushur as 8th grade girls track coach. Family and Medical Leave Act leaves were approved for Amy Minor and Christa Hayes. Resignations were accepted from Jeff Baker as a custodian at the high school and from Kim Adair as transportation director. Retirements were approved from Lisa Norton as psychologist and from Vickie Schoenhoff as bus driver, both as of the end of the school year.

Board member Patti Russell asked for district administrators to find out about software reportedly available in Ohio that would make financial information on the District available to residents automatically.

The Board recognized the EHS senior class members who have been named Illinois State Scholars. They are Abigail Baez-Patino, Bethany Baez-Patino, Abigail Burgess, Madison Buscher, Brian Campbell, Jeremiah Crowell, Jamie Dillow, Bayleigh Flynn, Miranda Fox, Lucas Hagler, Keira Hirtzel, Cooper Jackson, Kaleb Kihne, Payton Koester, Noah McCammon, Isabella Munoz, Skyler Schafer, Ty Sprakties, and Cole Stanfield.

Also recognized were the players and coaches of the Effingham Junior High School 8th grade girls basketball team that finished 21-3 and reached the 8-4A State Tournament.

A large contingent of Unit 40 support staff members were on hand for Monday's meeting. There is still no contract agreement between Unit 40 and the support staff members. Another mediation session is scheduled for next week.