Unit 40 Board Looking for a New Member


Published on May 20 2019 10:18 pm
Last Updated on May 20 2019 10:18 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

The Effingham Unit 40 Board of Education is looking for a new member.

The Board Monday accepted the resignation of Patty Russell, who is moving out-of-state with her husband. 

Superintendent Mark Doan said applications will be taken from those interested in the position until June 7. Doan said the goal is to choose a successor to Russell at the June board meeting.

The Board discussed at some length whether there needs to be a change in how a valedictorian is selected. No decision was ever reached whether a change needs to be made. The Board requested using the Latin method likely the method used in college to determine the tops in academics. Another request was to get information on including "+"s and "-"s to determine academic standing.

Board members decided against a fundraiser that would have awarded a gift card to Accuracy Firearms. Member Robin Klosterman said, "given the times, it seems to be a negative to do anything involved with guns." Klosterman suggested if a booster organization wants to conduct the fundraiser and present the proceeds, that's another matter.

Member Kathleen Smith said the boys basketball team, the proposed beneficiary, didn't want to raffle off a gun, which is why they wanted to go with a gift card. 

Board members heard that 47 scholarships were awarded this year by the Unit 40 Foundation. It was noted that there were 93 applicants. It was also reported that Chad Chojnicki has resigned from the Foundation Board, so a successor is needed.

The Board amended the fiscal year budget to reflect the issuance of health/life safety bonds to finance work on several buildings, but principally the junior high school building.

Only one bid was received on air handling work at the sports complex and it came in over the estimated cost so was rejected. Work at the Early Learning Center also came in slightly above the estimated cost, but work was added to that project, so the Board awarded the bid to Grunloh Construction for $790,000. The work on the roof, ceilings, sprinkler heads, and more is due to be completed by August 15.

The Board purchased a maintenance truck from Northside Ford for $35,550; agreed to work to modify the 25-second clocks on Klosterman Field to conform with IHSA changes in the amount of time allowed between football plays; and approved Jane Willenborg to the Eastern Illinois Area Special Education governing board with Angie Byers as the alternate.

There was discussion about e-mail communications among Board members and communications with the public, and that they are subject to the Open Meetings Act. The Board is finalizing how they will operate to comply with guidelines.

In personnel moves, the Unit 40 board employed several people, including Jodi Anders as a nurse paraprofessional, Becky Daugherty as an extended school year LBS 1, Melissa Armstrong and Lisa Miller as extended school year paraprofessionals, Shari Long as an extended school year nurse paraprofessional, Angela Strohl as a Social Studies teacher at the junior high, Abby Kinkelaar as library clerk at the junior high, Jill Lobb and Kelsey Appelt as cafeteria monitors at Central, and Haley Brown as a Family and Consumer Science teacher at the junior high.

Transfers were approved of Wayne Mapes and Nancy McClelland as four-hour bus drivers and Lana Adams as an AM bus aide.

Appointments were approved of Laurie Bohnhoff as head high school volleyball coach and Theresa Vogt as an assistant high school volleyball coach, and Becky Wilson and Mendi Pals as co-Student Council sponsors at the junior high.

Retirements were accepted from Karen Littleford as a teacher as of the end of the 2022-2023 school year and from Toni Chisler as a cook as of the end of the current school year.

Resignations were accepted from Abby Kreke as a paraprofessional, Ruth Eirhart as a cafeteria monitor at South Side, Jackie Haarmann as high school Pep Club sponsor, Katrina Bauer and Mildred Cowger as teachers at the end of the current school year, and Aron Spicer as a speech pathologist as he is taking a principal's post at North Clay.

Leaves of absence were approved for Allison Bowen and Greg Lankford.