Dieterich School Board Hears About Local Control Efforts; Grant Funding Uses


Published on October 13 2021 10:10 am
Last Updated on October 13 2021 10:10 am
Written by Greg Sapp

Dieterich school board members Tuesday were updated on efforts to promote local control of school districts, and on grant funding that will move ahead progress on a number of improvement projects.

Superintendent Cary Jackson spoke on a Make It Local group, involving a group of superintendents and school districts that are advocating for local control for school boards. Jackson said recent activity of the group includes selecting speakers to attend the Illinois State Board of Education meeting on October 19 to advocate for the cause; a court filing for injunctive relief on September 28 by a local school district chosen to take the lead on the lawsuit; and communication with the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Governor's Office regarding school metrics that could be applied locally, rather than a one size fits all approach.

The Dieterich school board voted to join the group and endorse the local control position statement and to place the statement on the district website for public viewing.

As far as the update on grant funding, and how it would be utilized, Jackson shared:

ESSR II Grant – The District will use ESSR II funds, in the amount of $354,254.00, for the construction of new, more secure entryways for the Elementary and JrSr High School. Additionally, if the budget allows, the purchase of new educational technology, electrical upgrades and cleaning supplies/equipment

ESSR III Grant – The District plans to use ESSR III funds in the amount of $795,219.00 to offset the cost of construction of new classrooms. This move will help greatly in keeping property taxes low, by reducing the need for bonding. Additionally, $134,238.00 will be used to recoup the loss of learning, $$26,847.00 for summer enrichment and $26,847.00 for after-school services

School Maintenance Project Grant – This grant is a matching grant in which the state will match funds up to $50,000.00 for maintenance projects. The District plans to use the funds for concrete projects, including doing away with the circle drive and moving the flag pole to the corner of Church & Pine, tuckpointing the brick exterior, HVAC in the kitchen, door replacement and roof maintenance

Digital Equity Grant- The District was allotted $46,199.00 to address the technology needs of the students and teachers. The application for this grant will include additional interactive flat panels and the replacement of out-of-date Chromebooks/ChromeTablets

Emergency Connectivity Fund Grant – The District was allotted $40,000.00. The funds will be used to replace out-of-date Chromebooks, Chrome Tablets and iPads.

The Dieterich board approved the audit of the past fiscal year's books; hired Amy Ferguson as an aide; adjusted the substitute teacher rate of pay to $105/day; and adjusted the athletic officials pay scale as presented.

Board members also heard from junior/senior high school principal Scott Kocher on the option of hosting a Senior Awards Night starting this school year. The Awards Night would replace a portion of the Dieterich graduation ceremony that had been previously set aside for scholarships and awards. The consensus of the Board was to make the change and enact a Senior Awards Night this school year.