School funds cover student organizations

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HUME — School clubs and organizations will no longer need to sell fundraising items to pay for activities, uniforms and other needs, the Shiloh board of education learned during its meeting Monday, Nov. 19

Interim superintendent of schools Allen Hall proposed drastically limiting Shiloh student fundraising and using school funds instead. Hall said using outside fundraising companies usually means organizations only receive 50 percent or less for their work. Hall noted teachers and other community members are continually approached by students who are selling candles, wrapping paper, chocolate or other items.

Hall explained the district’s investments have generated enough money to fund the organizations’ programs, uniforms and trips. He said the change — effective Jan. 1 — does not affect dinners and events where community residents choose to come to the school for the activity. Clubs and organizations will still be required to cover a specific number of concession nights before receiving any funding.

Funding decisions will be based on previous fundraising totals, Hall assured the board. Any requests for additional funding will require the students to make a presentation to justify their request.

The change will not effect fundraising on behalf of Tri-County athletics, he said.

The tax levy for the district was unanimously approved by the board following Hall’s recommendation. The levy was set at 4.9 percent. Because the levy is below 5 percent, a truth in taxation hearing will not be required, Hall said.

Hall also reported the district’s attorney has provided an intergovernmental agreement for Edgar County to provide a school resource officer. The process is on hold while Edgar County Sheriff Jeff Wood and State’s Attorney Mark Isaf review the proposal. In a related matter, Hall reported the proposed school resource officer can also serve as the school’s truant officer.

The board members heard an in-depth presentation from Melissa Pementel and Janice Alexander of Aramark. The company provides the school’s breakfast and lunch programs. The two women explained how the menu for the elementary, middle school and high school students is planned, noting the USDA has strict guidelines on school nutrition including use of whole grains, vegetables, fried foods and sodium content.

Board member April Morris expressed concern whether the food served at Shiloh contained dangerous preservatives including MSG. Alexander explained Aramark doesn’t open and dump vegetables and other items from cans. “Everything we have is flash frozen,” she said.

“You are welcome to go into our kitchen and look at the recipe boxes,” Alexander said. There is no longer any baking going on because scratch baking is expensive and labor must have a specific skill set.

“We totally take very seriously the food we serve your kids,” she said.

Shiloh principal Beth Harbaugh reminded board members the May 2019 graduation will mark the 50th anniversary of the first Shiloh High School graduating class. A rededication ceremony and community event is in the early planning stages. Harbaugh invited the board members to provide input and direction.

The board also:

Heard the elementary and high school each received a commendable rating — the second highest — on the state school report card.

Heard poems by Kaitlyn Cary and Grace Kile were selected for inclusion in the “Futures 2018 Poetry Collection,” published by the American Library of Poetry.

Heard the district auditor will be at the January 2019 board meeting to present the final fiscal year 2018 audit.

Heard the grant to replace light bulbs in the school with LED bulbs was approved. The new bulbs are currently being installed.

Learned some of the Partnership in Parenting grant monies from the Illinois State Board of Education were distributed by mistake and the school must reimburse the state.

Learned district bus routes were reviewed following fatal bus accidents in other parts of the U.S. No areas were considered dangerous.

Heard a report from board members Renee Henry and Dave Smith who attended the recent Illinois School Board Association annual conference.

Instructed Hall to pursue input from a structural engineer to determine if the gym roof can support an air conditioning unit.

Heard an intramural basketball program for Shiloh third graders is planned. The team will play other area schools.

Accepted the resignation of Talen Hawkins as assistant track coach.