Even though the agenda was light for June when the Joppa-Maple Grove (J-MG) School Board met Monday, the meeting marked the beginning of an era for Dr. Vickie Artman as the new superintendent of the district.
Artman served as J-MG principal from July 2005 to December 2012. She also served as vice president of academic affairs and student learning at Shawnee Community College from January 2013 to June 2018.
"The transition into my new role as superintendent has been very nice," said Artman. "I have received many offers of support. I encourage the board members, parents and staff to come in my office and spend some time and talk. I want to build relationships. I'm a strong believer in continuous learning. It doesn't stop at the end of the school day, the end of the school year or even at graduation."
Continuing on with her superintendent's report, Artman informed the board Principal Terri Waddell had applied and was awarded a kitchen equipment grant for $33,485 for the purpose of replacement, renovation and purchase of kitchen equipment at both Maple Grove and Joppa Jr/Sr High schools. "The grant will allow the district to serve healthier meals that meet the updated meal patterns, with an emphasis on more fruits and vegetables in school meals, improve food safety and expand access," explained Artman. Among the items to be purchase include new dishwashers at both school, a point of sale system at Maple Grove and a convection oven at the high school.
While the schools are closed for the summer, several building projects are currently underway with tile abatement beginning June 24 at Maple Grove in the cafeteria to remove a collapsed pipe and asbestos removal in the kitchen area at the high school beginning June 26, with retiling occurring in the kitchen, storage area and cafeteria.
Following the Maple Grove incident in April, the gym door and lobby area are both scheduled to be repaired this week. The $20,000 expense will be covered by insurance.
Artman also updated the board about the National Rifle Association (NRA) School Shield grant application, which Waddell had spoken to the board about last month. Artman stated the grant committee recently had met and receives J-MG application. As a result, the application moved forward to the next stage of the process.
The grant would help purchase items such as radios and additional security cameras.
"If approved, we should receive an award notification with further details soon," said Artman. "This grant is for $110,388. I commend Principal Waddell and School Security Officer Joe Basham for their hard work and diligence in completing the application."
Parent Rachel Henson, who attended the meeting, asked the board if the district should receive the NRA grant, would the board consider hiring an additional school security officer, so an officer could be assigned to each school.
Artman gave the board a financial update before closing her report. "As of year to date, we are pretty much on target with our budget with 96 percent of revenue coming in and 87 percent of expenditures going out. We are showing a deficit in all funds except two. This is due to the difference between the Massac County Clerk over payments and the correct calculation this year and the late payments this year from the county clerk. We paid $264,000 for the lawsuit this year, though next year we will pay $36,000. You are seeing a negative difference of $517,090; however, with the amount the district carries over due to excess grant funding, we should not have a negative budget."
In the absence of Waddell, Artman gave the principal report to the board. The new student handbooks for both the elementary and junior/senior high schools were included in the boards' packets.
"The handbooks have included recommendations made by both teachers and the handbook committee," explained Artman.
Stacey Reames, J-MG board member, told Artman the board would have liked to have a chance to be part of the handbook committee and hopefully next year, a board member could be on the committee.
After further discussion, at the close of the meeting the board tabled the changes to the student handbooks.
Prior to going into executive session, the board received word the Maple Grove Elementary was the recipient of an Elks scholarship to provide accessible playground equipment, which will include the purchase of a swing.
Also, compliments and congratulations were given to the Joppa Beta Club, who recently attended the national convention in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Reames had spoken to Chris McGinness, board member, prior to the beginning of the meeting, who was unable to attend Monday night's meeting. McGinness attended the convention with the club as a chaperone and wished for Reames to expressed how well organized the trip was and how respectful the Joppa students were. "They well represented the district," added McGinness.
Two Beta Club members placed at nationals: Lillian Garner, who placed 10th in photography; and Aubrey Stubblefield, who placed sixth in language arts.
The club also received a School of Merit ranking during the convention.
"We want to give appreciation to both our students and to their sponsor, Kelly Cunningham, for all of their hard work," said Reames.
In other action:
• Approved all consent agenda items, which included the adoption of the bank depositories resolution; approval of the Massac County Mental Health Linkage Agreement; and approval to add Artman to signature cards for all bank accounts.
• Approved the employment of extra-curricular positions for the 2019-20 school year.
• Approved the PSIC insurance renewals.
• Approved food service bids from Kohl Wholesale for frozen and canned foods.
• And, approved the school security officer job description and approved the contract to employ Basham as school security officer.