Besides voting on a list of several bids for construction projects that will take place during the summer and taking care of yearly housekeeping duties, Bill Biggerstaff, superintendent of the Joppa-Maple Grove School District, said farewell to the school board at the monthly meeting on May 20.
"It has been a real pleasure to work here, and I want you to know how much I appreciate the board and the rest of the staff in addition to the teachers," said Biggerstaff, as he spoke to the board. "I've enjoyed it over these past six and half years. I hope I've brought something to the district, but it is just time. I have two grandkids, and I want to do things with them."
Speaking on behalf of the board, Kevin Castleman, president, said, "I would like to thank Mr. Biggerstaff for all the hard work you have done for our students and our staff. We appreciate it."
Biggerstaff became superintendent of the district in January 2013. His retirement will take effect June 28.
During his superintendent's report, Biggerstaff reminded the board of several projects that will be completed during the summer, including, at the high school: asbestos abatement and replacement of tile in the cafeteria and the replacement of door hardware and some replacement of doors; and at the elementary school: removal of four or five rows of floor tiles that contain asbestos in the cafeteria and the replacement of sanitary piping under the cafeteria floor.
Principal Terri Waddell reported a very busy month leading up to the end of school, with trips, graduation programs and awards. Several seniors were issued scholarships. They are:
• Cassidy Lance: Black Diamond Harley Davidson Scholarship and Shawnee Community College (SCC) scholarship;
• Griffin Greer: Rural Health Scholarship, SCC Ambassador Scholarship and Patrick Schmidt Scholarship;
• Mason Stewart: Massac County Academic Scholarship, SCC Advanced Honors Escrow Scholarship, Joppa Civic Scholarship and Patrick Schmidt Scholarship;
• Noah Holland: Massac County Academic Scholarship, SCC Advanced Honors Escrow Scholarship;
• And, Brianne Troutt: SCC Agriculture Scholarship.
Waddell also informed the board through the assistance of Joe Basham, J-MG resource officer, she had submitted an application for a National Rifle Association (NRA) security grant. "I found out about the grant only about a week and half ago and both Mr. Basham and I gathered the necessary documents requirement for the grant, including a needs assessment that we were able to address following our April 5 incident at Maple Grove Elementary," stated Waddell. "We showed the community's support by submitting a letter from Village President Sue Sandusky. We budgeted $110,000 for the grant and understand we might not receive the full amount, but a portion would be great because it's a step in the right direction in implementing the changes we discovered in April and, at the same time, not affecting the taxpayers."
In other action, the board approved all consent agenda items, including the approval of a computer service contract with Craig McClellan and approval of the FFA trip to the state convention in Springfield in June.
Under action items, the board:
• Approved travel expenses to the 2019 Illinois Joint Annual Conference in Chicago in November for board members Gail Stubblefield and Peggy McNeill and incoming J-MG Superintendent Vickie Artman at a cost of $1563 per person.
• Approved an indemnity agreement with the Village of Joppa concerning the district's resource officer.
• Approved a resolution to authorize intervention in proceedings before the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board, with board members Denise Meyer and Danny Burnett both abstaining from the vote.
• Approved the low bid from Wissinger Construction Inc. for $32,693 for door and hardware replacement and floor tile installation at Joppa High School.
• Approved the low bid from Schemel Companies Inc. for $2850 for removal and disposal of asbestos floor tiles from Maple Grove Elementary School.
• Approved the low bid from Sullivan Plumbing for $7920 for replacement of a sanitary piping line in the cafeteria at Maple Grove Elementary.
• Approved the single bid for milk service from Prairie Farms Dairy Inc.
• Approved the single bid for bread service from Bimbo Bakery.
• Approved the second reading of the district's policy updates.
• Recalled all non-certified positions for the 2019-20 school year for classroom reductions and/or reading/math intervention.
• Approved employment of Les Little as additional custodial personnel for summer 2019, as needed.
• Approved the naming of Deanna Latham as district treasurer and also agreed to the renewal of the treasurer's bond with Latham named as treasurer.
• Approved the addendum to Artman's contract with the addition of 15 employment days prior to her July 1 start date.
• And, approved a teacher's request for an eighth grade graduation waiver.