Joppa-Maple Grove Unit District 38 may be part of a second feasibility study.

At its meeting Sept. 27, the school board approved a feasibility study with Vienna High School.

“This has been mentioned several times by the board and community members,” said Superintendent Dr. Vickie Artman.

The study would cost the district $6,625.

As Vienna High School is a dual district, meaning elementary districts feed into it, and J-MG is a unit system, they “are so structurally different, it would involve different school district dynamics,” Artman said.

J-MG is currently beginning a feasibility study with Massac Unit 1. The Illinois School Board of Education recently approved the study and will pay its $13,000 study fee.

MidWest School Consultants at the University of Illinois-Springfield, which is conducting the study with Massac Unit 1, has agreed to conduct J-MG’s study with VHS if Vienna agrees.

Following a budget hearing, the J-MG board approved its FY 22 budget, which includes $4,051,254 in revenues and $3,512,950 in expenditures. Artman said due to ESSER funds, the board will probably have to amend the budget in June 2022.

“The board adopts an annual budget each year with the goal of matching estimated revenue and expenditures resulting in a balanced budget,” she said. “By definition, the budget represents the district’s best estimate of revenues and expenditures for a period of 12 months between July 1 and June 30. Throughout the school year, updates regarding the financial condition through monthly expenditure reports, revenue trends and financial projections are presented to the board. This year’s budget also includes expenditures that utilize existing reserves for the purposes of one-time expenses, such as construction and renovation projects.”

J-MG was awarded a Qualified Zone Academy Bond (QZAB) in 2007 to pay the costs of issuing the obligations and to finance certain renovations at the schools. Payments are set for $59,410 each year with the last payment due in 2023. The district remains on track to become debt free on Sept. 28, 2023.

Working with Justin Miller, consultant from School Financial Services, Artman said for the FY22 budget, they “have attempted to be as precise as possible in the estimates for revenues and expenditures based on the information we have been given up to this point. We scrutinized the expenditures, attempting to address everything possible which may arise. Most years, there is usually something — mostly a breakdown of equipment — that cannot be foreseen that is not necessarily addressed specifically in the budget.”

In his report, principal Hunter Kreuter notified the board that “discipline has been a whirlwind” with three school suspensions, one in-school suspension and 10 detentions during the month of September.

In other business, the board:

• Was addressed by Shawnee Community College board member James Darden, who spoke about the college’s strategic plan to reconnect with high schools and build a stronger relationship.

• Was introduced to J-MG’s new faculty and staff for the 2021-22 school year. Attending were Linda Shelby, John Paul Endab, Chelsey Washburn and Jamie Clark.

• Approved the submission of a School Maintenance Project Matching Grant. The dollar-for-dollar state matching grant program awards up to $50,000 to grantees exclusively for the maintenance or upkeep of buildings or structures for educational purposes. J-MG plans to use the funds for the replacement of the HVAC units at the Joppa High School gym and lobby.

• Approved the employment of Georgia Roper as part-time cook at Maple Grove Elementary School.

• Approved the employment of Amber Mullins as a yearlong substitute certified teacher.

• Approved the formal agreement with the J-MG Federation of Teachers Union.

• Approved the review of J-MG Bullying Policy.

• Approved the updated extra-curricular and extra duty positions.

• Approved the Employment Information System Administration and and Teacher Salary Benefits Report for 2020-21.

• And, did not approve a settlement agreement proposal from EEI/Vistra, citing the need for additional information.

The board’s next regular meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 25, in the JHS library.

School will not be in session on Monday, Oct. 11, in observance of Columbus Day.

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