Joppa-Maple Grove Unit District 38 is now part of a third feasibility study.

At its meeting Oct. 25, the school board approved a feasibility study with the Century School District.

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

Century’s Board of Education met on Oct. 18 to discuss the option. “They are willing to complete a study together with us,” Artman said, noting the J-MG board approved using MidWest School Consultants at the University of Illinois-Springfield, which is the firm conducting the feasibility study of J-MG and Massac County Unit 1.

Following up from its Sept. 27 meeting when the J-MG board approved a feasibility study with Vienna High School, the board at its Oct. 25 meeting approved Robert Lagerblade as that study’s consultant. A retired superintendent who has conducted many feasibility studies, Lagerblade, of Port Byron, was recommended to J-MG by the Illinois State Board of Education.

Artman noted the state has agreed to pay $6,625 for the Vienna study and $6,625 for the Century study.

Also during its Oct. 25 meeting, the J-MG board approved a formal settlement agreement with Vistra, the parent company of Joppa’s Electric Energy Inc. plant. Artman said the “agreement concerns the closing of EEI and the dropping of the EAV (Equalized Assessed Value), which will affect our community and especially the tax rate.”

The board also approved the yearly audit report.

CPAs Jeffrey Strode and Sasha Williams, representatives from the auditing firm Beussink, Hey, Roe & Stroder, LLC, presented the fiscal year 2021 audit to the board. The report showed the district’s financial profile designation is 4.0 out of 4.0, which is the highest score possible.

The report also revealed the district has 283.31 days of cash on hand, “which is better than last year,” Artman noted. Its EAV for the 2020 tax year is $30,227,233, “which is a drop from the previous year of $31,116,000,” she said. The district ended the year with a fund balance of $2,456,763.

“The auditors noted a few areas where we could tighten internal controls,” Artman said. “For example, the district requires two signatures on checks, but the bank will cash a check with only one. We have improved this process by not allowing anyone who can print a check to sign the check. The signature must be from one of the administrators as they do not have access to printing any checks.”

In other business, the board:

• Approved the formal settlement agreement with the J-MG Federation of Teachers, which concerned specific certified teachers who had health insurance prior to 2016.

• Approved a formal compensation agreement with staff, concerning those staff members who bought health insurance in the years 2011-2016 and may be entitled to some compensation.

• Approved the updated coaching personnel and scorekeepers list.

• Approved the part-time employment of at-will employee Peggy Lewis for a custodian position.

• Approved the Joppa Junior/Senior High School Threat Assessment Team to consist of principal Hunter Kreuter, teachers Penny Bellamey and Jamie Clark, social worker Virginia Berling and Artman.

• Approved the Maple Grove Elementary Threat Assessment Team to consist of teachers Lacey Wright and Jennifer Larrison, Berling, Kreuter and Artman.

• Approved the resignation of classified employee Patty Estes, who “will be missed in the Pre-K classroom. Her sweet personality and kindness toward students are just a few of her best qualities,” Artman said.

• And approved moving the December board meeting to Monday, Dec. 13.

The board’s next meeting is 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 22, in the JHS library.

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