The Joppa-Maple Grove tentative budget for fiscal year 2022 is available for review on the district’s website and the Joppa High School Library.
The school board approved the tentative budget at its meeting Monday night. It will be the subject of a public hearing next month prior to the regular board meeting.
Superintendent Dr. Vickie Artman commended the faculty and staff for their “mindset of pure flexibility grounded in keeping students and staff safe. The teachers are taking extra time to teach and remind students about hand washing, social distancing and wearing masks. Everyone is being extremely cautious and diligent concerning our strict guidelines established in our plan,” she said. “We are certainly facing the unknown with many challenges. I applaud and commend everyone.”
Artman noted that Gov. JB Pritzker’s Aug. 4 executive order mandating masks, which was reissued Aug. 20 to be in effect through Sept. 18, “forced us to reverse course with the opening of school plans. This executive order effectively eclipses the local authority of school boards to adopt mask-optional plans for the upcoming school year,” she said. “The governor cited both the potential liability exposure for any local school board disregarding the mask mandate and the authority of ISBE (Illinois School Board of Education) to change recognition status of a school district and, by extension, impact school district funding as possible means to enforce the mask mandate. The governor also said he would take action to enforce the mandate as needed.
“While we rely on expertise and clear guidance in public health, we also rely on legal guidance,” Artman continued. “Once an executive order is issued, it has the effect of law, and boards should work with local counsel to comply with it. Failure to do so may result in sanctions against the district and expose the district, its employees, and the board to unnecessary liability.”
In both of their reports, Artman and JMG principal Hunter Kreuter thanked the custodial staff — Kent Kester, Charles Stubblefield and Joe Phillips — for their work over the summer in preparing Maple Grove Elementary and Joppa Junior/Senior High schools for the school year.
“Several people have made complimentary remarks concerning the cleanliness of our schools. The custodians work exceptionally hard and it shows,” Artman said. “They did a wonderful job.”
Kreuter discussed enrollment with the board. As of Aug. 16, there are 223 students enrolled in the district. At the end of last school year, there were 233. Maple Grove had 136 students at the end of the 2019-20 school year and began 2021-22 with 127, while Joppa Junior/Senior High ended in May with 97 and began with 96. JMG’s school year began Aug. 13.
In other business, the board:
• Approved increasing adult school meal prices to $2.75 for breakfast and $4 for lunch.
• Approved the memorandum of understanding with the Regional Office of Education #21.
• Approved the employment of coaching positions.
• Approved the employment of extra-curricular positions for faculty only.
• Accepted the resignation of Carol Warfield as head cook at Maple Grove
• Approved the employment of Tara Lance as head cook at Maple Grove
• Approved a new evaluation instrument for classified staff.
• Approved a retirement incentive for Kristi Duckworth
• Approved designations for the 2021-22 school year: Kreuter as Title IX Grievance officer and District Nondiscrimination coordinator; Kreuter and Artman as complaint managers; school nurse Lori Jones and high school counselor Penny Bellamey as District Liaisons to Homeless; Artman as FOIA officer; and the district change of command being superintendent (Artman), principal (Kreuter), senior teacher at JHS (Bellamey), veteran teacher at Maple Grove (Lacey Wright), teachers, athletic director, coaches and administrative assistants (Deanna Latham at JHS) and (Donna Rushing at Maple Grove).
• And approved a number of press policy updates.
The board’s next regular meeting will be at 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 27, which will begin with a budget hearing, in the JHS library.
School will not be in session on Monday, Sept. 6, in observance of Labor Day.