Presentation dates for the three feasibility studies the Joppa-Maple Grove School District is taking part in have been set.

The school board learned at its April 29 meeting that the presentations will be held over a three-day period in June at 7 p.m. at the Shawnee Community College Education Center in Ullin.

  • The Vienna High School study will be presented on Tuesday, June 7.
  • The Century District 100 study will be presented on Wednesday, June 8.
  • The Massac County Unit 1 study will be presented on Thursday, June 9.

A feasibility study is a tool used by school districts wanting to investigate the advantages and/or disadvantages of reorganization options. The study must contain specified performance items about both districts involved — including transportation programs, facilities, enrollment, financials and curriculum, including staffing and extracurriculars — and a final conclusion and/or recommendation on the reorganization options for the districts involved in the study.

Superintendent Dr. Vickie Artman said each presentation should last an hour and the public is invited to attend.

While each presentation will have a recommendation as each study was paid for by the Illinois State Board of Education, “these presentations and feasibility studies are a gathering of information and research, not a forced decision,” Artman emphasized. “The decision-making process is still held by numerous stakeholders.”

Artman also informed the board of an in-person update briefing the Village of Joppa and J-MG on the upcoming retirement of the EEI plant. During the meeting, EEI representatives also discussed the repurposing of the site for utility-scale battery storage under the Coal to Solar initiative that’s part of the Illinois Energy Transition Act and other site-related retirement issues specific to the village and the school district. The retirement date is slated by Sept. 1.

J-MG principal Hunter Kreuter informed the board of changes to the Beta Club, beginning in the 2022-23 school year.

In addition to the high school club, a junior club and an elementary club are being added. Junior Beta is open to seventh- and eighth-graders, while its elementary level sub-group will be open to fourth- and fifth-graders. Kreuter will have more information on the expansion at the board’s next meeting.

On the business side of the evening, the board:

• Approved the re-employment of all support staff throughout the district.

• Approved a two-year transportation contract extension with Robinson Transport.

• Approved bids from Story Heating & Air for HVAC ventilation upgrades at Maple Grove. One unit will be used for the kitchen, and the other will be a split unit for the school’s office and the library.

• Approved the bid for chiller and boiler time clock control at Maple Grove. Artman said this will be a cost-savings expense as no one will need to come in on the weekends to monitor the boiler.

• Approved extending the bookkeeping contract for three years.

• Approved the reemployment of board treasurer Deanna Latham.

• Approved a resolution authorizing Procurement Cards. Artman explained they will streamline the purchasing process, reduce paperwork, should be more efficient and time saving and can increase budget control and internal controls.

• Approved the employment of Beth Whitney for school year 2022-23.

• Approval the resignation of teacher Taylor Cheek.

• Established the date, time and place for the board’s regular 2022-23 school year meetings beginning in June. The board meetings are typically on the fourth Monday of each month beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the Joppa High School library. Two exceptions are the November and December meetings which will be held Nov. 21 and Dec. 12.

• Approved the submission of consolidated district plan. Artman explained this is a requirement from the Illinois School Boards Association for the district’s Title and IDEA grants. The plan allows grantees to answer one set of planning questions to meet the requirements for the listed grants, streamlining individual grant applications.

• Approved food service bids for frozen and canned foods and bread with service provider CRS; and to continue services with Prairie Farms for milk.

• Approved an increase in milk cost for FY23 at 35 cents per carton. Artman noted students are not charged for a milk with breakfast or lunch, but there will be a charge for extra milk at meal time.

• Approved two policy updates — 4:165 Awareness and Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse and Grooming Behaviors and 6:240 Field Trips

• Approved the final 2021-22 school calendar.

• Approved graduation waiver requests from teachers Jennifer Larrison and Crystal Forthman.

• And, held the first reading of a policy update — 6:60 Curriculum Content.

As the 2021-22 school year quickly winds down, upcoming dates include:

• Friday, May 6 and Monday, May 9 — Finals for eighth- and 12th-graders.

• Friday, May 13 — Science fair field trip.

• Wednesday and Thursday, May 25-26 — Finals for seventh- and ninth- through 11th-graders.

• Thursday, May 26 — Last day for students.

• Friday, May 27 — Last day for staff.

The board’s next meeting is 6:30 p.m. on Monday, May 23, in the JHS library.

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