By ERIN SANSON
There were several visitors to the Carlinville School Board Meeting on Oct. 16 to discuss a proposal for Middle School Cheerleading. B.J. Vinyard and Keri Healy spoke before the board, asking for the team to be created and discussing a proposal the parents had put forth and a proposal from Middle School Principal Kyle Smith. The proposal from Smith had the team as a parent funded organization. The parents present questioned why the parents would pay for the coaching position as in the Union contract a Middle School Cheer Coach is a salaried position.
Business manager Heather DeNeve gave an overview of athletic and activity costs for the school. The district spent or plans to spend $376,638 in activities this year, most of which are in sports. These expenses include entry fees, coach and sponsor salaries, officials fees, etc. Most of those costs, $221,524 of the almost $377,000, are from athletics. The district only brings in $85,401 from gate, activity fees and Booster clubs reimbursing the district costs. The district totaled a $291,237.16 net loss from this school year, based on these projections.
DeNeve pointed out that there were eight positions listed in the Union Contract that are on the salary schedule but are not filled, including a Middle School Cheerleading coach. The positions listed have not been included in the budget for this year as they have been unfilled for several years. The estimated cost of all of the salaries and benefits not currently being paid comes out to $71,704.93, which includes club sponsors, event workers, and Saturday transportation costs among other items.
Superintendent Dr. Becky Schuchman said that the union and the district decided certain positions would be removed when the contract was negotiated, while other positions remained. Those positions, while they remained in the contract, were considered to be cut or reductions. Schuchman said that the positions are, “not positions that the union expects or maybe even wants filled, they might want the money placed someplace else, or something else brought back.”
Molly Rosentreter, a former school board member and one of the parents hoping to create a middle school cheerleading program, questioned the contract and board understanding of the contract, saying, “I think as a former board member as well as a tax paying citizens, I was not under the understanding that we have a contract that the board members signed and thought that’s what we adhere to and yet on the back side there’s this, ‘No, we’re going to pick and choose who gets paid and who doesn’t.’”
Board President Dan Kallal addressed the parents, saying, “there is an underlying theme that we are flush with cash… There are four main reasons that I can think of that the district is in better shape now than it was five or ten years ago.” Kallal cited evidence based funding, the county sales tax and Covid funding and the lack of debt the district had before the additional funding came in. He said, “We didn’t have the debt because we cut some programs…. We cut positions, we asked staff to do more, we didn’t replace positions, we had situations where we had class sizes greater than we would have liked to have had… If we are flush with cash… those are the most pressing: academic needs. I have no problem with extracurricular but academic needs need to come first and those were the most recent cuts made.”
Schuchman recommended the board accept Smith’s proposal of a parent funded organization, which they did. Board Member Craig Frankford said that the board would look into the issues that the parents had brought forward.
Fiscal Year 2023 Audit
Sam Loy with Loy, Miller, Talley, PC presented the board with the Fiscal Year 2023 audit. The school received an unmodified opinion, which is the best opinion they can get. They also received a 4.0 on their audit from the Illinois State Board of Education, which is the highest a district can score. Loy said that local and state revenue has gone down in recent years but federal revenue increased due to ESSER grant funds and Covid-19 relief money, but the district should expect federal funds to decrease again once they are no longer receiving those grants. He also mentioned that the district has not had any deficit spending in the last five to six years. The board approved audit and financial report.
The Carlinville School Board approved the employment of Lexie Black as the High School Girls’ Assistant Basketball Coach. The also approved the employment of Julie Behme, Sandra Stiegemeier, Lori Reiher, Darci Boston, Lauren Cleveneger, Erin Crain, Alyssa DeSpain, Theresa Eilers, Siri Engstrom, Kaitlyn Hartsook, Daniel Hayford, Alyssa Hermes, Alexis Hill, Molly Joyce, Tonya Koller, Vanessa Kufa, Jordan Leefers, Jaime Lowrance, Sarah Marchiori, Ashley Mullen, Tarea Nejmanowski, Amy Norris, Jill Pope, Nikki Totsch, Missy Trump, Paige Vinyard, Melissa Williams and Maureen Wise as part of the High Impact Tutoring program.