The Fieldcrest Board of Education met Wednesday night at the Fieldcrest Band Room in Minonk to discuss several issues. Dr. Dan Oakley started the meeting off on an upbeat note when he said the school district is $500,000 ahead of last year in its financial condition and expects the school to end in the black again this year.
Dr. Oakley discussed possible remedies to avoid running the school year into June in 2020 due to the number of missed days due to weather. He said the school has used up all of its emergency days this year and are now into act-of-God days of which 3 have been used so far.
Dr. Oakley said he is considering dropping the 3 winter holidays which are Dr, Martin Luther King's birthday, Presidents Day and Pulaski Day and use them as school days to avoid running into June for school days if there are too many emergency days already used up. He also is considering dropping the Monday after Easter as a holiday and going to school on that day. Dr Oakley asked the board to consider these changes before making any final decision.
Dr. Oakley is proposing a revision to the school's athletic passes, gate admissions and athletic fees in order to encourage more students to attend athletic events and improve school spirit. Most of the proposals involve letting Fieldcrest students attend athletic events free of charge and making revisions to prices for adult and senior tickets. As an example he suggested changing a an adult or student district pass from $60 to $80 for adults only to help offset the revenue lost from giving students a free pass. The suggested changes can be viewed at this link.
Dr. Oakley reported that the Wenona middle school building requires the cutting of 16 4 X 4 foot holes or what they call portals throughout the ceiling on the 3rd floor to determine the extent and nature of the structural damage to the building. The cost for this will be $7000.
In personnel matters, the board approved the hiring of Heather Hamer as Intermediate Reading Specialist, Tim Kolwaczyk as High School Art Instructor, and Monica Kuhlman as bus driver. Dr. Oakley said there is an opening for the position of Athletic Director at the Middle School in Wenona.
The discussion of what to do about the school's architectural services was delayed until the April school board meeting when the new board will be in session after the elections. This was proposed by board member Charles Lohr who wants to bring the architectural services up for discussion.
Dr. Oakley gave a dismayed report on his meeting with several state legislators in Springfield this week. He said his concerns and misgivings on the quality of the legislative body in Springfield were confirmed during his discussion with them. He said the legislators are reactive rather than proactive and do not seem to be concerned on how schools are going to pay for bills passed by the legislators. He said it is apparent the legislators do not seek the opinions or advice from school administrators or teachers when devising a bill but rather are given the mandates after they are passed. To summarize, Dr. Oakley said for the most part the state is run by a bunch of idiots. He said it is important to carefully vet and scrutinize those who run for state office to get more competent legislators.