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ALAH Principals & Staff share information regarding school improvement plans

Arthur School Board approves FY2023 Budget

By ARIANA R. CHERRY
Staff Writer

Wednesday, September 21, members of the Arthur School Board went into a closed session for a Grievance Hearing after opening their meeting and going over communication that was received. After a short time had passed, the board returned and made a motion to deny the grievance.

Once again, a budget hearing was held for the tentative 2023 school district budget. Superintendent Cheek stated that nothing had changed with the budget and had been displayed publicly for the past 30 days. He reiterated what was mentioned at last month’s hearing. “We tried to be as conservative as possible when we were building the budget and over-estimated on expenses.” Last month Cheek informed the board that the Arthur District is considered a Tier 3 school and that it has been operating at 90% adequacy. Although he did mention that the increase in funding that was received was pretty minimal, as the district only received about $22,000 extra.

Some of the amounts that were calculated in the budget were as followed: The projected balances for 6/30/23 are as noted: Education Fund: $4,273,025; Operation and Maintenance: $1,738,757; Transportation: $375,056; Working Cash: $880,253; which makes the subtotal of operating funds at $7,267,091. Board members voted to approve the FY2023 Budget as presented.

Following the FY2023 Budget Hearing, district principals presented their monthly reports. During the high school report, Principal Steffanie Seegmiller informed the board that all of the dual credit courses that were being offered to the high school students were now completely online. Students never see their instructors. As a result, some of the students have been needing extra help with some of their assignments such as reports. Seegmiller gave a shout out of gratitude to the English Department because they have been taking time to provide extra help to students who need it.

Nathan Seal said for this year’s sporting events, the district has been giving attendees the opportunity to purchase their tickets through GoFan (a digital ticketing service). GoFan will also be sending the district an iPad so they can process online ticket sales. Seal also noted that payment processes would be changing in the concessions. Volunteers and students will be using iPads to take orders and accept payments.

Amanda Romine, Director of Student Services & Technology mentioned that the mentor program has begun this year. The goals of the program are to increase students’ education attainment, provide enrichment opportunities, give more individual attention, and to promote greater community involvement in the school district. Mentors work one on one with students and serve as a role model . A total of seven applications have been received and an additional three more have been given out. All applicants are screened,required to have a background check and must attend a training orientation prior to being connected to a student. Romine believes that the best promotion for the program will be by “word of mouth.”

After the principal report presentations, information for school improvements plans were shared for each building. For Lovington Grade School, their first goal was to increase the percentage of students who completed the year above the 50 percentile on the STAR Screening Assessment by seven percent. It was noted that this would bring Lovington students from 33% to 40%. Lovington Grade School also wanted to increase their reading scores. For the year 2022-2023, LGS will increase the percentage of students who completed the year above the 50 percentile on the STAR Screening Assessment by 7 percent. This would bring them from 33% of students proficient to 40%.

Atwood Hammond Grade School also set goals for reading and math. For the 2022-2023 school year, AHGS will increase the percentage of students who completed the year above the 50 percentile on the STAR Screening Assessment by seven percentage points which will bring them from 52 to 59%.

In Arthur Grade School for the year 2022-2023, in math, they will increase the percentage of students who completed the year above the 50 percentile on the STAR Screening Assessment by 7 percent moving from 62% of students proficient to 69 %. For reading, the goal is to increase the percentage of students who completed the year above the 50 percentile on the STAR Screening Assessment by 7 percent.

Kristin Nall, Director of Special Education also presented a report for those with learning disabilities. In math, based on the findings from the 2021-2022 spring
Benchmark Star Data, by the spring of 2023, the student group “children with disabilities” will show that 5% or more of the students have shown growth in the area of math. For reading, based on the findings from the 2021-2022 spring Benchmark Star Data, by the spring of 2023, the student group “children with disabilities” will show that 5% or more of the students have shown growth in the area of reading.

For high school students, using the SAT, the Class of 2024 will have 60% of their class meet or exceed in English Based Reading & Writing (ERBW) and 20% of their class meet or exceed in math. The high school also made a goal to work on culture within their building. Through the 2022-2023 school year ALAH High School will continue to work to improve its school culture, specifically focused on their collaborative teachers and effective leaders by 10% using the IL 5Essentials Survey data. A third goal of the high school was to work on absenteeism. Its goal for the 2022-2023 school year was to reduce the number of students who are chronically absent. In the last four years, this percentage has been steadily growing. During the 2020-2021 school year, 24.6% of its students were considered chronically absent.

Shannon Cheek presented his facilities plan moving forward trying to figure out why the school referendum failed. He has been speaking to several people about possible strategies and how it will look for the district moving forward. Some of these strategies may include hosting focus groups in each town such as ones for parents, staff and community organizations, etc. In these groups there will not be any administration or board members. “We need to find out “the why,” from these groups,” stated Cheek. From these special groups, Cheek hopes to create a survey which everyone can participate in. The data taken from the survey will be analyzed and hopefully help the district to decide what to do next. Planning for these special focus groups could start as early as October, although it is not sure if they will be volunteer or targeted groups.

As another part of planning for the future of the district, Cheek also presented a slideshow showing several problem areas within the interior and exterior of all the school buildings. Many of these problems included anything from bathroom tiles, missing doors, dated plumbing, needed window repairs/replacements, drainage issues, cosmetic work, issues with parking lots and the high school track. Cheek said that the district needed to start building a list and prioritizing things in the schools that need to be taken care of as soon as possible and questioned what the plan would look like in regards to a referendum.

To end the board meeting, Cheek took notice and celebrated those who had been helpful recently. Those included the Community Partnership Grant which had a part in bringing the community together, conversations with elementary principals that have been centered around bringing them closer to alignment and conversations related to the SIP process which have been difficult but necessary.

Personnel Report

September 21, 2022

Certified:

•Recommend Sara Kirkpatrick for hire as Social Worker at AHGS replacing Kaitlyn Bright

Non-Certified:

•Recommend Suzanne Yoder as paraprofessional at AGS – Kindergarten

Extra-Curricular:

•Recommend Christine Girogi for concession stand manager at LGS replacing Jennifer Voegel

•Recommend Eillis Martinez for concession stand manager at the high school replacing Brenda Munds

•Recommend Kristina Moody for concession stand manager for AHGS replacing Renee Brown

•Recommend Kylie Russell for Junior Class Sponsor replacing Ryan Wood

•Recommend Saylor Bower for Junior Class Sponsor replacing Sarah Bailey

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