Federal grant headed to LaMoille

Published: Friday, Dec. 21, 2012 3:23 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Dec. 21, 2012 3:40 p.m. CDT

LAMOILLE — LaMoille Community Unit School District’s Board held a special meeting Monday night to discuss the 2013 tax levy, which will initially be lower than the 2012 rate. In addition, the agenda included discussion of a new STEM program for Allen and LaMoille Community School, which will bring several thousand dollars of federal money to the district’s students.

The new tax levy will be $5.51, down 20 cents from the 2012 rate of $5.71. The rate is lower because the board has been able to pay down its bonds, however, the rate could change. Superintendent Collette Sutton said, “Problems with state funds does not preclude the possible need to return to the higher rate.”

The board has also received a federal grant to bring a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (or STEM) program to the schools. Each school will have its own coordinator that will make various after-school education programs available to any student who wishes to participate. The coordinators are paid for with the grant money. The STEM program includes partnerships with IVCC and Star Rock Associates Vocational and Technical Education Center to make resources available to students that were previously inaccessible.

“Our partners are helpful in that they can provide some of those resources. It will give kids the opportunity to liaison with teachers and work on projects,” Sutton said, adding the program is still in the planning process.

Board member Jeff Pinter also addressed the group regarding his recent participation at a 3-I conference in Chicago. Among the things he learned were how other schools were utilizing technology to more effectively reach students and parents.

“They talked about working on development of websites, keeping them modern and up to date. Some schools are getting 400 hits a day on their websites. They had a lot of different media,” Pinter said. He also mentioned utilizing emblems that parents could scan with their Smartphones to get things like teachers’ office hours sent directly to their phones.

Overall the District 303 Board is in good financial shape as it has managed its budget well. This can be a problem. Pinter mentioned that having too much cash on hand in the 180-day budget can result in penalties from the state.

The board also decided to award a bid for new bus leases to Midwest Transit of Kankakee.

The board will meet again at 7 p.m. Jan. 21 at the LaMoille Community School.

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